Landlord advising tenant to stop paying rent!?

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    Landlord advising tenant to stop paying rent!?

    This is a slightly unusual problem (for me anyhow)

    I have two tenants 3 months into a 12 month AST. The tenants are in the process of separating, the man has physically left the property, the woman remains.

    The woman has admitted she can't afford to stay and wants to end the tenancy. She tells me she'll be in arrears within 3 months. The man has stopped contributing financially, but he want's to maintain the tenancy (he claims he's looking for a reconciliation, but refuses to pay for a property he doesn't live in). The man does short term contract work and seems to roam the country staying for a few months at a time in temporary accommodation. (or to put it another way, he's hard to serve notices on!)

    The woman (who seems a lot more genuine than the man) can't cover the rent with her wages (this is true, I've seen her payslips) and is currently topping up with her savings to pay the rent. She claims (and I tend to believe her) that her ex-partner wants to keep the tenancy going for the full year to bankrupt her.

    The man still communicates with me (via phone and email) but refuses to pay and refuses to contemplate any negotiated early surrender (which is what the woman wants and I'm prepared to accept). It's also obvious that the man knows the system, and knows how hard it will be for me to pin him down to one place for long enough to serve any notices on him.

    To summarize, the tenant who's left wants to maintain the tenancy, but the tenant who's stayed wants to end the tenancy!

    I'm not sure what the best way to end this as cleanly as possible. I'm prepared to accept an early surrender, but don't believe I can do this unless the request comes from both tenants.

    I'm tempted to suggest that the woman simply abandons the property and lets me know so I can take possession - but I'm not sure how this would work if the absent tenant insists that the tenancy remains. The other option is to suggest that the woman simply stops paying her rent - that way as soon as two monthly payments are missed I can take action to remove her and with her co-operation I can get her out relatively quickly and before she actually becomes bankrupt.

    The woman has a permanent job and roots in the area, the partner continuously moves about. He knows damn well that she'll be one who ends up actually suffering when it comes to claiming money in the courts.

    I've seen the woman's finances, if the tenancy can be ended quickly (within 3/4 months) then she has enough money to pay her rent and remain solvent. If the tenancy drags on more than 4 or 5 months then she'll end up broke and I'll end up with unpaid rent.

    Suggestions please?

    #2
    I'd have thought that wife as one of the tenants could surrender the tenancy without her husband's input.

    Comment


      #3
      What a vile specimen her ex is!

      I doubt his plan of a reconciliation will work especially in playing a game like that.

      I agree with JKO but if the ex Discovers what's happening he may well contest it.

      I wouldn't worry about finding him to serve papers though. He hasn't given notice and his residential address is still your property 😉

      Comment


        #4
        Has she made a claim for housing benefit? She may well qualify which will at least help with the rent.

        Comment


          #5
          Don't shoot yourself in the foot by involving yourself in something that isn't your business.

          How much can she realistically pay? How much would arrears then be at the end of the 12 months?

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JK0 View Post
            I'd have thought that wife as one of the tenants could surrender the tenancy without her husband's input.
            Sorry should have explained better - i don't think they actually legal married, they're just a couple.

            I doubt his plan of a reconciliation will work especially in playing a game like that.
            I think he just claimed that so he didn't sound like such and ar5ehole when I spoke to him.

            if the ex Discovers what's happening he may well contest it.
            This is why her simply giving notice of early surrender isn't going to work.

            I wouldn't worry about finding him to serve papers though. He hasn't given notice and his residential address is still your property
            true. but with him now moving about the country it's still going to be a lot harder to get any money out of him - and I'm pretty sure he knows that!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
              Don't shoot yourself in the foot by involving yourself in something that isn't your business.

              How much can she realistically pay? How much would arrears then be at the end of the 12 months?
              The tenancy IS my business. I'm looking for the option that involves least loss (for me) and (preferably) least loss for her to.

              She can realistically pay half the rent. She's got enough savings to top that up to full rent for 2-3 months. So after 12 months she'd be a total of 3 months in debt and would have a CCJ that she couldn't pay.

              If she stops paying now (I can't believe I'm suggesting this) then I might be able to get her out in 3 months at which point I would have a vacant property and have a CCJ against someone who would still have money.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Wright76 View Post
                Has she made a claim for housing benefit? She may well qualify which will at least help with the rent.
                I understand that the housing benefit department has told her she should just move into a cheaper house (which is exactly what she wants to do anyway)

                Comment


                  #9
                  You don't go to court to surrender a tenancy. How is he going to contest it?

                  Married or not makes little difference, as long as they are both tenants.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                    You don't go to court to surrender a tenancy. How is he going to contest it?

                    Married or not makes little difference, as long as they are both tenants.
                    I understood that I can't agree to an early notice to quit, with just one of the people who've signed the tenancy? doesn't it have to be both? He's already made it quite clear (in writing (emails)) that despite his absence from the property he wants the tenancy to run it's full 12 month course.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I would ask her to find out if she qualifies for housing benefit.

                      There is an online calculator she can use.

                      If she qualifies and can stay afloat until the tenancy expires without you losing out then problem solved.

                      Alternatively, I would contact the private rent team at your civic centre and ask if abandonment can be assumed should she serve a surrender notice and empty the property.

                      If they are aware of the situation they will be unlikely to bring illegal eviction proceedings against you if the ex was to return.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I don't think that's constructive Or helpful advice from housing benefit and given that she's still under contract and CANT move then it's also pointless advice.

                        It's making me suspicious of her intentions as it seems odd advice for a government dept to give.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You could try to get clear evidence that he has moved out and does not intend to return.

                          If she then does the same, and you also get evidence, the tenancy will cease to be assured and since there won't be any resident you could just use the proviso for re-entry (which you agreement should include) and forfeit the tenancy. You might want to get legal advice on how tocdot all the i's and cross all the t's.

                          Otherwise, if you evict through s.8 you will probably have to go all the way to bailiffs.

                          Or she pays as much as she can but leaves no later than the end of the fixed term.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by GrumpyGit View Post
                            I understood that I can't agree to an early notice to quit, with just one of the people who've signed the tenancy? doesn't it have to be both? He's already made it quite clear (in writing (emails)) that despite his absence from the property he wants the tenancy to run it's full 12 month course.
                            'The tenant' is legally one entity. Notice from one is notice from the other. How many more ways do I have to spell it out to you?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                              'The tenant' is legally one entity. Notice from one is notice from the other. How many more ways do I have to spell it out to you?
                              No, surrender must be from all the joint-tenants.

                              Comment

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