Who do I evict if property has been sub-let without written permission?

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    Who do I evict if property has been sub-let without written permission?

    Hi all,
    I'm in a rather messy and unpleasant situation and really appreciate any thoughts you all have.

    I bought a flat at auction, and took on the sitting tenants. It was messy anyway (the existing landlord was rogue...had no gas certificates, inventory, claimed there was no deposit...which between the tenants and my solicitors we established was a lie and the 'advanced rent' aka deposit was transferred to me during the sale).

    Complexity is added as the 2 tenants named on the contract aren't living there - one never did (think he just gave name to get the tenancy checks), the other who is from South America and has some kind of sub-let scam going on I think, sub-let to a group of 7 (the maximum occupancy for the size according to my local authority HMO regulations is 4).

    There is nothing explicit that the sub-let was agree with the previous landlord in paperwork, they claim he knew (as he was collecting rent from the new tenant) but hadn't got around to a new contract.

    I'm in contact with one of the named tenants on contract (and have her new address) and have met with her several times, the other chap named on contract I have only spoken to briefly but have his contact number. I have regular contact with a 'lead tenant' who is the occupant.

    On the day I purchase the property I served the tenants a Section 21, and said they would need to agree a new tenancy with me before the expiration of Section 21. They said they wouldn't do this as wouldn't agree to reduce the occupancy to 4. So we both agreed they would leave. We later agreed an extension of a week for their new flat to be ready. All amicable and good until 2 weeks ago.

    They didn't move out at the end of Section 21 and when I've pushed them further on when and where they are going, plus outstanding rent, it was not forthcoming and I've been given a lot of hot air and delaying tactics, so I've now taken applied to court for Accelerated Possession. Now I may not get it (due to complexity of deposit, it wasn't insured on day I served notice but was a week later). So to cover this further I've also served a Section 8 last week, addressed to the 2 named tenants, the other new tenant and 'other occupants of the property' under several grounds of breaking tenancy (unpaid rent, persistent late rent, making alteration to property including installing electric shower without permission!, sub-letting without permission, and lying on tenancy regarding the person who never lived there....and harassing me...yes it's got unpleasant too.).

    It is a Housing Association (Local Authority housing) property. They've now gone to the Council housing office to raise a complaint about me (on unwarranted grounds), and Citizen's Advice, who've advised them to contact their MP (not sure why?) and also that the Accelerated Possession may not be valid as the 2 people named on it (tenants on contract) aren't living at the property. I've also asked for the names of the 7 tenants who actually live there, which they've so far refused to give me. they all claim to be from EU countries - but I have said I need evidence of their right to work in the UK or will approach Border Agency if this isn't supplied. I fully expect I will never find out who they all are in any case, as it's not in their interests for me to know this! As far as I know, they're all European people who are working, no children or vulnerable people.

    So in short, it's all a dog's dinner. They also speak little English and we usually have to speak through an intermediary translator . But....

    Does anyone know what grounds I precede on? Are the sub-letter in fact squatters (although I've accepted their rent, and when I became landlord I acknowledge them as resident tenants). Or if I get a possession order, it would be for me to get the flat back and any sub-letter occupants on it would be required to leave or face baillifs? As they agreed verbally they didn't want to stay at end of Section 21 (they didn't however 'give notice' in a written form), does this give me any other grounds for getting them to go? It is an AST, the fixed term ended July 2013 and is now a rolling contract with 1 month's notice their side.

    I've said to them all I would pursue the 2 named tenants on contract for any debts and legal costs.

    Any thoughts on how I need to move forward - and in fact who I should be evicting (if I don't have their names?!) and how to go about doing this?

    I have tried to be fair and reasonable, but as they've all lied to me now about a number of things and behaved aggressively and inappropriately towards me, the official and legal route is the one I need to proceed with.

    #2
    I suggest you use one of the firms advertised on this site experienced in removal of tenants to handle your situation. One of the pitfalls of buying at auction.

    Comment


      #3
      You evict through the courts your tenants (those who had a right to be there).

      First.

      Cheers!
      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


        #4
        If you have taken money from the "sub tenants" as rent then you will have given them tenancy rights too....and you seem to have done so knowing that the occupancy level breaches HMO regs.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your points. I'm going through the Accelerated Process now to evict those named on tenancy agreement.

          Yes I have accepted rent from sub-tenants, I made them aware they were breaching HMO legislation on Day 1 that I took over tenancy, which is when I served them the Section 21, and advised they needed to reduce the number of occupants by the date of the Section 21 notice should they wish to renew the contract - which they have failed to do.

          Is there then some law I've breached by doing this by accepting rent? (NB: the deposit belongs to the tenant named on the contract). I'm worried what my risks are and moving forward whether I should be pursuing something in addition to the Accelerated Process. I've had some advice that they are in fact squatters (don't think this is true) and I should take legal action against previous landlord. I'm not sure what the gain of this would be in any case.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ether_diva View Post
            .

            Yes I have accepted rent from sub-tenants, I made them aware they were breaching HMO legislation on Day 1 that I took over tenancy, which is when I served them the Section 21, and advised they needed to reduce the number of occupants by the date of the Section 21 notice should they wish to renew the contract - which they have failed to do.

            They are not squatters, you have accepted rent from them directly. That's a bit worrying for you because it also means that you have (illegally) ended the tenancy of the legitimate tenants.

            Is there then some law I've breached by doing this by accepting rent? (NB: the deposit belongs to the tenant named on the contract). I'm worried what my risks are and moving forward whether I should be pursuing something in addition to the Accelerated Process. I've had some advice that they are in fact squatters (don't think this is true) and I should take legal action against previous landlord. I'm not sure what the gain of this would be in any case.
            You are exposing yourself to a lot of problems, the S21 and S8 cannot be used for what you wish, they have very strict interpretations.

            Your 'Border Agency' idea might frighten them off though. Limit your involvement there to merely reporting it like the good little citizen you are.
            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

            Comment


              #7
              IMO on the day the auction sale transfer was concluded, you inherited previous LL;'s responsibiliaties under exiting AST. I do not believe you could have served valid s21 same day unless you had served s48 on orig Ts, re-protected any deposit and provided new PI.
              By accepting rent from unwanted sub Ts, you have effectivly grantedthem a new fixed term AST as your Ts,without legally terminating previous AST

              IMO Only a learned Judge can disassemble thisT car crasjh

              Comment

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