Thieving Tenant

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    Thieving Tenant

    Hi there

    Hope somebody can advise me on how to deal with a very ugly problem (which no doubt could get even uglier)!

    I let a property to a friend and her husband. I've known the lady for 8yrs and had no reason to think I would become a victim of theft and deception! The 6mth AST was drawn up in his name and I know him to have submitted an housing benefit claim. Since receiving a months rent deposit and a months rent in advance (4th November tenancy start date) I have received no further rent to date.

    That is not my biggest concern at present. Unfortunately, I had a parcel delivered to the tenanted property by mistake and as the tenants claim not to have received it (although the parcel was signed for from that address but in MY NAME). I notified the police and they were in the process of investigating this problem when I became aware of a credit card application also in my name (fortunately this was declined but has caused me no end of problems)!

    The police finally arrested the male tenant of the property at the end of last week and the guy has admitted to signing for my parcel (and its ultimate theft). Whilst searching the property the police also found a number of catalogues, invoices and statements (ALL IN MY NAME BUT NOT MINE!). The tenant has also admitted opening the catalogue accounts and ordering goods but he has been paying the statements.

    The guy has been bailed until the end of February whilst Police continue their enquiries and enquire with the catalogue companies about statements, charges etc. No charges have yet been brought until the police finish their enquiries because they don't know how many offences he will be charged with. The only definiate charge that will be brought is for the theft of my parcel and the earliest a conviction will be reached is obviously going to be March!!!

    Given the tenancy agreement will not expire until May my question is can I legally get this tenant (and his wife) out of my property prior to that date? Would a section 8 notice do the job (stating the two months arrears and all other breaches of tenancy agreement)??? I would also suspect it would be advisable to issue the section 21 as back up - am I right in this persumption???

    I also know that the local council posted two rent payment cheques to the tenant (in his name) at the end of last week. Despite asking the tenant about rent I have not been informed by them that they have received the cheques (which would have arrived in the post on Friday and Saturday of last week). I know this because I telephoned the council to enquire as to the status of the rent rebate application. When they told me the cheques had been sent out I explained the situation to them and that I had concerns that the tenant was just going to pocket the rent and I would never see it given recent events. Fortunately, the council suggested putting a stop on the two cheques that had been issued and they did this immediately. They also told me how to go about claiming the rent direct from them (although they have to be 8 weeks in arrears to action this).

    This is a real sorry mess and any advice that can be offered with regards getting these people out of my house (in the quickest possible time) would be very much appreciated and very gratefully received!

    Kind Regards

    Joanne

    #2
    Section 21 Reply

    Hi Joanne,

    I have a similar situation. I have a tenant who went DSS payment and has subsequently fallen behind in his rent. I through a letting agent have given this tenant 9 months to get the arrears paid to no avail and he now owes me £900.

    The tenant has also not been telling the truth about his payments as he said he has not been paid by the DSS but when I phoned him they said he has.

    I am now in the process as from today in eviciting the tenant.

    My agent has sent him a section 21, which has asked him to leave the property within 2 months (long time I know, but tenants have rights). If he does not leave on the date issued, I will have to serve him a county court notice and go to court to get him out. If he does not leave, it is the Baliffs, all of this will cost £550 pounds or there abouts. The tenant has advised the letting agent that he is going to become a squatter, but if this happens to you then I would not worry about that too much, not a lot they can do when the police and Baliffs are on the door step and I have been told they usually leave before hand, but they may trash the property.

    I really hope that anyone who is considering letting to DSS think again, I know you can get good tenants but in my experience if I was asked again the answer would be no.

    I think after I have gone to court they grant an order that the tenant has to leave in 14 days.

    The best thing you can do is section 21 this tenant asap and cut your losses. The property is an excellent investment, i have been renting for 5 years and this is the only bad tenant that I have had so don't be put off for the future.

    Best of luck.

    Comment


      #3
      Serve s.21, obviously, but also serve s.8- grounds to include 8/10/11 (depending on rent position), 12 (other breaches), and 14 (conduct- nuisance/annoyance: including g14 means that you can begin proceedings at once with no waiting period).
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with jeffrey - in this instance you can go for a Section 8 - do check all the grounds, you'll have more than just 8, 10 and 11 considering the theft and ongoing police investigations. Do also issue a Section 21 as well, just in case your S8 doesn't go as it should. Belt and braces, an' all.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for taking the time to reply Kangertwo. I wish you well with your eviction. My last eviction in similiar circumstances resulted in tenant doing a moonlight on day of court appearance. Needless to say she didn't appear in court and although I got a court order for possession and rent arrears + costs (amounting to almost £3k) I have never seen a penny!!! I believe this defaulting tenant is now living in Greece and obviously living it up at my expense!!!

          Good Luck anyway!

          Joanne

          Comment


            #6
            I would like to thank both Jeffrey and Surrey for taking the time to respond to my query. I spent all day researching the subject yesterday and had pretty much reached the conclusion which you have both suggested. It's good to have it clarified for which I thank you both sincerely!!!

            Just in case you do come back to this thread I note that Jeffrey says that by using g14 I can start proceedings straight away. I presume this to mean that I can start the section 8 straight away - would that be correct? Do I still need to issue a Notice Requiring Possession? If not, is it worth issuing one anyway in the hope that the tenant vacates within the two week notice period?

            Your responses would be welcomed. Many thanks in anticipation.

            Kind Regards

            Comment


              #7
              Whoops! Getting all fuddled up on this one! The Notice Requiring Possession is the section 21 - silly me!!!

              So my question would be "is there any other sort of notice or communication that needs to take place before I issue the section 8?"

              I note that court proceedings can be instigated immediately (upon the date of serving the s8) where ground 14 is to be used and so will be using that along with grounds 10, 11 & 12. Ground 8 will not apply for another 3 weeks unfortunately - though I do believe I can add this at a later date should the need arise! I presume I quote both 10a and 10b on the section 8 as the tenant is not yet 3 months in arrears? Clarification would be useful.

              Many Thanks

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Joannepowell View Post
                I would like to thank both Jeffrey and Surrey for taking the time to respond to my query. I spent all day researching the subject yesterday and had pretty much reached the conclusion which you have both suggested. It's good to have it clarified for which I thank you both sincerely!!!

                Just in case you do come back to this thread I note that Jeffrey says that by using g14 I can start proceedings straight away. I presume this to mean that I can start the section 8 straight away - would that be correct? Do I still need to issue a Notice Requiring Possession? If not, is it worth issuing one anyway in the hope that the tenant vacates within the two week notice period?

                Your responses would be welcomed. Many thanks in anticipation.

                Kind Regards
                Ground 14: yes. See s.8(4).You can serve Notice and start possession proceedings all on same day.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                  #9
                  The only thing here which I am VERY appauled about(and im not taking into effect the OP)

                  Is the fact the poster who wont let out to DSS people due to one person who was working when they moved in(or maybe not but isnt clear)

                  I mean if you have one working person who doesnt pay, why dont you block all working people from renting, I find it awful you think that way.

                  I was signing on before I started college, and I paid my rent the VERY day my rent cheque came in, in fact im on such good terms with my agency that they dont even check my money!

                  I went in one day to pay £640 which is 2 months rent and they asked how much is there and said "£640, fine heres your receipt" and didnt even count!

                  Who else would count for that much.

                  And my parents are students but on Income Support and they dont pay bills late!

                  In fact when they went in to pay their CT thhe woman told them that they always pay in time, in fact the person in front hadnt paid it in months!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by dekaspace View Post
                    I went in one day to pay £640 which is 2 months rent and they asked how much is there and said "£640, fine heres your receipt" and didnt even count!
                    I'm afraid that has more to do with your agency being extremely inefficient and lazy, rather than trusting of you.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Free Living

                      Hear hear Eric!!!

                      Latest in this sorry saga is that the tenant continues to live at my property rent free and its looks like the council may end up also paying him for living there!!! Not bad work if you can get it..... Where else could you live rent free and paid be £92.31 a week as well (for doing jack s**t)??? Council will not pay cheques to me until he is 8 wks in arrears (in their eyes not as per my tenancy agreement). They know he is likely to walk with the funds but still insist the cheque has to go to him in his name. It's an absolute joke.

                      Actually don't suppose you can call this tenant lazy cos he spends a lot of time filling paperwork in using my name and to date has secured over £1k in catalogue goods! Not to mention the credit card he applied for in my name (luckily declined).

                      Just posting this to serve as a warning to other LL's!!! I bet I'm not the only one to suffer this experience!!! Seriously considering having a chat with my local MP because (in my opinion) paying rent cheques direct to tenants is actually setting a lot of tenants up to fail at managing their finances & tenancies and also setting private landlords to fail at managing their port-folios and hence their mortgage obligations!!!

                      Could you imagine how many Local Athorities would go bankrupt overnight if rent cheques for council houses were paid direct to tenants??? It's double standards and there's gotta be some kind of discrimination (against private landlords) goin on here!

                      I'm on good terms with my MP and just wondered if it would be lobbying him with force on this one??? Gotta be worth a go cos he's also the Minister for Local Government.

                      What do other posters think? Does anyone think I should do a seperate posting with regards lobbying the MP and would other members be interested in supplying me with their personal stories so that I've got a handful of evidence to pass on to the MP? Let me know cos I'm all fired up on this one now and not prepared to lose more money because of a biased policy!!!

                      I don't know how I'd go about receiving mail from other members on this one but any advice could only serve to speed up the process.

                      Thanks everyone!!!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Consider the CIFAS protective registration scheme to protect you against further theft of credit, goods and services in your name

                        "A CIFAS warning will then be placed against your address marked Category '0' which indicates the individual has been recorded on the CIFAS database at their own request for their protection. CIFAS members when undertaking a search against your address will see "CIFAS-DO NOT REJECT-REFER FOR VALIDATION", whatever name they search for. They will then contact Equifax to establish the reason for the entry."

                        http://www.cifas.org.uk/protective_registration.asp

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Joannepowell View Post
                          They know he is likely to walk with the funds but still insist the cheque has to go to him in his name.
                          Could you imagine how many Local Athorities would go bankrupt overnight if rent cheques for council houses were paid direct to tenants??? It's double standards and there's gotta be some kind of discrimination (against private landlords) goin on here!

                          I'm on good terms with my MP and just wondered if it would be lobbying him with force on this one??? Gotta be worth a go cos he's also the Minister for Local Government.
                          Here is a good link to information on the Housing Benefit reforms

                          http://www.dwp.gov.uk/housingbenefit/reform-agenda/

                          See page 4 of the following document for the reason why it will switch to pay HB directly to claiments rather than landlords later this year - to increase the personal responsibility of the claimants. It's part of the 'radical agenda' to build choice and responsibility.

                          http://www.dwp.gov.uk/housingbenefit...prospectus.pdf

                          Your tenant has chosen to be irresponsible...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi Beeber - Just been thanking you for your humour on another posting!

                            I have already got the CIFAS marker on my credit report because it was me who informed the bank re the fraudulant credit card application. Gonna have to go check whether it is category '0' though.

                            The annoying thing about the credit card application is that the police won't actually be taking any action on that crime. Apparently I'm not the intended victim (the bank is) so I can't report the crime!!! The bank has to do the reporting and it is their policy not to!!! Police said something about the law changing in relation to this matter on January 15th but they can't do retrospective!!! So although the card was applied for in my name and has caused me lots of stress and inconvenience (not to mention possibly affecting my own credit-worthiness) I can't do a thing about it and nobody will be brought to justice (even though both me and police know who bloody did it)!!!

                            Anyway, I've also registered all my properties (personal and buy-to-lets) with the mailing preference service as well. I've registered my own name, my partners name and all ex tenant's names! I've even registered the current tenants at the thieving tenant household!!! Maybe other landlords should consider registering too! You can also register to stop telephone sales people calling!

                            I used this one: http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm on good terms with my MP and just wondered if it would be lobbying him with force on this one???
                              I was working in supported hosuing with 18-25 year olds when this was first mooted in around 2001. We couldn't believe the stupidity of it, as a lot of the tenants found it difficult enough to avod the temptation to not pay the rent anyway, without the added bonus of a nice fat checque landing on their slimy doormats every 4 weeks. Supported housing rent were quite high as well, before supporting people came in, so not small amounts.

                              Anyway, the Housing Corporation and the NHF made it quite clear to the Govt that they didn't think it was the best idea ever thought of. Not made any difference though has it?

                              Comment

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