Tenant not paying

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    Tenant not paying

    Good afternoon,

    I'm new to this website so apologies if this should be posted elsewhere.

    We have a flat rented out via an Estate Agents. We are fairly new landlords within the last 2 years so on a learning curve. We paid the estate agents a finding fee and then a management fee etc.

    The current tenants moved in approx 7 months ago. They paid a deposit and rent etc in advance which the agents put in the bond etc.

    Since the tenants have moved in there has been repeated delays in paying rent on time. Pretty much most months by a few days. Prior to them moving in credit checks were taken and references by the agents and we was assured all was good.

    The excuses of late payments has apparently because they are now self employed and they have been waiting on payments themselves coming in. Each month, grace has been given however last month they did not pay the rent. We was assured it would be paid this month. I.e. Yesterday in addition to the second month now due. This was feed through the agent on to us. We have not had any direct communication with them our selves.

    The agents reported that they (the agents) issued a 'notice to quit' (?) 2 weeks ago giving 2 months notice 'to scare them' and also to start the proceedings should things go further.

    We spoke to the agents again today after not receiving any payment. They in hand spoke to the tenants who advised now that they have been served notice, they are not thanks paying anything. That they will see us in court. This is their exact words.

    They also apparently complained there is an issue with the toilet flusher that needs'urgently repairing' and demanded we get someone out to fix it today '. The flat was newly refurbished throughout before we rented it out.
    My thinking was straight away not to get this repair fixed but the agent has said that we are by law required to fix the issue however we can drag it out given that their attitude? What's your advice on this?

    The agent has told me that I need to wait till the 2 months noice expires, I then have to apply for a court hearing, obtain a possession order before instructing bailiffs and the whole process could take another few months???

    Obviously as it currently stands we are now two months short with several months more rent short to come. It's absolutely devastating before Xmas as we have a small family and rely on this extra income.

    I have been doing a bit of research myself online and from my understanding it looks like grounds 8 and 11 can be issued under a section 8 notice thus giving 2 weeks notice before we can apply for a court date. What I can't seem to find out is whether we can still do this if the other 2 months notice has been served or do we have to stick on that route. I.e. Wait for the 2 months to expire?
    Also does anyone know how long from the time of application to the courts how long realistically the whole process will take?

    For your information we don't live in the property. We also pay all the utilities. This is included within the rent so we have those to fork out in addition. The property is in the borough of Ealing.

    This is the first anything like this has happened to us so I would be grateful for as much information as possible. We just want to get them out as soon as possible so we can recoup some of the losses.

    Many thanks in advance

    You can serve two different notices in parallel.
    The section 8 process is quicker and you can also include a claim for the rent owed.
    However, the notice can be defended, particularly if they are able to show that the property is in any disrepair, which the toilet would support.

    Courts don't like to make people homeless when all they have done is owed some money - it's seen as disproportionate, so they'll essentially not do it if they can avoid it (cynical and biased view).
    s21 notices can't be defended (other than on procedural grounds), so if you do everything by the book, it's a more certain process.

    You do have to repair anything while they are tenants that you would otherwise do, even if this doesn't seem fair.

    The process, either way, will take some months to conclude and will be fairly stressful, as you will have to appear in court to repossess, either route - the agent can't do that for you (although you could pay a solicitor to do it).

    You might want to point out the to the tenants that if you do go to court, that will cost them even more money and, if they don't pay, they might end up bankrupt, which is no laughing matter.

    How you came to rent a property with the utility bills included is a separate issue and I'd suggest you never do that again.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      When you let to these tenants you should have asked to see the references and maybe even double checked them yourself. Seems strange that they have now both gone self employed - a big no-no to inexperienced landlords.

      Toilet flushers do break down often I find but there is not law that says you have to fix this today - up to a week is fine.

      No doubt the tenants a fed up that you want to evict - but why not they have changed jobs and are not paying the rent.

      Section 8 is frought with hang ups if there is disrepair at the property. S21 will be more sure to get you possession as long as deposit protected and other new measures were taken at outset of tenancy.

      I would maybe go and have a relaxed, non threatening conversation with he tenants without the agent to try and come to an arrangement. Being evicted via S21 will not aid their cause in getting another property to live in.

      Freedom at the point of zero............


        of course you need to fix a toilet promptly if it's the only toilet in the place - if there is more than one you can take longer. Also unless they have said what the problem is it could be flushing constantly, that might increase your water bill.

        Never include utilities in rent, your tenants could cost you a fortune. If your agent suggested this then consider employing a different agent when these tenants are out.

        The agent needs to point out to your tenants the disadvantages of having a court judgement against them.


          ask your agents to assure them that the toilet will be fixed as soon as you can get a plumber round, but in the interim period a bucket of water could be used.

          I think the toilet 'flush' is an interesting one, the toilet still works and functions as toilet, it just doesn't flush using the cistern, so technically the toilet can still be used as a toilet and youre in no immediate rush to have it fixed (which I woudnt tell them of course)

          if you have more than one toilet, then the delay can be even longer as its not an emergency

          I also think its a good time to get an inspection undertaken, if the agents can get in on the pretext of accompanying the plumber if necessary ?? photos etc or perhaps even better, a video cam worn by the agent (though I am not sure on the validity of that?)

          AND NO MORE 'ALL BILLS INCLUDED' if you continue as a landlord


            Serve s8 g10 & 11 TODAY!! They just might take the hint & start paying on time. S21 when valid.

            Any time rent is short or late (even only 1p short for 1 day) serve another s8 g10&11.

            No more bills included.

            Suggest you do a course on how to be a landlord - NLA, RLA run them. Save you more time & money by doing it than they cost.
            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...


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