Stuck in a loop!

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  • Stuck in a loop!

    Hello. I am new on this forum and hoping someone can offer some help. To
    cut a long story short, out tenants abandoned our property end of Nov
    without advising us. We noticed that months rent had not been paid so tried
    to contact them. They ignored us. We then contacted our solicitor who tried a
    number of letters and calls and finally got hold of them at the end of
    January. The tenant had said they left at the end of Nov. At this time wehad also issued them with a Section 8 notice for various breaches in the contract.

    We gained entry and there was damage to the property, some stolen items and they had left some of their furniture too. As we stupidly didn't do an inventory as they were in such a hurry to move in - our solicitor says its their word against ours. However the 6 month fixed contract states we can use the deposit to pay for any arrears/damage.

    The tenant continually tries to request the whole deposit back from the
    DPS and we keep rejecting it. We are stuck in a loop and going know where!
    We have been advised to get a court order to say the deposit should be returned to us to cover arrears. Is this the right way forward? We are
    gutted that we may not get anything back as the deposit is £700 and the rent arrears is £2800.

    The tenant has gone into hiding and only replies via email to the solicitor. He denies any damage and not commenting on the arrears at all!

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • #2
    Without an inventory, it is not your word against theirs. They dont need to prove they didnt cause damage, you need to prove they did. And without an inventory, it's very difficult, if not impossible. You can try using any other evidence you might have for the condition of items. I.e. receipt for carpet bought one week before the tenant moved in, carpet now being in shreds.

    As far as the arrears are concerned, when are the arrears from? November to now? before november? when do you consider the tenancy ended? when did the tenancy start and how long was the fixed term?

    Bear in mind that the deposit is not a cap to the tenant's liability. Given you say arrears are £2800 and deposit is only £700, you should start legal proceedings for the full amount, also asking for the deposit to cover part of it. While damage is difficult to prove without an inventory, arrears should be straighforward, depending on how and when the tenancy ended.
    All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

    Comment


    • #3
      We do have photos that the tenant sent us of how the property was when they were there and we took pictures when we finally got back in. The tenancy started on 21 Sept 2012. They paid 2 months rent and left on 26 Nov. Their tenancy agreement ends at the end of March. Our solicitor sent them a 'settlement'letter to pay the arrears up until end of Jan (when they verbally advised the sol they had left). Also to relinquish the deposit to us. They ignored the letter. We gave them 14 days to respond otherwise they would have to pay the full arrears to the end of the term. They still haven't officially notified us that they have left.

      He has sent an email asking for proof that our mortgage was 'buy to let', electricity safety cert and lots of other rubbish. When we got to the property the back door had been forced open. he claims we had burglars after he left! How does he know that?? These so called burglars, carefully cut out a room size carpet out of one of the bedrooms, replaced our fridge with an old one, which leaked all over our kitchen floor and damaged all our blinds in the house. It was an awful sight to enter into to. He wants proof of all this.


      Our solicitor suggested a 'Summary Judgement' as a way forward, but said the tenant could still argue that as far as the arrears are concerned. We cant believe we hit a brickwall at every turn!

      Comment


      • #4
        You wouldn't be entitled to the money until the end of the term in my view as you've acted in a way which I would argue constitutes accepting a surrender - ie entering the property.
        [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you have to divorce yourself personally from the state of the property and accept you slipped up big time by not getting an inventory done and you were robbed - literally considering the carpet!

          Using a solicitor will only increase your bills and carry on the rot.

          I suggest get property secure,done up, re- let and above all get an inventory done and use it properly.



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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
            I think you have to divorce yourself personally from the state of the property and accept you slipped up big time by not getting an inventory done and you were robbed - literally considering the carpet!

            Using a solicitor will only increase your bills and carry on the rot.

            I suggest get property secure,done up, re- let and above all get an inventory done and use it properly.
            Good advice.

            Ask the DPS for arbitration on the basis of the unpaid rent - you should get the full deposit for that, then consider a court claim for the balance of the rent up until you entered the property and any damage. You are going to need considerable evidence of not only thae damage caused but the value of that damage (allowing for fair wear & tear) and it doesn't seem like you have much or either, so don't expect much (if anything) on the damage claim.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for your replies.

              We have heard that the DPS arbitration service tends to favour the tenant, so were advised to go to court to get a judgement to say the DPS need to pay the landlord due to the clause covering arrears. Is the DPS arbitration fair?

              The carpets were put down brand new in September and we do have the receipts for that. Are we able to send the furniture they left behind to their new address??

              Comment


              • #8
                What defence can you foresee them genuinely relying upon if you go via DPS arbitration? Rent arrears should be the most obvious of claims.
                [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Their Nov rent was due 21 Nov 2012 and they advised us at the end of Jan that they moved out end of Nov. Like I said in my earlier posts, this was a verbal notification they gave when speaking with our solicitor. They refused to send anything in writing.
                  I guess our concern is they may say they dont owe any rent as they moved out end of Nov.If the arbitration service agree with them, then we lose the deposit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Even if you lose at the arbitration, you can still sue in court and the deposit seems to be a fraction of the arrears anyway.

                    That is a bonkers argument. They are liable for rent until the end of the fixed term. You can treat their verbal communication as surrender of the property, especially if you have entered the property and carried out repairs, implicitly accepting a surrender. But at minimum, they are liable for rent until the day they 'gave notice'.
                    All views posted reflect my personal opinion only and do not constitute professional advice which I am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to provide.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We have heard that the DPS arbitration service tends to favour the tenant, so were advised to go to court to get a judgement to say the DPS need to pay the landlord due to the clause covering arrears. Is the DPS arbitration fair?

                      It is generally thought that the DPS favours the tenant. Who should force them to look at their judgements?Last year I applied for a CCJ in a case rather than use the DPS arbitration scheme. Very recently after a 6 month wait I got a county court order which would, I thought pay me the deposit where tenants left owing rent and having caused damage to the let.
                      I emailed off the order to the DPS and no, the DPS are having none of it mainly because the wording is not as precise as they would like.
                      I have gone back to the court for advice on how to proceed and suggesting re- wording of the document as requested by the DPS.

                      Be prepared to put time and effort in if you go down this route.



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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks. Thats what our solicitor said too. She spoke to the DPS who told her the exact wording needed from the judge on the order. However, as our claim is under £5000, she suggests a small claims court is the best way forward.

                        Can anyone advise whether it is illegal for us to leave their belongings outside their current rental?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You have to protect their belongings.

                          A claim on DPS for rent is straight forward enough, there is no defence the tenant can viably make. Small claims limit goes up to £10k in April.

                          If you do decide to go down the court route, as Interlaken says, you need to specifically request the judge to include in his judgement, an order that the DPS release the tenants funds to you.

                          OOI, you can also submit a 'third party debt order' against DPS to enforce the court order. The £100 fee will be added to whatever the tenant owes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I doubt if it is illegal but consider that the ex tenants might accuse you of damaging their goods or littering.

                            The usual way forwards is to bag up the stuff and keep it for 2 months. Write and tell the ex tenants that they should arrange to collect their belongings by a set date after which time the goods will be discarded.



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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How long do we have to protect the belongings? They are saying they left the property empty and we want to get it rented asap.

                              As far as the DPS is concerned, do you know what we need to provide to prove rent has not been paid?

                              Thanks again all.

                              Comment

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