Newbie landlord with problems seeking advice

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Newbie landlord with problems seeking advice

    I became a landlord through circumstance rather than choice, so the first thing to point out that this is my home I have rented out not a business venture. Due to us being in a serious road accident, and my wife's injuries being such that she can no longer drive, when we married I was forced to move 50 miles to her area, and rent a bungalow there. And of course to be able to afford that it meant renting mine out as it has not been a good time to sell in the North West for a few years now.
    So, I used an agency to find suitable tenants and let them manage it for the first 6 months but as all was well I decided to do it myself and save the 10% monthly fee as my new rental (paying out) was more than I was receiving. They seemed ideal tenants, both working, her part time and him with a very well paid job in IT. They had one 8/9 year old child that I wasn't keen about, and one dog that I was less keen about. (It is in a quiet retirement area) but as they had lived locally for a long time and seemed a good profile otherwise I decided to take them.
    It was a typical AST for 6 months and then rolling on etc. All was fine for a while, but he worked away in the Midlands and was rarely home, and as you might imagine he was doing more than just working whilst he was away. So his other half finds out he has a woman down there and the proverbial hits the fan. After a brief attempt at reconciliation she chucks him out for good and off he goes to the Midlands. He assures her that he will continue to pay the rent for her as his son is only 10 at this stage. He left in the August and eventually after some badgering he returned his keys to me by post. I asked him numerous time for his address down there but he refused to give it to me.
    He left the property in August 2016 leaving her and his son there, he continued to pay the rent and all seemed ok. But in hindsight I should have acted sooner and seen that it was a situation that could not last. The rent was not paid in March 2017 and again not paid in April or May. By then she had approached Housing Benefit for help. She gave me the £300 or so that she got from them, nowhere near the £700 rent. But because she gave me that it meant that the rent was not a full two months in arrears so I felt that I could not do anything. She accepted she would have to look for somewhere else to live. I went about it the right way giving her a notice to quit etc. She gave me a further £300 which means the arrears are about £1500.
    I had been struggling for a few months to get to do an inspection of the property but she was always unavailable, now I know why. I finally got her to agree to me going round, to my surprise she said she had moved out, I could see most of her furniture and beds etc had gone, but there was still piles of stuff everywhere. And my beautiful home was in a very dirty condition. She said she had not had chance to clean yet as she had to turn the water off and couldn't get it back on. I sorted it on the spot and put the water on. She said she would be shifting the rest of her stuff over the next week. She at that point refused to give me her new address. I told her that was not a good idea. She has still not cleaned claiming an injury to her leg prevents her doing so.
    She finally after numerous requests has put the keys through the letter box and taken the lock off the side gate. I got a friend who lives near by and has keys to go in and check the keys had been left. They had but minus the garage key. It seems there is a load of stuff rammed into the garage, she says that's mostly 'his' stuff and I've asked him to come up and sort it but he's refused. She has clearly kept hold of the garage key as there are things in there that she wants to keep. But he said in an email that I could have anything in the garage and sell it to help pay any arrears.
    So in conclusion this is where I'm at. They gave a £700 deposit that is held by the Deposit Protection Agency as is correct. The bungalow is filthy and my friend's wife who is a cleaner says it will cost 'hundreds' of pounds to get it clean. The rubbish she has left is a huge amount, almost to the ceiling in the small bedroom, refuse bags and old mattresses etc. There is also lots of rubbish at the back of the property and then there is the garage contents, so a huge skip will be needed. Because she was always drying washing indoors there is terrible damp staining and mildew and mould marks everywhere. All the vertical and venetian blinds will probably have to chucked away. And then the final insult is that my immaculate gardens are now like a jungle, totally unkempt even though that was part of the terms of the tenancy. It's unlikely that the deposit will cover the costs of the above and as I say I have arrears of around £1500.
    Is it worth me taking them to court? I know that she will be easy to locate as she has only moved locally and the boy is at a local school, but she has no money and is on benefits. He has tried to argue that he is of 'no fixed abode' as he works about 40 miles away from his girlfriends house, so stays in B&B's when he is working, and only 'stays' with her for a few days between shifts so does not consider that as his permanent address. He has given me the address of his sister in Manchester for the purpose of sending any correspondance, but I bribed him into giving me that by saying that I could take him off the tenancy if I had an address for him! I know the name of the company that he works for but no more than that. I don't know how the courts would view a case such as this where tenants have refused to give their correct address to avoid being caught. He I believe is also refusing to give his new girlfriends address because she is on benefits and would not want him to say he was living there.
    If anyone could advise me as to what I should do next I would be very grateful!

    #2
    A solid wall of text and not much useful info, in particular the FAQ 'Required info for all new posters.'
    Who is lised as the current T him, her, both?
    Was it orig a joint Tenancy?
    Has any new AST been granted to her since he left?

    This is a specialist UK Advice Forum, not a Social Media/Twitter page.

    Comment


      #3
      On a positive note, I think you are very lucky that she has vacated the property, without you having to go through the court process !!

      Comment


        #4
        I'm sorry, I tried to think of all the information I might need to add, but as I say I am very new to this. Yes it was a joint tenancy. When he left he did ask about being removed from the tenancy agreement, but I thought that would be a bad idea as if anything went wrong it was him who had the high income and could be looked to for the rent. And of course she would not have 'qualified' in terms of her income and I felt it would be seen as reckless for me to offer her a sole tenancy when she was only working part time and on a low income. So as he promised her he would always pay the rent for her, I let things run as they were. I am glad to have got her out without too much trouble but the mess she has left is unbelievable, as well as the rent arrears of course. Do you think I have any hope of getting that? Or should I just go for a judgement on principal so that they will find it more difficult to do the same thing to anyone else if nothing else? Thank you

        Comment


          #5
          If it's a joint tenancy, they're both liable for all the rent and all the damage.

          The first thing to do is to get the place sorted, record all the costs and schedule out the complete rent arrears - every month due since it began and everything you've received.
          That gives you a complete amount owed.
          Send a letter before action to both tenants (at the last address either of them gave you - which might be your property for the tenant who left).
          Then sue them both if they don't pay using the small claims court.

          There are services who advertise on this site who wil lfind someone who owes you money, if you think you have a better chance of recovery from the missing tenant.
          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).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            If it's a joint tenancy, they're both liable for all the rent and all the damage.
            But there may be a problem with "When he left he did ask about being removed from the tenancy agreement, but I thought that would be a bad idea as if anything went wrong it was him who had the high income and could be looked to for the rent".

            A judge may decide that you should know the law whilst a consumer is less likely to, and that whilst you could not 'take him off the agreement' it may have been reasonable to advise him that he could serve notice to take himself off.

            Comment


              #7
              The tenant either served notice or they didn't.

              There's no obligation for a landlord to tell the tenant what or how to do what they want - there's Shelter and CAB and legal professionals available for that.
              And the advice of the other party to an agreement should be taken with a van load of salt.

              The landlord's reasoning in this case is sound - taking the tenant off the agreement would be a bad idea - and would have left the other tenant homeless, because they weren't in a position to continue paying.
              What the landlord should have done is serve notice to both joint tenants and encouraged the leaving tenant to serve notice to speed things up - I've made exactly the same mistake myself and was lucky that the remaining (not able to afford it really) tenant was able to move "home" rather than be faced with being homeless.

              When the joint tenants split up, it feels safer to have the leaving tenant still on the hook, but you have to then also limit your ongoing risk, by removing someone who - through no fault of their own - can't afford to rent the property alone.
              You can be as reasonable and sensitive to the situations as you wish, but there's going to be an end point - the tenant is not able to stay - and it needs to be set, not drifted towards.
              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).

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with jpkeates that the OP had no responsibility in telling him how to serve valid notice. Bigger fool him for not investigating.

                In regards to a money claim you can and should serve a letter before action to both of them.

                I would have considered this to be issued to their last known address which of course is your property.

                Regardless of her current benefit status she may not always be in receipt of benefit and your claim will also be against the working ex partner

                Comment


                  #9
                  Of course there's the possibility that he DID investigate serving notice and the discovery that ending the tenancy for his ex and effectively making his son homeless may have put him off

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for the responses, very helpful. And I think you hit the nail on the head Wright76 to some extent, though I think that for him to serve notice would have meant him divulging his address, something he has been very careful not to do. And I suspect the reason for that is that if he were to declare himself living with the lady he is now seeing, it would cause her problems as I somehow suspect she is not working and has chidren ie she is relying on the welfare state for her income. That would be jeopardised if she had to declare he had moved in.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      He does not have to state his current address to end his earlier joint T for both.
                      More likely he knows he is liable for rent and wishes to avoid his ex finding his new address/receiving LBA/Court papers. Bit pointless as ex could scour social media, Facebook & Twitter etc or use a Tracing service for about £50 if that interested.

                      Comment

                      Latest Activity

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X