My tenant is unlawfully sub-letting

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  • My tenant is unlawfully sub-letting

    Here's one for you all.

    A friend of mind rents a few flats in the local area, we have allways had a bit of banter about her letting methods as Ive always felt she was far to soft, anyway, I hate to say I told you so but ......

    She recently let her 2 bedroom flat to a chineese man and his wife, she took details for references but stupidly never followed them up. This weekend she had a phone call to say that the man would pay the money into her account for the second months rent. She said, however, that she would come round and collect the money personally, he made some excuses which made her suspicious, so she went anyway. She was let into the flat by a Pregnant English girl who said that she was paying £100 per week to said chineese tenant. She also said that a chineese woman and child were living in the room next door (not the partner of the chineese man). So obviously he is pulling a scam, but she does not know if the man is actually living in the flat.

    So what does she do, she has not recieved the 2nd months rent, but its only 2 days overdue.

    - My immediate advise was to tell the pregant woman not to pay him a penny but also not to accept any money off her as this may create a AST with the young woman.

    - I told here not to enter the flat again.

    - I belive she should issue a Section 21 straight away as this may be relied on later is it goes on that long.

    - It sounds that she is suspicious that the woman and baby are illegal entrants into the country, so as a side issue, inform the police of this.

    - Begin Eviction using a section 8, grounds 12 and 14?

    Many thanks for all your thoughts.

  • #2
    Anyone help please?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dazalock
      Here's one for you all.


      - My immediate advise was to tell the pregant woman not to pay him a penny but also not to accept any money off her as this may create a AST with the young woman.

      Yes, absolutely. But she should also ask the pregnant woman to leave....she has no right to be there. To be fair, it isn't her fault, so give her some time.

      - I told here not to enter the flat again.

      Good GOD no!! She mustnt enter the flat!

      - I belive she should issue a Section 21 straight away as this may be relied on later is it goes on that long.

      Again, yes definitely....must cover her back in case it does last that long.

      - It sounds that she is suspicious that the woman and baby are illegal entrants into the country, so as a side issue, inform the police of this.

      Unless she has a genuinely good reason to think this, I wouldnt inform the police...merely being suspicious of them being illegal immigrants because they are chinese is not enough, and if they arent, she could, in theory, be sued for wrongful arrest, unless she is very very careful about what exactly she says to the police.

      - Begin Eviction using a section 8, grounds 12 and 14?

      Don't really know this area personally, but currently she would have to begin evicition on grounds of the terms in the lease being broken, not rent arrears. Unsure which grounds these are!


      Many thanks for all your thoughts.

      If they are new to the country, it is entirely possible that they genuinely are not aware that they are not allowed to do this! I realise this is a long shot, but it is possible! My first course of action I personally would suggest is a letter sent to them informing them they are breaching the tenancy and telling them to stop doing so immediately. However, even if they do stop doing so, I would still get rid of them after the 6 month term, so would still serve the S21.

      Other than that, I would say generally good advice by you dazalock.
      Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry! This situation is more complicated than it appears and I don;t even want to go into it that much.

        The pregnant woman could easily claim tenancy rights as you don;t know the whereabouts of the "tenants". They could claim not to have understoof the tenancy agreement as English is obviously not their first language.

        The owner is in a bit of a mess to say the least! I would resort to the legal profession PDQ!
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by Paul_f
          The pregnant woman could easily claim tenancy rights as you don;t know the whereabouts of the "tenants".
          Really???? But wouldnt she have been granted these tenancy rights by an unauthorised person?? Scary! lol. Legal advice sounds very prudent.
          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

          Comment


          • #6
            Contact Landlord Action, click on the link on this page, this very situation was covered recently and sorted by them on the TV programme 'War at the Door'.

            Comment


            • #7
              Judging by what I have read there, they simply issued a Section 8, and the sublet tenants did not seem to have any tenancy rights.
              Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for all your comments so far. I agree a letter to the tenant may be the best first step. Ive penned a letter for her, what do you think?

                Mr Shed, sorry, dont agree with your point on police intervention, I cant see why informing them of your suspicion is wrongful arrest, thats their decision if they want to take the situation further, and it may just go some way to making the tenant think the LL is serious.

                Again, thanks for all your comments so far and please feel free to chuck any other thoughts my way.

                I have to say, this is typical of a LL who doesnt conduct the proper checks at the start of the tenancy

                Dear Mr ..........

                I refer to the tenancy agreement dated ………….. in relation to your tenancy of ………………………………………..

                During my recent visit I was surprised to find that you have breeched some of the terms of the tenancy agreement and therefore I could proceed to evict yourself and others currently living in the property. The details of my concerns are:

                · The afore mentioned agreement signed by all parties clearly states in section 3.1 (8) “Not to assign or sublet or part with or share possession of the Property or any part thereof nor allow the Property to be occupied by more than the maximum number of permitted persons.”

                · You have, in one bedroom a lady and a child in situ who are not recognised on the tenancy agreement.

                · You have sublet the other bedroom to a young pregnant lady called Rebecca, she has confirmed that she is currently paying you £100 per week to live in the flat and therefore you are again in breech of the tenancy agreement.

                · You are currently in arrears of your rent.

                I am now seeking legal advice on the situation and will be proceeding as follows:

                · You will, immediately, have all occupants who are not detailed on the tenancy agreement leave the property. You will refund any money paid to you from these individuals and ensure they are re-homed in adequate accommodation.

                · You will ensure that any rent owed to me is paid forthwith and all future payments are made on time.

                · You will carry out the above tasks by Wednesday 17th August 2005, whereby you will give me access to the flat so that I can be confident that you conforming to the terms of the agreement.

                · Should you not carry out the above tasks I shall issue a Section 8 notice informing you that I intend to proceed to court to evict you from the premises namely, breach of tenancy agreement (Ground 12 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988) and nuisance or criminal conduct (Ground 14 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988).

                I hope we may resolve this situation in an amicable way and you continue to enjoy the flat, however, please be assured that unless the agreement is strictly adhered to, I will proceed to court without further hesitation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dazalock
                  Mr Shed, sorry, dont agree with your point on police intervention, I cant see why informing them of your suspicion is wrongful arrest, thats their decision if they want to take the situation further, and it may just go some way to making the tenant think the LL is serious.
                  You are possibly/probably right, but its a dangerous game. I personally, if she has no evidence other than the couple are chinese, would take such a referral to the police as racist. Now I have no doubt that is not what is intended, but it certainly comes across as that, or very stereotypical at the very least. And its got nothing to do with her tenancy. I do believe they would have grounds to at least look into suing for wrongful arrest, if not actually a successful claim. They quite possibly wouldnt, but just seems a bit vindictive when it doesnt actually have an awful lot to do with the LL.Bear in mind this is PURELY my opinion!

                  As for the letter, it seems fine to me. Would still advise her to seek legal advice.
                  Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would agree with Mr Shed on the "illegal immigrants" issue. Nobody appears to have any reason to suspect this other than the race of the occupant. I think it highly unlikely that the police would take any action anyway, but I have little doubt that a court would view this as an attempt to harrass the occupier. You have read enough on this site about what a bad idea that is.

                    In fact there does not seem to be any other reason for doing it. Even if she is an illegal immigrant it won't make any difference to the landlords position in law so what motivation could there be other than to harrass?

                    If there is some hard evidence then that should be brought to the attention of the police, but frankly there is none.
                    NOTE: Steven Palmer BSc (Hons) MRICS MBEng is an official LandlordZONE Topic Expert and a Director of Davisons Palmer Lim Any advice given by Steven in this Forum is of a general nature only and should not be acted upon without first obtaining advice specific to your problem/situation from a professional.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks Steve....you explained it more eloquantly than I can apparently manage today!

                      I just do not see the point.....for the amount of pressure it would exert on the tenants(very little probably as you have no address for them....they are not in the rented property!), it is not worth the risk of all kinds of possible litigious responses, even if this risk is fairly slim. The LL will gain NOTHING by it, except to make the tenants life awkward, which is basically the definition of harrassment.

                      That said, if the LL actually has some genuine evidence to believe they ARE illegal immigrants, then she shouldnt hesitate to contact the police. But so far, the two pieces of "evidence" shes seems to have(or at least the two reasons why she would) is that a) they are chinese and b) they are causing her problems.
                      Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Understood, thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As a point of interest, notifying the Police that you suspect a tenant, whether authorised or not, to be an ilegal immigrant is a waste of time; they have better things to do and will only pass it on to the immigration authorities who actually deal with these matters.

                          Better to contact the local immigration office yourself (there's one at all airports, seaports etc) You won't be prosecuted for false arrest if they turn out to be legal - you have no power of arrest - nor will you be looked upon as a racist (well, not by the immigration office anyway) unless you make a habit of phoning up about everyone you see with a different colour skin. If you have good enough reasons to warrant the call to them they will look into it and decide whether to make a visit. The fact that she is chinese is not enough reason.
                          My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dazalock
                            · You will, immediately, have all occupants who are not detailed on the tenancy agreement leave the property. You will refund any money paid to you from these individuals and ensure they are re-homed in adequate accommodation.

                            · You will ensure that any rent owed to me is paid forthwith and all future payments are made on time.

                            · You will carry out the above tasks by Wednesday 17th August 2005, whereby you will give me access to the flat so that I can be confident that you conforming to the terms of the agreement.
                            I know that as a landlord it must be a stressing situation but the tone of the letter seems a bit 'hard' to me (yes I know the guy is in breach... but still). I mean saying "you will" is giving an order, maybe saying "you should... or I will..." would trigger a better response.

                            And can you really force the guy to pay any money back and rehome these women ??

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Woah! Didnt notice that part of the letter! I do not advise that you put that in....it's got nothing to do with the LL. You can demand he removes them from the property, that is it, in my opinion.
                              Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                              Comment

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