Non paying tenant, locks changed and I didn't secure the deposit, help please!

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    Non paying tenant, locks changed and I didn't secure the deposit, help please!

    Hi, my first post and I'm a novice landlord really, hence not securing the deposit (which will not happen again).
    My original 6 month contract ended with my tenant around 6 months ago and it's just a month by month basis now.
    My tenant failed to pay their months rent 28 days ago on the 1st of the month.
    I tried contacting him after 3 days via text asking him to get in touch but got no reponse.
    I sent a late payment reminder after 5 days, then a second late payment reminder 10 days later, I called round twice to speak and help resolve the situation but all attempts have been ignored.
    I then discovered on this forum that having not secured the deposit I could not serve a section 21 unless I returned his deposit. So I sent him a letter saying if he agreed he could use his deposit to pay the arrears, that way I would not hold any deposit and could serve the section 21. Anyway this letter was also ignored.
    Day 26 I served a notice to inspect the property the following day and asked him to get in touch if this was not suitable, and yet again no reply. Day 27 I went to the property and noticed shiny new locks, I tested the keys I had and found all the locks had been changed.
    Today is day 29 and next months rent is due in 2 days time. Clearly I wish to part ways with the tenant, what should I do as I'm not sure what steps to take next and in what order. Please help me in this situation.

    #2
    Don't panic!

    As soon as two months rent are owed you can issue section 8 And use a compulsory ground for eviction, along with any other grounds the tenant has breached.

    Section 8 is not reliant on deposit protection. Keep record of all arrears and eviction charges and these can eventually be offset against any penalty they may make against you.

    Expensive lesson in that you will be unlikely to recover your costs and arrears because of your non deposit protection but you CAN get the tenant out.

    Comment


      #3
      No reference of a completely honest one for these guys, and make sure council know of rent arrears so scarce council housing is not wasted on them.

      Yes, serve s8 g8 & 10 in 3 days time if no rent.
      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


        #4
        Is section 8 notice okay to use as the shorthold tenancy agreement ran out 6 months ago?

        Comment


          #5
          Yes, section 8 can be issued at anytime after AST expires or even during it if terms of AST permit.

          It's not the preferred option as mandatory ground can be removed if tenant reduces their arrears, but you can use other discretionary grounds also and hopefully get this wassack out!

          Issue section 8 the day after rent is next unpaid giving 14 days notice to leave. Then be prepared to apply for possession, I have a feeling he will take this all the way.

          As artful advises make sure the council are aware of his failure to pay rent and this will prevent him getting priority assistance from the council when he is eventually evicted.

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you for your advice, and I will do as you've both recommend and notify the council. Do you have a link where I can get a free section 8 template?

            Comment


              #7
              In the "Documents" section of this website.

              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/documents

              Comment


                #8
                https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-...y-forms#form-3

                Comment


                  #9
                  It may also be wise to post him a cheque for the deposit amount, (ideally through the door with an independent witness). You could then serve a s21 notice.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I personally would issue the section 8 before returning the deposit to him in order to use a section 21.

                    I think returning it tells him you have done something wrong and will cause him to possibly investigate penalties.

                    If tenant responds to section 8 with an offer of a rent payment then great, return deposit and issue section 21 instead. But if they are just going to sit and await eviction, why part with a deposit that can later be used to counterclaim a penalty?

                    Tenant will already owed 2 months rent when section 8 commences. Likely be at least 4 months by time of possession. 4 months rent plus eviction costs will wipe out any penalty they later claim.

                    I'd avoid giving them a penny if you can.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Wright76,

                      I don't disagree with that sentiment except that this tenant has changed the locks and is studiously ignoring the landlord's communication, even the offer to use the deposit for rent. I wonder whether they know full well what their rights are and are just playing the situation to their maximum advantage. Of course I may well be entirely wrong about them.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi, Its been a month and a few days since my last post, Here's the update -
                        The night before I was going to serve the section 8, I sent tenant a text stating that a section 8 eviction notice would be issued at 12 midday on the 2nd Feb.
                        The night before the 2nd Feb, I got a pleading tenant arrive to pay one months rent (January's) with a promise of the next months the following day.
                        I took the January's rent but he didn't arrive the next day to pay February's rent, so back to the start of the letters again.
                        The letters started again throughout the February again with no contact and this time he called yet again on the 29th promising all the rent (Feb & Mar) that day in full. Well he never turned up and I've not heard from him since.
                        I sent another text on the 1st March, again advising of the Section 8 but got no response, So in person I issued the S8 on the 2nd March through the property door as there was no answer.
                        This is the point I'm now at and need advise. Do I now need to wait until the 16th March before I submit the online possession claim or can I do it before? Any other tips, advise or guidance would be very much appreciated.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You cannot apply for possession until the notice period has passed so yes you will have to wait.

                          To gain absolute possession on a mandatory ground the tenant must owe two months both at the time the section 8 was issued and possession applied and given.

                          Let's hope he isn't clever enough to reduce the arrears to below two months.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Tenant will most likely reduce the arrears to below the required two months to get mandatory possession so make sure you've included grounds 10 and 11 on the notice. You would need to argue strongly in court that the tenant is cynically paying in dribs and drabs to deprive you of possession and that this is causing you some hardship. This may not/probably won't be sufficient to get possession this time but if it happened again and you went to court again you'd stand a better chance.

                            Whether you want to go through this or just wait until you can serve a s21 is up to you.

                            Comment

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