Holiday cottage renters trashed property use hard drugs and refuse to leave..HELP

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    Holiday cottage renters trashed property use hard drugs and refuse to leave..HELP

    First time poster so please forgive if I've posted this in the wrong place...

    Dear All
    Just found your site and wonder if there's anyone who can give some advice on what to do next. A friend of mine (who is so upset by all that's happened has been prescribed anti-depressants and is a walking wreck at moment) owns two country cottages which he lets out as holiday homes during the summer. He has in the past rented them out for the winter. AT beginning of this year he advertised one of the cottages as a short-term lease (til end April 2012) in local paper and rented it to a couple who have from the first day caused problems, they paid one month's deposit and first month in advance but have paid no utility bills, CT or rent from Feb onwards.

    The landlord gained access yesterday and the place is totally trashed: dog mess in every room (carpets will have to be ripped out, they are literally black with dog faeces); dogs have destroyed sofa cushions, curtains, skirting boards (they are never allowed outside). The state of the place is quite simply unbelievable, it's a health hazard. There was evidence of hard drug use by tenants also and they certainly do appear to be "on something".

    They had an agreement for furnished holiday cottage and my friend, after seeing the state of the property yesterday gave them a letter advising them they had 24 hrs to leave, they haven't. He is now considering disconnectiong electricity.

    I know nothing about this subject and the landlord has no experience of anything other than holiday lettings. COuld someone please advise?

    (apoligies for being so longwinded and thank you anyone for taking time to read this)

    #2
    This sounds like it could be an AST, not a holiday letting.

    The only way to bring an AST to an end is by court order - which will take some time. If your friend has lettings booked for May etc, he may not have the property back by then.

    Please tell us:

    What date did he tenancy begin?
    How long was it for - was there an end date?
    Has the tenants deposit been protected in one of the 4 government approved schemes?

    Is any rent unpaid? If so, how much and how much is the monthly rent?
    Does your friend have an inventory/condition report showing (in detail) the condition of the place when the tenancy commenced? Did the tenants sign the inventory?

    Disconnecting electricity would be harassment / illegal eviction and could result in a 6 month prison sentence.

    Comment


      #3
      I believe the maximum let which can legally be a holiday let is 31 days.
      Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

      Comment


        #4
        Indeed: It doesn't matter what the paperwork says, it is an AST. As Snorkerz says...

        In particular avoid harassment or illegal eviction. Do it through the courts, legally.


        If I had any suspicion of drug use I would pass the information on to the authorities. If necessary anonymously via. Crimestoppers..(they will be interested in the dogs...)
        http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ellie321 View Post
          He has in the past rented them out for the winter. AT beginning of this year he advertised one of the cottages as a short-term lease (til end April 2012) in local paper and rented it to a couple who have from the first day caused problems, they paid one month's deposit and first month in advance but have paid no utility bills, CT or rent from Feb onwards.
          Holiday renters don't usually have to pay utility bills or council tax, nor a deposit, do they? And the occupiers - are they actually there on holiday and have their main home elsewhere, or is this cottage their primary residence?

          Assuming it's the occupier's only home, then regardless of what heading your friend put at the top of the contract, it's likely that the occupiers have an assured shorthold tenancy.

          In which case, the only legal route to regaining possession is by serving valid notice (either under s.21 or s.8 Housing Act 1988), obtaining a possession order, and getting a court bailiff to execute the order. If your friend disconnects the electricity, he risks being prosecuted for illegal eviction/harrassment (penalties include a prison sentence), as well as a civil claim for damages by the T.

          Comment


            #6
            Westminster, it sounds like these particular "tenants" were granted a winter let, ie filled the 6 months out of season, which is I believe common practice amongst those with self-catering holiday lets which would otherwise remain empty over the winter months.

            However, as OP has discovered, the risk is damage, and refusal to leave! OP, I agree with others that however short, the "lease" granted would have taken the form of an AST, and is therefore covered by housing/tenancy law and only legal eviction route would be to serve valid notice and await its expiry to apply for court eviction.

            I also suspect that as this is done on an informal basis, that deposit protection may have been overlooked - perhaps OP could confirm this, therefore rendering the use of Section 21 invalid.

            Evidence of drug use should be reported to the police immediately.

            Comment


              #7
              There is no maximum period for a holiday let. The sole criterion is whether the property was let for the purpose of a holiday.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                There is no maximum period for a holiday let. The sole criterion is whether the property was let for the purpose of a holiday.
                So the tenant must have a 'principle home' elsewhere?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                  There is no maximum period for a holiday let. The sole criterion is whether the property was let for the purpose of a holiday.
                  Which is why I introduced the issue of whether it's the occupier's principal residence or not.

                  But is it a defining factor? Even if it were the occupier's principal or only residence, he might nevertheless still be on [a very long] holiday and simply be living there to have fun and idle away his hours.

                  Turning OP's problem on its head - What if the would-be holiday-maker were to be told by the LL that he had a periodic AST and had to serve valid notice to quit in order to end his rental liability...?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ellie321 View Post
                    AT beginning of this year he advertised one of the cottages as a short-term lease (til end April 2012)
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    What if the would-be holiday-maker were to be told by the LL that he had a periodic AST and had to serve valid notice to quit in order to end his rental liability...?
                    Fixed term lease, tenant could leave at end of April without notice, and not before (breach of contract). I guess it would be a SPT as soon as fixed term ends, but whether landlord would insist on common law notice is another matter - with holiday tenants lined up, I suspect not.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If the property is not the tenant's principal home it cannot be an assured tenancy anyway. Whether the tenant has other accommodation is though not relevant in determining whether the letting is a holiday letting. All you need to ask is: Is this a bona fide holiday letting or a letting pretending to be a holiday letting? Short term letting does not necessarily equal holiday letting.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                        If the property is not the tenant's principal home it cannot be an assured tenancy anyway. Whether the tenant has other accommodation is though not relevant in determining whether the letting is a holiday letting. All you need to ask is: Is this a bona fide holiday letting or a letting pretending to be a holiday letting? Short term letting does not necessarily equal holiday letting.
                        If it is irrelevant whether the tenant has other accommodation or not, how can it be determined whether or not it is a bona fide holiday letting? Is it to do with the location of the property (e.g. Brighton, yes; Barnsley, unlikely), or with the activities the T his engaged in whilst resident here (buying postcards, yes; working on the buses, no). But what about when the boundaries are blurred? Knitting in Nottingham? Wintering in Scunthorpe? What defines 'being on holiday'? Surely it's very subjective! It cannot simply be the state of having a break from working, since there are three million people currently having such a break and they are not all on holiday. And some people continue to work (e.g write novels), when on holiday.

                        How would a judge decide?
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                        Comment


                          #13
                          maximum holiday let = 31 days
                          Direct gov says to qualify as a furnished holiday let it must only be used for:
                          'a short term letting of no more than 31 days'
                          Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                          Comment


                            #14
                            So LL probably has tax liability problem also, having been incorrectly reporting futnished holiday let. Wonder if the insurance cover is OK? Kinda mattersbas there may be a claim
                            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
                              maximum holiday let = 31 days
                              Direct gov says to qualify as a furnished holiday let it must only be used for:
                              'a short term letting of no more than 31 days'
                              Perhaps for tax purposes but that isn't the same as establishing the legal status of the occupier. For example, if a genuine holiday maker rented a cottage for 35 days, he wouldn't be an AST tenant.

                              Comment

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