how do I deal with this awkward tenant?

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  • how do I deal with this awkward tenant?

    I need to refurbish a flat I own in London. The tenant is protected under the 1977 rent act and has consistently denied me access to the property for the last couple of years. He has been there about 33 years now and lives on his own in a large two bedroomed flat. He is not a particularly bad tenant, he pays his rent every month, more or less on time. He is reasonably clean.
    The main problem is that he has chosen to live in just one room of the flat and has allowed the other rooms to deteriorate to such an extent that they cannot be considered fit to occupy. The Kitchen and Bathroom have not been updated for abouty 40 years and really need to be modernised, not to mention the electrics. There is no gas in the property, I am glad to say, so at least I do not have to worry about a gas cert.
    I asked to do the work a year ago and he put me off for six months, then I spoke to him again in December '06 and he said I would have to wait until June when it would be warmer. Yesterday when I tried to make arrangements with him he said he was not going to allow me entry and that he had 'taken advice' that he did not have to. Over the past ten years I have had new double glazing fitted, repaired the roof when required, fitted a new hotwater system and some minor repairs, my reward for this from the Rent Tribunal is to be getting 100GBP less per month than I had 4 years ago.
    Has anyone got some advice for me, I am reluctant to serve him a notice of eviction, but I am worried that he may come to some harm due to the condition of the property and that I will end up in court accused of negligence.
    (Actually I would love to be rid of him but I do not think I have much chance)
    Help, what do I do?
    I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

  • #2
    Perhaps, the council can intervene and declare the property uninhabitable. And you won't have to pay council tax if it is unfit for habitation. In any case, if you think there is a danger to the tenant, you should put something on record with the powers to be that you have tried.
    ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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    • #3
      Thanks Paragon.
      I am reluctant to get the Council involved at this stage, the tenant has not complained to them and the last thing I want is to be served with a repair notice. I agree however that I should have it recorded somewhere that I am trying to do something about it. The trouble is I have a crew lined up to do the work in double quick time and now he is frustrating my attempt to make his home better for him to live in. By the way, he is quite elderly now, drinks like a fish, and is very cantankerous, I do not want to even be accused of harassing him.
      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jta View Post
        Thanks Paragon.
        I am reluctant to get the Council involved at this stage, the tenant has not complained to them and the last thing I want is to be served with a repair notice. I agree however that I should have it recorded somewhere that I am trying to do something about it. The trouble is I have a crew lined up to do the work in double quick time and now he is frustrating my attempt to make his home better for him to live in. By the way, he is quite elderly now, drinks like a fish, and is very cantankerous, I do not want to even be accused of harassing him.
        But surely a Repair Notice would be ideal? You could then legally force T to give access to your workmen.
        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).

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        • #5
          Thank you Jeffrey, I am sure you are right. I just did not want to go down the road of confrontation with him, but I suppose I will have to.
          I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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          • #6
            One way of looking at this is the fact that the tenant is elderly - he may have to be taken into care at some stage, or he may simply decease - at which point your case is resolved without the need for confrontation.

            For the present time, I would be in contact with the council's environmental health department and reassure them that you want to do repairs and improvements but are being refused access - that will stop the council getting on your back. If the council do decide to serve a notice on you and you fail to do the work because you cannot get access, then the council have the power to do the work on your behalf - so the problem then becomes theirs instead of yours.

            I had this sort of problem some 33 years ago with one of my old regulated tenants - I simply refused to do repairs (the rent was an old controlled rent of £1.62 a week!!!!) - I tried everything to get the tenants to agree improvements beforehand even offering to move them at the same rent into one of my recently improved properties, but they did not want to pay more rent when they moved back into the original property. So a stalemate existed for a couple of years and then all controlled props were converted into regulateds which upped the rent quite considerably to about £7 a week - eventually 4 years later, the couple died and went into a home respectively and the house became vacant at which point it was completely renovated.

            When you apply for rent registrations on this property - put a rider on the application that the current state of the premises is not your fault and that you are being refused access for repairs and improvements and ask that the rent officer fixes a rent consistent with premises in a proper state without tenant derilictions and in line with other properties in the area.

            If you go to https://ebusiness.therentservice.gov...r/default.aspx you can look up any registered rent in the country.

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            • #7
              Thank you djb. I have now contacted the local authorities to assist me.
              I have also sent the T a letter pointing out it is my Duty and my Right to maintain my own property regardless of what he wants and given him seven days to respond, I do not expect him to, after the expiry of the deadline I intend to state the property is no longer fit for his use and try to get an eviction order based on that and his refusals.

              ???? If I manage to get it declared unfit in it's present condition does he have to leave immediately, or do I still have to give him notice? and/or get a court order?
              I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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              • #8
                i hope your attempts to get the flat properly maintained were recorded.

                otherwise it's your word against his.

                could look like a case of a dodgy landlord lettign things get dire!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can't believe it's been five years since I posted this, my very first thread on LLZ.

                  Things are finally coming to a head, it seems the tenant became ill and had to be removed to hospital, somebody went in there and decided to report me to the council, the result now is that I have a notice that the local officer is going to do an inspection tomorrow and I expect a repairs notice sometime next week.

                  I am able to put the tenant into a room in another property although that would take a month or so because I will have to send a lodger packing first.

                  If the tenant refuses to accept the offer of a room while the repairs are being done, (I expect him to) am I going to be responsible for his expenses?

                  I have this original thread printed out in case I have to justify myself in court, I still have not been able to do an inspection in the property.

                  What happens if the flat is declared uninhabitable?

                  I want rid of him, how long can I reasonably spin it out.

                  If I make arrangements to travel back to UK to do repairs by agreement and then he refuses me access, what happens then? Can I claim the expenses from him.
                  I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                  • #10
                    I'm sorry I don't know the answers to your questions jta but good luck, anyway. It will be interesting to see what you find when you finally gain access, especially if he had not been heating his unoccupied rooms.

                    I fear you won't be able to claim travelling expenses, except perhaps against tax?Not sure about that.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                    • #11
                      Thanks MTG, I think you're right.

                      Incidentally I got caught by your virus this morning but it doesn't seem to have caused a problem except to copy my address list and send out a load of useless emails.
                      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jta View Post
                        Thanks MTG, I think you're right.

                        Incidentally I got caught by your virus this morning but it doesn't seem to have caused a problem except to copy my address list and send out a load of useless emails.
                        I'm really sorry. It's a total pain. I tried to contact hotmail a week ago; they ignored that, but suddenly took it upon themselves to freeze my account this morning, saying they had rid it of the virus and promising to send a code via text message so I could unfreeze it. I'm still waiting...(in Diana Ross contralto)
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jta View Post
                          I can't believe it's been five years since I posted this, my very first thread on LLZ.

                          Things are finally coming to a head, it seems the tenant became ill and had to be removed to hospital, somebody went in there and decided to report me to the council, the result now is that I have a notice that the local officer is going to do an inspection tomorrow and I expect a repairs notice sometime next week.

                          I am able to put the tenant into a room in another property although that would take a month or so because I will have to send a lodger packing first.

                          If the tenant refuses to accept the offer of a room while the repairs are being done, (I expect him to) am I going to be responsible for his expenses?

                          I have this original thread printed out in case I have to justify myself in court, I still have not been able to do an inspection in the property.

                          What happens if the flat is declared uninhabitable?

                          I want rid of him, how long can I reasonably spin it out.

                          If I make arrangements to travel back to UK to do repairs by agreement and then he refuses me access, what happens then? Can I claim the expenses from him.
                          As I'm a fellow Regulated Tenant myself..............1977 Rent act,as amended..

                          The only way you can get rid of him legally is by getting a valid possession order,from what you posted you would have No grounds for possession order under 1977 Rent act..

                          Any court case by LL is going to be highly expense in case of a RT..

                          Can I ask,Are you the originally landlord ?

                          The tenant does not have to accept your offer at all in another property and you cannot send the lodger packing,especially if they are related.

                          Council wont declared uninhabitable,they will issue enforcement orders against LL...

                          If the tenant refuse you access,im sorry there not much you can do about it,accept to reason with him !
                          Thunderbirds are go

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                            you cannot send the lodger packing,especially if they are related.
                            That must depend on whose lodger it is (45002 seems to assume the lodger is connected to the RT, but that's not the way I read it - jta is talking of putting the RT in a different property in order to complete the renovation). But yes, in principle, jta can require a lodger to leave (in a way that he cannot require a RT to leave).

                            An impasse seems to be opening up here; jta is keen to complete the necessary work on the property; the EH want him to; the T refuses acccess.

                            It makes you wonder how the EHO expects him to fulfil his statutory obligation in this case - will they require the T to allow access, or what? If it is/becomes life-threateningly urgent (e.g.wiring becomes patently unsafe), what then?
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                            • #15
                              Instead of printing out this thread, why don't you refer them to the letters you sent them 5 years ago?
                              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

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