Help required! Threatening tenant

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    Help required! Threatening tenant

    Hi all,

    I have a ridiculous situation that is escalating out of control.

    I employ a well established letting company to fully manage the house on my behalf. The property is a small open plan cottage. With one working gas fire that heats the property fine.

    Earlier this year, they moved a tenant in, the fire had just failed its gas cert but the agents engineer said all would be fixed. The tenant moved in on the understanding the heating was not working, signed tenancy.

    The unforeseen problem with the fire escalated and i was advised there were more problems that first seen by the engineer. I then agreed to install a full total heating system to the property, costing thousands, so the tenant would be happy.

    We offered temporary heating and heaters immediately for the time to install the system, this was refused by the tenant who wanted monetary compensation instead. We offered a months free rent to be added to the tenancy, this was accepted verbally, so we gave the go ahead for the heating. The client then moved all their furniture in and went on holiday for a few weeks.

    A week later the tenants relative who has continually verbally abused the agency staff and bullied them, informs them that a months free rent is not enough and they want 2 months free and the tenancy to start from scratch when the heating is completed. We refused this and were annoyed as we had offered temporary heating which was refused and offered a free month (expecting the work to be done in a week or two).

    The heating situation took in total 6 weeks to complete. We (myself and agency) agree i will foot the bill for the 6 weeks and add it to the end of the tenancy.

    It turns out during this time the tenants rlative has been boasting how he would get his son and daughter in law out of this contract, the daughter in law hadnt seen the house before moving in and didnt like it.

    We have since been bombarded with threats, insults and complete fabrication and lies.

    The tenant insists the tenanacy by null and void and start again 2 months after the original date? The tenant wasnt even in the country until 2 weeks AFTER the heating was completed. They also insist I am responsible for council tax and utilities despite tham signing the contracts with them.

    I am MORE than happy to go to court on this. We have at every opportunity bent over backwards to accomodate the clients, including a free washer dryer, fridge freezer, brand new cooker, brand new total heating system. And we still get threats.

    The legal team from the agency seem slow, but can anyone tell me the laws behind this?

    Are the tenants legally entitled to anything after refusing temporary heaters whilst we installed the new system.

    I feel 6 weeks free rent, plus allowing them to have used the house anyway throughout that period and significantly improving the house for them is more than fair. They could have stayed in the house with the heaters but refused (as the went on holiday). They did not move back in when the heating was finished as they were on holiday again.

    We are well aware the tenant is trying to get out of the contract and communication has been full of bullying leading 'you will do this or else..' type events. And is saying we will be fined etc


    Its actual legal fact and entitlements im after advice with if possible, and to be a pain, the actual law and section etc.


    Any help appreciated.

    #2
    You have all my sympathy. Issue a section 21 tomorrow, make sure you've got it right. The dates are very important. Did they have a deposit and did you protect it and give them the required info?

    Write to them, not email or text, and ask them to reply to you in writing. Tell them that you are very sorry they are not happy with your (list your efforts so far and the T's response). Ask them to put in WRITING their complaints and their objections to your efforts to rectify the problems.

    Don't worry. There are very knowledgeable people on here who will give you advice very soon.

    Comment


      #3
      PS the last T that tried this on I said 'Upphur chittur' (Hindi 'up your bum'). They left.

      Comment


        #4
        Protection from harassment Act 1997 see..
        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...land-and-wales
        1 Prohibition of harassment.
        (1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct—
        .(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and
        .(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.
        (2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.
        Harassment btw is a CRIMINAL act (ie can get someone a free holiday in Wormwood scrubs.. )

        Suggest you ensure you have EVIDENCE (eg copies of letters, emails etc..) and a log of all harassment from tenant or "tenant's agent" (the relo..). Document it all..

        I think you need specialist advice, but don't know any solicitors dealing in such matters...

        In your shoes I would write (yes WRITE - keep copy) a calm polite letter to tenant outlining your view on their actions and requesting they deal with you in a normal business-like manner. See what happens (Others may well disagree with this suggestion..).

        Agree with serving S21. Ensure you have cast-iron action plan documenting all of tenant's complaints and what you have/will do about them. Expect a disrepair claim & quite possibly a counter-claim for harassment from tenant.

        Also in your shoes I would only act on or respond to communication from tenant: Tenant's relative is not a party to the contract: ask them politely (if possible in writing) to have the issue raised by the tenant in writing: Expect relo to write the letter, albeit signed by tenant.

        Such behaviour is inappropriate from a tenant, an agent or a landlord..

        For everything else you need a solicitor SPECIALISING in landlord/tenant matters: not surprised agent's legal chaps not brilliant. You are the landlord, you are at risk, engage your own legal advisers....

        Best regards
        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 lander
          Earlier this year, they moved a tenant in, the fire had just failed its gas cert but the agents engineer said all would be fixed. The tenant moved in on the understanding the heating was not working, signed tenancy.
          It is a criminal offence not to be able to give the tenants a Gas Safety Certificate, before they move in, and if that was the case, you might want to report the agent to their head-office. I'm not suggesting there wasn't one but seeds of doubt have been sowed in my mind.
          The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

          Comment


            #6
            thanks for the responses so far.

            the house is fully managed by the agent, i have very little involvement.

            the certificates were in place before moving in. the fire was capped and made safe, it was mechanical problem, not a safety issue.

            My main query is to whether i legally fulfilled my duities as a landlord by:

            immediately offering electric heaters (which were refused by the client)
            immediately offering free rent until the brand new system was installed to cover any inconvienience
            all work was given immediate go ahead to be completed asap at my expense.

            Comment


              #7
              Liability for heating

              Hi all,

              Just a quick question if anyone can help?

              If i offered my tenant immediate temporary electric, but very effective, heaters whilst the current gas heating system was being repaired at big expense to me, have i fulfilled my obligation as a landlord?

              Also, if they refuse the electric heaters, am I to blame in any way.

              The tenant refused he heaters, and also my offer to let them live rent free during this period.


              Am I legally to blame in anyway? The tenant is threatening legal action for breach of contract?? Theres nothing more I couldve done.

              Comment


                #8
                Ask him what he would have done if the house was his own.

                I think you have been more than reasonable.
                To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

                Comment


                  #9
                  How long has the heating been broken?? Is there separate hot water for bathing/showering??

                  (ie if we are talking 2 days then I'd say you are OK, if 3 months then what are you doing??).

                  That repairs are very expensive for you is your problem, not tenants, all part of the fun of and to be expected being a landlord.

                  Certainly offering alternative heating is very wise: Hope you made it in writing/email (if not do so.. to cover yourself..)
                  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


                    #10
                    Two related threads have been merged.
                    I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                    Comment


                      #11
                      just to clarify, this was heating only. Hot water etc was fine.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I agree entirely with post 4.

                        However, although it would be a difficult bullet to bite, have you spoken with tenant / agent about letting them go? You can hold them to their contract - that's your right - but do you really want to spend the rest of the year dealing with whatever they throw at you? Get people in who will be grateful to live there & pay rent reliably without causing you trouble.

                        You will need to be careful of agency costs in this situation - don't make any unilateral offers or you might be clobbered by agency fees for a tenancy that no longer exists.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Your priority here is to get the bad tenant out of the property (and re-let it a.s.a.p.) - the arguments over the heating arrangements are the least of your worries, and any claim you have against the tenant may not even be worth it if they have no assets.

                          If you can get the tenant to agree to move out on the basis you will not pursue them for any losses you have incurred, this will be quicker than a s.21 notice (but serve one anyway, perhaps first then offer the deal) - i.e. the tenant leaves voluntarily.

                          If they agree, make sure your agent checks them out of the property.

                          Sounds unfair on you the LL but if T digs his heels in, even with a s.21 notice it could be a long haul getting them evicted by court order, especially if there are issues relating to a valid gas safety certificate.

                          Comment

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