Section 8 court hearing in two days! Please help.

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  • Section 8 court hearing in two days! Please help.

    Hello all,

    You might remember my 'thieving tenant' thread some months ago. Well, I am in court on Thursday 15th to have my case heard. Grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 17 were all cited on the claim for possession. I never thought I'd hear myself say this but UNFORTUNATELY the council has now sorted the issue of rent arrears and so the mandatory ground 8 no longer applies to my case!

    As all the other grounds are discretionary I am really starting to panic in case this character decides to show at the hearing to 'fight his corner'. He has been saying for weeks that he will give me the keys back but during our last phone conversation (22nd February) I told him I was not prepared to discuss returning the deposit until I had received the rent due! At that time the arrears stood at £1,200+!!!

    I received a cheque off the council the following day for almost £1k and have received two further cheques in the last week (totalling almost £400 and so the rent account is now almost straight. However, the tenant has not been back in touch since that last conversation!

    I have also received confirmation from the police that the tenant WILL BE CHARGED for one count of theft of my property and with three counts of deception concerning the catalogues accounts he opened in my name.

    I have prepared my witness statement and a file of evidence which I have submitted to the court today (hopefully in time) and I also hand-delivered my witness statement and copies of all documentation to the tenant at the rental property (this was done last night and so should definately be in time).

    My questions are as follows:

    1. If the tenant plans to appear at court 'to fight his corner' should he have provided the court with some kind of defence statement? If yes, should I have received notification of this and copies of any correspondence etc?

    2. If the tenant does show up - what are the chances of him actually preventing the possession order being granted?

    3. Should I be fortunate enough that the tenant does not appear - do I presume that the court will issue the possession order and also issue an order for outstanding arrears & charges?

    4. In the event the judge does award the possession order - how much notice does he have to allow the tenant to vacate? Is there a minimum period of notice required? If no minimum period could I request that the judge make the order to come into effect immediately?

    The reason I ask question 4 is that I believe the tenant may have absconded back to his home town of Glasgow. The ex-wife of the tenant has been in touch yesterday and today to say she hasn't seen anything of him for over three weeks (and she only lives a few doors up and across the road). She says that her husband (the tenant) telephoned her yesterday and said that one of his mates has got the key to the property and that he will arrange to get the key to her for her to remove some possessions she left at the property when she left him (AGAIN).

    Question 5. Would it be safe for me to assume the property has been abandoned?

    Question 6. What do I do about somebody else on the estate having the key to my property?

    Question 7. Would I be entitled to let the wife enter the property (using my own key) so that she can remove her possessions? She was not named on the tenancy although all my dealings regarding the tenancy were with her (I have known the wife for about 7yrs which is how the tenancy came about). I would be keen to access the property prior to the court hearing in order to do a property inspection and to see if there is evidence that the tenant is still in occupation. I have hand-delivered numerous documents pertaining to the court hearing over the last week and so it would be easy to tell if he had been at the property.

    Question 8 (hopefully the last one). If the tenant isn't at the property if/when I visited could I change the locks and leave a note attached to the door informing him I have a set of keys waiting for him in the event that he hasn't abandoned the property?

    I realise this is a very long thread with lots of questions but to be honest I'm at my wits end with this joker. The final straw came when his wife informed me that he had asked her to validate a store card of mine that was delivered to the address!!!

    Any and all assistance that can be offered in relation to the above queries would be gratefully received!

    Many thanks in advance.

    Kind Regards

    J

  • #2
    Joanne, if it helps, I can tell you that my ex-tenant was taken to court on grounds 10 and 11 only. He did turn up and told the court he had a cheque due to him within two weeks which he would use to pay half of his arrears off. The judge granted a suspended possession order and set a date two weeks ahead for the agreed amount to be paid (with the tenant then having to pay off £100 over his normal rent per month). The set date came and went (15th December) with no sight of money, so the following Monday (18th Dec) a possession warrant was put in which went straight to the bailiffs who set a date for eviction 6 weeks ahead. This date depends on how busy the bailiffs are. You could call your county court and ask what the usual time frame between receiving a possession warrant and evicting a tenant. They may be able to give you a general idea.

    Each case is different, but I think you have a stronger case than I did.

    I wouldn't give ex-wife keys if she isn't on contract. Stick to the rules then nothing can be held against you. It's not her he needs to contact, but you.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your response DianeB. I can't believe it could possibly take a further six weeks to gain possession in the event he doesn't leave upon the date of the court order (if granted). To be honest, that's why I would prefer it if he has just abandoned the property.

      I don't propose to give the ex-wife the keys. I only proposed allowing her entry in my presence to remove her possessions. In this scenario I would take note of everything she moved and would get her to sign this in front of a witness.

      The wife is even saying she is prepared to give me a statement confirming her belief that he has abandoned the property and is back in Glasgow. Would other members know if such a statement would be useful and would it provide me with an opportunity to go check the property / change the locks?

      Kind Regards

      J

      Comment


      • #4
        [QUOTE=Joannepowell;36258]Hello all,

        You might remember my 'thieving tenant' thread some months ago. Well, I am in court on Thursday 15th to have my case heard. Grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 17 were all cited on the claim for possession. I never thought I'd hear myself say this but UNFORTUNATELY the council has now sorted the issue of rent arrears and so the mandatory ground 8 no longer applies to my case!

        As all the other grounds are discretionary I am really starting to panic in case this character decides to show at the hearing to 'fight his corner'. He has been saying for weeks that he will give me the keys back but during our last phone conversation (22nd February) I told him I was not prepared to discuss returning the deposit until I had received the rent due! At that time the arrears stood at £1,200+!!!

        I received a cheque off the council the following day for almost £1k and have received two further cheques in the last week (totalling almost £400 and so the rent account is now almost straight. However, the tenant has not been back in touch since that last conversation!

        I have also received confirmation from the police that the tenant WILL BE CHARGED for one count of theft of my property and with three counts of deception concerning the catalogues accounts he opened in my name.

        I have prepared my witness statement and a file of evidence which I have submitted to the court today (hopefully in time) and I also hand-delivered my witness statement and copies of all documentation to the tenant at the rental property (this was done last night and so should definately be in time).

        My questions are as follows:

        1. If the tenant plans to appear at court 'to fight his corner' should he have provided the court with some kind of defence statement? If yes, should I have received notification of this and copies of any correspondence etc?
        My understanding from my recent case is that you should have received a copy of anything he wants to submit.
        2. If the tenant does show up - what are the chances of him actually preventing the possession order being granted?
        Impossible to answer - depends on the judge.
        3. Should I be fortunate enough that the tenant does not appear - do I presume that the court will issue the possession order and also issue an order for outstanding arrears & charges?
        Same answer as for Q2.

        Question 5. Would it be safe for me to assume the property has been abandoned?
        No.

        Question 7. Would I be entitled to let the wife enter the property (using my own key) so that she can remove her possessions? She was not named on the tenancy although all my dealings regarding the tenancy were with her (I have known the wife for about 7yrs which is how the tenancy came about). I would be keen to access the property prior to the court hearing in order to do a property inspection and to see if there is evidence that the tenant is still in occupation. I have hand-delivered numerous documents pertaining to the court hearing over the last week and so it would be easy to tell if he had been at the property.
        No.

        Question 8 (hopefully the last one). If the tenant isn't at the property if/when I visited could I change the locks and leave a note attached to the door informing him I have a set of keys waiting for him in the event that he hasn't abandoned the property?
        No.

        I realise this is a very long thread with lots of questions but to be honest I'm at my wits end with this joker. The final straw came when his wife informed me that he had asked her to validate a store card of mine that was delivered to the address!!!

        Any and all assistance that can be offered in relation to the above queries would be gratefully received!
        Many thanks in advance.

        I'm answering the above based on my own experience. Unfortunately it really seems to be the case that there is no "norm" in these matters, so your case may go very differently to mine. I wish you the very best of luck and hope it goes your way.

        Comment


        • #5
          1. I agree with Janine. Courts take a dim view of parties wasting judicial time by last-minute defences.
          2. Well, it's obviously discretionary. Court has to consider a Possession Order reasonable for grounds in Part II of Schedule 2. See s.7(4).
          3. Probably, but it's still disretionary.
          4. Discretionary.
          5. Not really, except at your own risk.
          6. How did other person acquire key? From you or from T?
          7. No.
          8. (as for 5)
          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


          • #6
            Janine and Jeffrey thank you for your responses.

            I take on board what you are both saying (much as it pains me). I suppose on the bright side at least the rent is still being paid by the local authority.

            Do I presume that the courts will accept my witness statement and evidence file given that I only managed to submit them at 11am this morning? The Issue of Notice states 'two clear days' before the hearing date but unfortunately I couldn't get there in time yesterday. This is really worrying me! The hearing is on Thursday at 11.15am.

            J

            Comment


            • #7
              BEWARE.... if he has buggered back to Glasgow and went a few weeks ago HB could claw back some of the money they have paid you!!! Just be prepared to pay some back if it is proved that he went a while ago.
              GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

              Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

              Comment


              • #8
                Surely if this character has not given me the keys back/terminated the tenancy then he is still legally liable for the rent? Just hope what's left of his deposit covers any shortfall in such an eventuality!

                J

                Comment


                • #9
                  Housing Benefit dont see it that way! They will say that he is liable for the monies himself and not them! Been there done that etc! .. Esp if he goes up north and claims HB there.. Sorry hun but it can happen!
                  GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                  Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    & just when I thought things couldn't get any worse! Thanks for the info though.

                    Regards

                    J

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Joanne, can I just wish you good luck tomorrow and do let us know how you get on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks ever so much Diane! A surprising turn of events today in that the wife (now ex-wife) has said she will attend court and do what she can do to help AS MY WITNESS!!! I won't actually hold my breath but I suppose I can live in hope...

                        I have to laugh actually because she is also called Diane and her surname began with B before she married my wonderful tenant! Everytime I see your name I get shudders..... no offence intended though Diane!

                        Will let everyone know how I get on tomorrow.... I'm guessing I'm gonna have a sleepless night because everytime I think about the hearing my stomach does somersaults!!! SAD & ASHEN FACE!

                        J

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If its any consolation, Diane isn't my real name.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Phew - I might sleep a bit better tonight afterall! Please don't tell me you are 'borrowing' somebody elses identity!

                            Thanks for the humour - defo needed by me at the mo. I'm all word-processed out this last few days preparing my witness statement, evidence file etc. What annoys me more than anything is that the character will probably not even bother showing up and I would have wasted even more time and energy on the ......

                            J

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