Benefit fraud!

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    Benefit fraud!

    Hello to you all,

    I'm new here, and I came across this forum via Google.

    I'm in a bit of a pickle and hoping that someone here can provide a little guidance.

    My story is rather long but I'll keep it as short as I can.

    In May 2016, my partner and I viewed a 2 bedroom property and put in an offer which was accepted.

    Within 3 weeks we pretty much had the mortgage approved thanks to our awesome broker, and our solicitor was ready and raring to go.

    We were told the landlord is serious about selling and needs the money. The agents did however mention one very crucial thing; the property is under tenancy and they will need to serve a two months notice (section 21).

    We thought nothing of it although did find it strange when the agent mentioned that the tenant is never around. There's no electricity in the property!

    So a month goes by and we approach mid June. I called the agents to see how things were progressing and they told me all was well, and we're on track to complete in August when the section 21 expires.

    However, the agent made me aware that the tenant had already vacated. So I asked why could we not complete now and she explained the obvious reasons why.

    So August arrives and section 21 expires so I called all excited asking for an update.

    The agents tell me we cannot do anything as the tenant, although vacated weeks ago, has left behind a few possessions.

    The landlord has two options, he either changes the lock and puts up an abandonment notice on the door for a period of 14 days, or he goes to court and applies for an accelerated eviction order.

    He decided to do both, despite us raising concerns of burglary and squatters.

    14 days have passed and the tenant is nowhere to be seen. They cannot reach him via phone or email.

    The agents have submitted the application form for the accelerated eviction order and we must now wait to hear back from the court.

    I understand that the court will write to the tenant (but he cannot access the property as the locks have changed) and if they do not hear back from him then the court will authorise the eviction.

    The agents have told me that they think the property is staged, he has been a tenant for the past 8 years but has not been living in the property for the last 18 months. He has a friend pop in once every week to collect his letters. There's wardrobes full of clothes, cheap computer, sofa, bed, bathroom toiletries, kitchen items etc. However, the fridge is empty and there's nothing in the house which could rot or smell.

    They think he's gone back to his country and is committed benefit fraud.

    He has always paid his rent on time except last month's rent which he failed to pay. Clearly he's read his emails and he is aware of what's going on.

    It is my opinion that the tenant will not return for his belongings, he probably has no intention to come back to the UK, and it would probably cost him more money to clear out his belongings than its actually worth.

    The agents tell me that the courts should come to a decision quite quickly especially as the tenant is nowhere to be found and that the section 21 has already been served and expired. On top of that he has also failed to pay the final month's rent.

    I have never been in this situation before and therefore have no idea how long such a case can take.

    Can someone with some experience in these matters please provide some advice?

    I have the dreaded feeling that this could take months and we're just wasting our time.

    We will begin looking at other properties and if we find something else then we will abandon this one and these horrid shady agents. More than anything else, it's the agents I'm pissed off with with their shoddy dealing of this whole purchase.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed some light on this.

    #2
    It will likely take months.

    If there is suspect benefit fraud then 'tis the duty of all citizens to alert the authorities - simply google report benefit fraud then fill in government's form....

    Or the agent could be up to no good..
    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


      #3
      Thanks artful, I will definitely be doing that, I'm sick and tired of people stealing our taxes but angry at this government for making it so easy for people to do so.

      The agents definitely want to sell otherwise they won't make their commission, or am I being naive?

      I was hoping you'd say it could take weeks but I guess I am being naive!

      Thanks again.

      Comment


        #4
        Even if he was legit an s21 doesn't end tenancy nor require him to leave, and just getting that through court with perfect paperwork would probably have been a couple of months... then he could ask for more time....
        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
          But the tenant is not in the country and has not been for the last 18 months. Surely if he's not here to defend his case then the court can't fight his case for him?

          Comment


            #6
            If an application has already gone into Court, it might be fairly quick - the court will write to the tenant to see if he wants to file a defense, if he doesn't the court will issue the order very quickly. In that case, surely you could exchange and complete on the same day - rather than exchange and wait a month until completion. You will have gained some of the time back.

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Mapton, thanks for taking the time to reply.

              That's exactly what I'm hoping for and what the agents are saying. The best outcome would have been if the tenant came forward and dropped off the old keys.

              But the agents are saying no news from the tenant is good news. They seem to think there should be some movement in the next 10 days so I'll remain hopeful.

              Do you guys think it would be possible for the vendor to sell me the house and I agree to deal with and pay the court fees to have the tenant evicted? I don't care if it then takes me 4 or 5 months to get him evicted as long as I can exchange and complete now.

              I'm sure my solicitor wouldn't be happy with this but I will seek her advice tomorrow. Not sure if that's even legally allowed!

              Cheers

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Proudarse View Post
                Do you guys think it would be possible for the vendor to sell me the house and I agree to deal with and pay the court fees to have the tenant evicted?
                Is the mortgage that has been approved for you a "Buy to Let" mortgage?
                Last edited by Mrs Mug; 23-08-2016, 07:35 AM. Reason: Typo.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I note that you have changed the locks? Please be careful, if your tenant is as shady as he seems, a potential claim for illegal eviction could follow.

                  As a buyer, it is essential that your solicitor makes sure you have vacant possession and the only way for that to happen is for the owner to go through the legal channels. It should take about 6 weeks from expiry of s21 to a possession date

                  It is possible for you to buy tenanted and deal with the problems so long as you have a BTL mortgage, but there could be a pandora's box of problems to be dealt with if the previous landlord hasn't been on top of his game.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    If this purchase is being backed by a mortgage, the lender won't allow a sale to go through without this sorted. The solicitor is working on behalf of the lender as well as you and he has a duty to protect their risk.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi All,

                      Many thanks for all your replies and I apologise I haven't responded as I have been very busy getting married, and settling in. Still deciding if I should keep the wife or find a new one!

                      Anyway, I have some good news; the court decided in favour of the vendor as they too were unable to get in touch with the missing tenant. So the agents cleared out the property last night and we exchanged contracts this morning with a completion date of next week Monday! Yay, high five!

                      Now, as happy as I may be, I have also become more impatient than I was before! Monday just cannot come quick enough. Every hour that passes feels like a day and I am wishing my life away.

                      My solicitor called me and reassured me that we are both now tied into a legally binding contract and the likelihood of the vendor pulling out will be extremely low.

                      Is this true? What if the vendor does decide to pull out before completion? Where would that leave me?

                      I know I shouldn't be so negative and be more patient, but I think house buying is one of the most stressful tasks I have ever undertaken, and this is coming from a man whose just got married!

                      Cheers

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Even if vendor has bee granted a Court Repo Order as of <date>, he still needs to appoint Court Bailiffs to effect legal eviction/repo. This could take 6-8 weeks and vendor/buyer can withdraw from sale foc.

                        Wives/spouses are normally subject to lifetime Contracts.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hi Mariner,

                          Interesting that you mentioned bailiffs because when I spoke to the agents last week they told me that although they had received a letter from the court to say that the property is to be handed back to vendor, the agent mentioned they would need to have in place a bailiff. Either court provided which could take 6-8 weeks for £150 or a private bailiff within a couple of days but pay £1000.

                          The landlord went the private route and sent money to the agents for preparation.

                          The agent told me they would pop around to see the property, and if there's no sign of trouble, they would give us the go ahead to exchange.

                          Luckily, and not surprisingly, there was no trouble and no need for bailiffs so we were given the go ahead to exchange which we have done.

                          The property has been cleared out except the white goods which belong to the landlord and that we agreed to keep as part of the purchase.

                          My solicitor and the agent have confirmed that we have definitely exchanged and now tied into a legally binding contract.

                          I spoke to the agent this morning and she told me that the vendor is just as much keen on selling as I am buying as he too had gone through a lot of trouble to get to this stage.

                          I just hope he doesn't pull out as I heard it's more troublesome for the buyer to pull out than it is for the vendor.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Sounds promising: You've been lucky they went, they didn't need to!
                            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

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