Tenant claiming furniture / white goods were a ‘gift’

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Tenant claiming furniture / white goods were a ‘gift’

    Hi all, my name is Terry and me and wife are first time landlords. Im just wondering if any more experienced Landlords could give me some advice please. Its kind of a long story, but this story is making my life stressed as hell.

    I rented my property to a family friends daughter 16 months ago. She was a 18 year old with a newborn baby. So as i was moving into a new property i said to her that i would leave some items (bedroom furniture, living room furniture, Sofa, cooker and fridge freezer) I stated that i would leave this for her to use until she is on her feet, then i will remove them. This was agreed and all fine. Anyway due to my own stupidity i was made aware that some items require pat testing, and all furniture has to be safe. The council informed me i have 3 options. Give the items to the tenant as a gift, sell the items to my tenant, or remove them. So i have offered them to be bought by the tenant, of which they agreed to buy some of them. Excellent? Nope. Yesterday i was informed by a very aggressive phone call, that the tenant is not going to be buying anything and will stop me removing them. After countless calls to the council, and solicitors, i was informed that i could attend and remove the items, as they were not listed in the tenancy agreement (which she has always refused to sign). My solicitor told me that the police should be there as protection for myself incase it all kicks off. Anyway the Police officer was awful, and said that i shouldnt remove anything. He said i was not acting reasonable. I was baffled. I wasnt asking for his permission, but looking for protection from my tenants. While the officer was telling the tenant that all item will be removed as they did not form part of the original tenancy agreement, the tenants mother piped up that i had infact given the items as a gift to my tenant when she first moved in. I was astonished. I have 4 witness to the conversation that i had with my tenant about removing these items after she got on her feet. So now the police are saying i can not take anything as she is claiming they are all hers now. I am going to phone my solicitor again tomorrow and see what the hell i got to do now. I am also going to be evicting my tenant under section 21, and i have been told i can do this as my tenant is on a statutory periodic tenancy, which runs four weekly as the money is paid by housing benifit directly to myself.
    Basicly i want to know if my tenant has got me over a barrel like she gloated to me she has. I feel lost, and soooo stressed out. Its affecting my home life with me consumed with anger, at my tenant trying to 'steal' my possessions. I am spending less time with my 2 wonderful daughters and i am getting snappy at them. Please someone tell me theres light at the end of the tunnel!!! The police has said can i prove etherything is mine, i said well i have pictures of 5 years old with all the furniture in them, and the tenant even agreed that the items were there when she moved in. When asked why she had agreed to buy the things off me, she said she forgot that i had given them to her, and her mother reminded her that i agreed to both of them she could keep the stuff forever. Like im a bloody charity! Will i ever be able to get the things back, even if i refuse to pat test the cooker and fridge freezer. I have been informed no one can make me get them pat tested, so that means they are unsafe to be in there right?
    Sorry about the essay, but i have had a terrible day and by moaning her least i dont get hassle off the wife haha. Any advice would be great. I need to chill out dont i........

    #2
    Do you have any proof what items were in the property when you let it to this young lady?

    The tenant does not have to sign a tenancy agreement (as the agreement can be oral) but why did you let her move in without having done so?

    Unless you can prove they were there at move in day, then you will find it very difficult to prove anything if she takes them away.

    Which of the options given to you would you prefer - gift them or remove them?

    Let us help you with the section 21 notice - around 30% fail as it is easy to do wrong.

    Please tell us:

    When did the tenant move in?
    How often is rent due? (not how often is it paid)
    Did the (unsigned) written agreement agree with the above?
    Did the tenant give you any sort of deposit?

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Snorkerz,
      thank you for a swift reply. I have some recipts for things like cooker and fridge freezer. I have pictures of my daughter when she was 3 on the sofa, and the tenant agreed infront of the police officer today that all the furniture was there on the day she moved in. I also have 3 people who helped me move out who can confirm all these things were there at move in time.

      I know this sounds silly and in hindsight it was silly, but we thought sometimes in life people need a little helping hand. Shes from a tough family background, and we wanted to help her out for the short term. We never saw these issues ahead. The original tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy which run for 6 months. As it was never renewd i have been told its now the statutory periodic tenancy, i hope thats right. As its housing benifit we get paid every four weeks. So my solicitor has said the notic i have to give can be as low as four weeks, is that right i thought it always has to be 2 months.

      The tenant moved in 16th november 2010
      The rent is due every four weeks, only once have we been paid on time, as my tenant fails to give housing benifits correct info. Although we do always have it backdated.
      Yes the unsigned agreement stated a payment due date of every four weeks.
      No we did not take a deposit at all. In fact we recieved no rent money for 4 1/2 months as she faild to provide the right info to housing benifit. Almos killed us paying 2 morgtages for 4 months. So she moved in 16th nov 2010 and we got our first payment march 2011.

      I feel a mug when i write this as its compounding my stupidity.

      Comment


        #4
        There are a few issues which may make a section 21 eviction less than simple.

        I think a section 8 eviction would be quicker and cheaper - but that would be dependant on the tenant owing rent. With a 4-week tenancy it is impossible to use ground 8 of section 8 (mandatory eviction) but if there is at least 8 weeks unpaid you should be able to secure eviction under grounds 10 & 11.

        The fixed term ran from Tue 16th May 2010 to Sun 15th May 2011. Each subsequent tenancy period ran for 4 weeks from Mon to Sun. You have to give a minimum of 2 months notice and that must be the last day of one of those periods. 2 months is 14th May, and he first period end after that is 10th June 2012. Therefore the expiry date of the section 21(4)(a) notice must be After Sunday 10th June 2012 - the word 'after' is critical.
        I suggest this template http://www.letlink.co.uk/GeneralInfo...on/S21_4_A.pdf

        You should deliver this by hand before Tuesday 10th April and have a witness. There is a witness form in the documents section of this website (you may have to re-register). It is fine to put it through the letterbox.

        Please be aware that the tenant is under no obligation to leave at the expiry of this notice (or a section 8 notice if that is applicable).

        If section 8 is applicable then you can commence court proceedings at the end of this month and may get a possession date before the end of May. If not, it is likely to be mid-late July with section 21. Even then, you may have to employ bailiffs - more £ and more time.

        I would write a letter to the tenant stating that you understand the following items are deemed unsafe and asking that she contacts you to arrange a convenient time for their removal. If she doesn't reply, do it again a fortnight later. get a free certificate of posting for both letters from the PO. That way, if there is any comeback you can prove that you have tried to comply with your obligations.

        With regard to getting your furnishings back - if she takes anything you may have to go through the civil courts and it would be up to a judge to decide if your 'evidence' was strong enough to prove those items were there. Thing is, if the judge orders her to compensate you, would she have the money to pay?

        Comment


          #5
          Incidentally - solicitor is wrong, obviously knows nothing about landlord and tenant law - don't use him again on this matter. Following his advice could result in a criminal record for you (illegal eviction).

          Next time - remember this is a business, not a charity. If someone needs a helping hand, give them a list of registered charities

          Comment


            #6
            I presume tenant applied for HB, soon after moving in. Most LAs will backadate payments to date of application, unless rejected, and should pay LL arrears direct if T owes more than 2 months if LL brings arrears to HB attention. HB is always paid 2 weeks in arrears to T ~3wks to LL.
            IMO plod was ill-advised to intervene in contents dispute, he was there solely to prevent a breach of the peace. Any other plod would have said 'civil dispute, sir'. I presume you requested Police presence?

            Another example why LLs should not do favours for family friends or relatives!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by f1tzy View Post
              Will i ever be able to get the things back, even if i refuse to pat test the cooker and fridge freezer. I have been informed no one can make me get them pat tested, so that means they are unsafe to be in there right?
              I don't know who's told you that your appliances need testing, but that's totally wrong. Yes they need to be safe; and yes you would be liable if an untested appliance of yours became faulty and injured a tenant; and realistically the only way to cover yourself against that is indeed to carry out testing - however, it certainly isn't a requirement and you've done nothing wrong in not having your stuff tested.

              Originally posted by mariner View Post
              IMO plod was ill-advised to intervene in contents dispute, he was there solely to prevent a breach of the peace. Any other plod would have said 'civil dispute, sir'.
              I think the PC was in a difficult position to be honest - when he turned up to face 'landlord versus tenant' like this how was he to know whose story to believe? For all he knew a vulnerable young tenant with a baby was about to have all her stuff removed by an evil landlord; and he judged that the consequences of getting it 'wrong' would be much worse if that happened; so best to leave things as they are for now.

              Comment


                #8
                I think golden rule in future is don't let to relatives or their offspring and keep your business brain on at all times when dealing with property.



                Freedom at the point of zero............

                Comment


                  #9
                  If you decide on hand delivering, I would also back this up by sending by Royal mail at the same time.
                  Do it from a Post Office, and get a certificate of posting. Do not send by a "signed For" service that you may be offered.

                  Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                  I would write a letter to the tenant stating that you understand the following items are deemed unsafe and asking that she contacts you to arrange a convenient time for their removal.
                  I would not say this, or put it in writing.
                  Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Following on from 'thesaint' post. I can see his point with regard to the 'unsafe' items - perhaps it would be better to say 'I understand that you consider the following items are deemed unsafe'.

                    You must serve by hand as it is the only method of service that is 'allowed' unless the tenancy agreement specifies other acceptable methods of service. As you have no signed agreement then it would be dangerous to rely upon the terms of an 'agreement' that one side can easily argue they never agreed to.

                    However, the suggestion to have a 'back-up' served by mail will do no harm - it must be posted 1st class by Thursday 5th April to be considered served before the 10th (weekend).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      Following on from 'thesaint' post. I can see his point with regard to the 'unsafe' items - perhaps it would be better to say 'I understand that you consider the following items are deemed unsafe'.
                      I don't see where the tenant has said that.
                      Even if they did, I would not say that back to them.

                      The landlord simply is asking for a convenient time for removal.
                      Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                        Incidentally - solicitor is wrong, obviously knows nothing about landlord and tenant law - don't use him again on this matter. Following his advice could result in a criminal record for you (illegal eviction).

                        Next time - remember this is a business, not a charity. If someone needs a helping hand, give them a list of registered charities

                        Yeah i pulled her up on this and she indeed said you were correct. She said four weeks when i was asking for advice, now im paying her she seems a bit more on the ball. And again you are correct in not being a charity, i won't be making the same mistakes agian. Many thanks though mate.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by mariner View Post
                          I presume tenant applied for HB, soon after moving in. Most LAs will backadate payments to date of application, unless rejected, and should pay LL arrears direct if T owes more than 2 months if LL brings arrears to HB attention. HB is always paid 2 weeks in arrears to T ~3wks to LL.
                          IMO plod was ill-advised to intervene in contents dispute, he was there solely to prevent a breach of the peace. Any other plod would have said 'civil dispute, sir'. I presume you requested Police presence?

                          Another example why LLs should not do favours for family friends or relatives!
                          Yeah HB pay us directly as the Tenant has said in the past she will stop paying us rent, we can't fault HB as they have been as helpful as possible. My Tenant never returns paperwork they need on time, so thats why our payments are alsways late. I have even offered to take paperwork to council for her in the past just so we get our money on time.
                          And yeah i have spoken to the police officer since then, and he said he was unsure what to do. However after he has seen all the letters back and forth he agrees the possesions are mine but has asked if i give her more time until i collect them. So she has 9 days until i return and this time he will make sure that when i enter i dont get attacked. My Tenant is one wild woman.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi just want to say thanks for the replies. Things are more calmer now, and i have been on a harsh ride on what to do and not to do as a LL.
                            Anyway my Tenant has asked me me to serve her a section 21, i assume as this means the council will find her a new house, although i think she will be disapointed. The police have now agreed that the possesions can be removed as when she agreed prices to buy the stuff, she has made it clear they arent hers. They have asked for me to give her longer notice time, so i gave her 2 weeks. They said if it ever did go to court it may look better if i show i have given her time to get new stuff. Although they did state i could just go there after 48 hrs notice. Just another quick question, if my Tenant does not leave, would it be wise to go to court myself or use a solicitor. I dont quite get what the court will ask. I hand delivered the Section 21 notice last thursday by hand and there were two witness' to it. Im hoping she wants to leave, as shes saying im such a bad LL, thats why shes asked for notice, but if i was that bad, i would have buggered off long ago. Or she just asked for it to play with my head lol. I hate stereotyping people but my Tenant certainly fails into a supposed class. I have someone who wants to rent the house already so i hope this gets fixed soon, but the new tenants are willing to wait as they really want to live there. Minus my stuff of course haha. But thanks again guys, this site has really lifted my spirits, and from my experiance good LL advice is hard to find, but here its in abundance.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi there,

                              If she is hoping for a council house, she will probably be in your house until it's been to court and she is made to leave. I only know this as it happened to my sister - LL wanted house back to sell it so he didn't have to put in GCH and double glazing. Council told her NOT to move out until it had been to court as she wouldn't be classed as homeless until then and they wouldn't help.

                              Comment

                              Latest Activity

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X