Dropped a clanger!

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  • Dropped a clanger!

    I'm a relatively new landlord and having problems that I'm unsure of.

    I've let a cottage to a couple of men who had only recently moved to the area and were coming to me from a B&B they had been staying in whilst they found somewhere to rent.

    They were happy with the amount of rent and I agreed they could pay weekly in cash. Foolishly I also agreed that they could pay their bond (a full month's rent) in two halves - the second half of which I am still trying to get!

    After a run of failed promises I am still owed almost £200 and despite promises to pay £20 per week on top of their rent they are only giving me half - doubtless because they seem to be of the opinion that the bond doesn't belong to anyone, despite me explaining it is my insurance policy against them doing damage or having accidents and ruining things (the cottage was let fully furnished).

    Also when they first arrived they asked if they could tend my garden and do some jobs around the place as their work was quiet and they wanted something to do to stop them getting bored. They were adamant they didn't want paying and since I had a very bad back I allowed them to do bits and pieces - jetwashing, gardening, pointing etc. After it was all done they then started asking for money off what they owed me - then let it slip that they had done this in previous years and worked for a landlord in lieu of paying rent!

    My question is this. I feel like have been taken for a complete fool when all I did was trust them but since they want to do a bit of painting in the cottage I have said quite categorically not, until such time as their bond is paid. Am I right in thinking that if it is not paid up by the end of the first four months I can then issue a Notice to Quit and advise them that I am not renewing the contract or since they are making pathetic donations do I have to let it run until it is paid up?

    Many thanks in anticipation.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Doonsmum View Post
    I'm a relatively new landlord and having problems that I'm unsure of.

    I've let a cottage to a couple of men who had only recently moved to the area and were coming to me from a B&B they had been staying in whilst they found somewhere to rent.

    They were happy with the amount of rent and I agreed they could pay weekly in cash. Foolishly I also agreed that they could pay their bond (a full month's rent) in two halves - the second half of which I am still trying to get!

    After a run of failed promises I am still owed almost £200 and despite promises to pay £20 per week on top of their rent they are only giving me half - doubtless because they seem to be of the opinion that the bond doesn't belong to anyone, despite me explaining it is my insurance policy against them doing damage or having accidents and ruining things (the cottage was let fully furnished).

    Also when they first arrived they asked if they could tend my garden and do some jobs around the place as their work was quiet and they wanted something to do to stop them getting bored. They were adamant they didn't want paying and since I had a very bad back I allowed them to do bits and pieces - jetwashing, gardening, pointing etc. After it was all done they then started asking for money off what they owed me - then let it slip that they had done this in previous years and worked for a landlord in lieu of paying rent!

    My question is this. I feel like have been taken for a complete fool when all I did was trust them but since they want to do a bit of painting in the cottage I have said quite categorically not, until such time as their bond is paid. Am I right in thinking that if it is not paid up by the end of the first four months I can then issue a Notice to Quit and advise them that I am not renewing the contract or since they are making pathetic donations do I have to let it run until it is paid up?

    Many thanks in anticipation.
    Assuming that you have a six month lease with two month notice period then you can issue a notice to quit after four months.

    I would make sure that all the paper work is correct (notice to quit and section 33) and that is served on the ish date by sheriff officers.

    It is very unfortunate when tenants take advantage of your good nature. I used to be quite agreeable to tenants reasonable requests but now I generally say no as it keeps things a lot simpler.

    Comment


    • #3
      have you protected however much of the deposit has been provided?? You might have missed the boat already....

      Do you have any of the offer to do work for free communications in writing or email??
      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
        I have a SAT which is in their joint names but it specifies a month's notice by either party. I did think I had read somewhere that by law I was obliged to allow them to stay four months and could then issue a notice to quit - not that a month will make much difference to me if that's the case.

        No I didn't get anything in writing to say that the work they were doing would be free but then no written account of it has been made between us, not even a list of jobs since I live on site too and the cottage is attached to the back of my house.

        I have however, kept a running account of everything that has happened and been said and agreed between us on my computer with dates and times, together with a running total of their debt and payments.

        It's a very unfortunate situation to be in. They are really nice guys and we were getting along fine but if they had just been up front with what they were after then I wouldn't have such bad feelings towards them now. I just feel like all trust has been lost - especially after one of them got into a real strop with me when he asked if I had deducted anything for the work they had done. I had to go round and have it out with them - at which point they started to complain about the cottage saying it was small, the carpet is too dark, they don't like the colour of the walls (pale green emulsion) and they wanted to get rid of my suite and replace it with two armchairs. I told them to buy a big rug, get throws or covers for the suite if it was too dark for them and that when their bond is paid we will discuss them changing the pale green to cream. I really don't think I have been unreasonable but they seem to think I am and I'm very tempted to tell them that I am not intending to renew their contract - or should I leave that until a month before the contract is up?

        Edited to add that as a gesture of goodwill and in an attempt to restore good feeling I agreed to deduct £50 off their debt.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks:

          Many tenants leave on expiry date of valid notices.. (but these, sorry but no point not saying it, sound like they might argue..).

          Those that don't leave need taking through Sheriff court so it will all come down to what he believes.. If so notices need to be served the correct way [Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907] - recorded-signed-for or Sheriff's officers: These guys sound like they might not sign-for...so I agree with Sandi (about £70 last time I did it..)

          But there's an interesting wrinkle here.. you state..
          Originally posted by Doonsmum View Post
          I have a SAT which is in their joint names but it specifies a month's notice by either party......since I live on site too and the cottage is attached to the back of my house....
          so it may not be a SaT:

          Why? An SaT is a special form of Assured Tenancy ... and if you look at Schedule 4 of Housing (Scotland) Act 1988
          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/43/schedule/4
          SCHEDULE 4 - Tenancies which cannot be Assured Tenancies
          it says, clause 9...
          Resident landlords9
          (1)A tenancy in respect of which the following conditions are fulfilled—
          (a)that the house forms part only of a building;
          etc
          etc...
          So it won't be an AT so can't be an SaT.

          And it sounds like that may be the case here... if so I think you have a "common law tenancy" with clear/obvious terms for the SaT paperwork carrying over (names, address-of-property, start/end/etc dates, notice periods, rent/month etc..): But I'm legally unqualified so don't take my word for it...
          http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_a...on_law_tenants

          Would strongly suggest you call SaL
          http://www.scottishlandlords.com/
          (I assume you are a member, if not suggest you join..) and ask their view on the matter and/or contact a specialist LL/tenant solicitor.. TC Young are quite high profile,
          http://www.tcyoung.co.uk/
          - but I have never used them myself.. [Many high-street solicitors are very good but may not know the detailed points & it may be that this one is more tricky that usual...].

          Best of luck: Many LLs here have had "fun" with tenants and I certainly got into messes like yours (and maybe worse..). It will - eventually - get sorted..

          Please post any advice you get from SaL or solicitor so we can all learn... Be aware this is a public forum, open to all....

          Best regards
          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


          • #6
            Thank you so much. As the cottage is only semi-detached though and there is no internal access to it from my home would Clause 9 still apply? If so does that mean my other two cottages which are semi detached with each other are not SAT's either?

            Comment


            • #7
              Apologies, semis probably SaTs.. I'd assumed it was an annex/extension. Get qualified advice though, I'd guess SaT & usual notices.

              You can prove you served AT5 before tenancy was signed? - required for SaT
              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


              • #8
                Phew, yes, thank you very much.

                Comment


                • #9
                  SAT's & AT5's

                  I'm relatively new to all this and am having problems with my first tenants - two guys who are sharing a cottage next to my house.

                  They're causing countless problems and endlessly complaining about the furnishings, cooking facilities, laundry facilities and obviously cannot grasp the concept of thermostats on wall panel heaters!

                  As far as I'm concerned I issued the AT5 and SAT correctly, having read the paperwork and notes more than once. The AT5 does not specify how far in advance of the SAT it has to be issued so I issued it on the same day as the tenancy and just ensured it was the first thing to be handed over and signed. They are now claiming that it wasn't issued correctly and that as a result my SAT is illegal. I am now worried to death and intending to see a solicitor if there is one in this town that has the knowledge to help me but if anyone can offer any advice I would be extremely grateful.

                  My other question is this. If the tenants continue to complain about things do I have the right to ask them to put their complaints in writing and do I also have the right to deny them permission to paint the walls and make alterations to the kitchen? They were perfectly happy to accept the cottage when they moved in but I live next door and am beginning to feel increasingly harrassed by them with their verbal complaints about anything and everything.

                  Edited to add that the one thing I didn't do was get an Energy Efficiency Report which is doubtless borne out of their ever increasing electricity bills due to the fact that they sit in the cottage all day doing nothing and have all the heating on full blast whilst leaving windows open! Does the fact that I didn't get the report done render the SAT and AT5 meaningless or is it ok to have it done retrospectively? I am intending to get one done asap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Three questions here I think (If there are others please post what they are...

                    1. AT5 & SaT. You assert At5 was served before SaT signed. If that is the case & SaT was for AT LEAST 6 months then it is a SaT. If not an AT, harder to evict. Question is, can you prove AT5 was served before SaT signed (which is why, eg, SaL AT5 & SaT pro-formas have date&time noted against signatures so it is easy to prove...). If you can't (eg there were not 3 independent witnesses prepared to stand up & tell Sheriff they defo remember you serving AT5 first..) than IF THIS EVER GETS TO COURT (eg for your possession hearing) Sheriff may find it is an AT not a SaT. Sounds like these guys will force that arguement - but they might just go on service of notices to quit etc (many people do just go, when they don't have to...). Your SaT would nto be "illegal" but all the terms would stand apart from it being held to be an AT (eg rent/month the same, named tenants the same, property rented the same etc etc etc...).

                    2. Tenants continuing to complain: They don't have to put them in writing (but would be stupid not to..) - it could be argued you are better off without anything in writing. However MY view would be write back to them noting their concern ("you said you didn't like the pink paint in the bathroom & the immersion did not work: You are stuck with the pink unless you wish to pay me to engage a tradesperson to redecorate, at your expense: Regarding the immersion I have arranged an electrician to call to examine on 25/12/2012 - please let me know if you will not be in & I shall accompany them"). With these guys - the way you describe them - I'd put things in writing so I could show Sheriff I took matters seriously & promptly. Nothing to stop YOU engaging PRHP to resolve a LL/T matter (you have written to tenants about repairing standard & PRHP???).

                    3 EPC (I assume this is what you meant..). Get one done. I think only council trading standards can fine you (fixed penalty) or prosecute (if you willfully ignore). In your shoes I'd get one done to a) Be legal & b) Stop that bit of whining... AFAIK it has no effect at all on validity of SaT (or AT..) - but would look to Sheriff as though you were not professional...

                    Best of luck!!

                    PS If it's any consolation I didn't understand about AT5 date/time for some years & got in a right mess: I got in a worse mess sending tenant new SaT for signature, pre-signed by me, that they never returned...(really, really dumb....) Many of us make mistakes... then learn...

                    PPS Perhaps 'phone SaL for advice (free to members) or TC Young & see what they advise.;....


                    PPPS I got out of one mess by offering tenants (NB yours could be viewing this..) a new tenancy for a reduced rent... After 6 months gave notice, they went without a court hearing...
                    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


                    • #11
                      Thankyou so much - and yes I have more questions! lol.

                      The Tenants are paying their rent weekly in cash and the last three payments have been one or two days late. This week's rent however was due last Friday (30/11) but still has not materialised. Are they entitled to any days grace in which to produce the rent and under the circumstances should I now send them a recorded delivery letter every time the rent is overdue?

                      I know when they arrived I was told that one was a self employed joiner and the other a chef in the local village but I don't think the joiner has had more than one job since they moved in at the start of September and I know the Chef (although dishwasher is probably a more apt description!) is only called in when required and I don't think he's had any work for weeks and I know he has recently applied for two local jobs. So if my ad in the paper stated no DSS and they have since started claiming DSS do I have grounds for eviction under that or would I have had to state in my contract that they would have to advise me if their employment status changed?

                      They took the place on fully furnished but now seem to be desperate to get rid of the suite, which isn't new but in perfectly useable condition. It was re-upholstered years ago and has no label on for fire retardancy - apparently not required - and we know the cushions are in a retardant sleeve cos hubby is a fire consultant! They want to take a cushion and cover to have it tested though and they also wanted it in writing that the thermostats on the heaters are all working.

                      I've written as you suggested (yesterday) and put everything in writing and said they will have to pay for the fire test, I want written details of when, where, by whom it will be done and that they will have to pay to replace anything that comes back unusable or damaged. I have also said they can bring in an electrical engineer to look at the heaters when we are present and we will only replace them like for like if the thermostats are faulty. We're certain they aren't cos we've tested them but they just want the place like an oven and don't understand what they're doing wrong and are now getting all stroppy and wanting everything in writing. I'm more than happy to do that though but I cannot understand what their end goal is. I'm thinking they assume they'll be allowed to put their own furniture in if they get rid of mine but since it was let fully furnished we will not allow them to.

                      Can I legally prevent them from putting their own suite or armchairs in there since they took the place on fully furnished and is it possible to create an addendum to a SAT?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Doonsmum View Post
                        Thankyou so much - and yes I have more questions! lol.

                        The Tenants are paying their rent weekly in cash and the last three payments have been one or two days late. This week's rent however was due last Friday (30/11) but still has not materialised.
                        Regardless of when they pay the rent in practice, does the tenancy state rent is payable weekly?? If so you need to give them a rent book (or similar) and update it every week...



                        Are they entitled to any days grace in which to produce the rent and under the circumstances should I now send them a recorded delivery letter every time the rent is overdue?
                        Advice hereabouts is NEVER write to T recorded-signed-for (except for notices... or Sheriff Officers..) as chances are, particularly with difficult Ts, they will decline to sign. The legilsation gives no days grace from when rent is due (which is why what it says in tenancy about when rent is payable is key..) but mandatory eviction for rent arrears only works for 3 months owing on notice service & court case: Being a bit late is discretionary grounds for Sheriff to decide & chancy....
                        I know when they arrived I was told that one was a self employed joiner and the other a chef in the local village but I don't think the joiner has had more than one job since they moved in at the start of September and I know the Chef (although dishwasher is probably a more apt description!) is only called in when required and I don't think he's had any work for weeks and I know he has recently applied for two local jobs. So if my ad in the paper stated no DSS and they have since started claiming DSS do I have grounds for eviction under that or would I have had to state in my contract that they would have to advise me if their employment status changed?
                        Did you check by getting tenant credit & other checks done?? Of course tenants change their job status: AFAIK you have no right to be informed (discuss.... interesting point given some insurers conditions...)


                        They took the place on fully furnished but now seem to be desperate to get rid of the suite, which isn't new but in perfectly useable condition. It was re-upholstered years ago and has no label on for fire retardancy - apparently not required - and we know the cushions are in a retardant sleeve cos hubby is a fire consultant! They want to take a cushion and cover to have it tested though and they also wanted it in writing that the thermostats on the heaters are all working.

                        I've written as you suggested (yesterday) and put everything in writing and said they will have to pay for the fire test,
                        ARrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! !! ALL furnishings must be appropriately labelled (or you can prove you bought recently - eg 1 year-old IKEA invoice..see..
                        http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotla..._resistant.htm

                        Anything else, unless quite old (see legislation.gov.uk..) must not be in property (A Fire Consultant will know this legislation backwards...) : Telling them they pay for a Fire test is likely (well, it would for me if I were T ....) to be red rag to bull....and picked up with enthusiasm by legal-aid solicitor,... I failed to put what I usually put about writing: Make it calm & polite.. Apologies for my oversight...

                        See also SaL's very helpful safety in lettings leaflet... which covers fire regs (& gas & leccy...)


                        I want written details of when, where, by whom it will be done and that they will have to pay to replace anything that comes back unusable or damaged. I have also said they can bring in an electrical engineer to look at the heaters when we are present and we will only replace them like for like if the thermostats are faulty. We're certain they aren't cos we've tested them but they just want the place like an oven and don't understand what they're doing wrong and are now getting all stroppy and wanting everything in writing. I'm more than happy to do that though but I cannot understand what their end goal is. I'm thinking they assume they'll be allowed to put their own furniture in if they get rid of mine but since it was let fully furnished we will not allow them to.
                        I fear their lawyer will enjoy producing that in front of Sheriff....

                        Can I legally prevent them from putting their own suite or armchairs in there since they took the place on fully furnished and is it possible to create an addendum to a SAT?
                        The house or flat is tenant's property, merely your investment, whilst there is a valid tenancy (including if they ain't paid rent..) . Of course T can put his own furniture in... Addendums to SaTs after being signed I suspect may not be valid or, worse, construed as granting a new tenancy. I handle points like that by emailing T saying (eg.. calm & polite) "Thanks Jamesie for letting me know you will be installing your own sofa: Please note you do so at your own risk. Best regards, Artful..."

                        Questions, please...
                        a) Can you prove AT5 served before tenancy signed??
                        b) Is EPC booked??
                        c) Are you registered???

                        Cheers!
                        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


                        • #13
                          Jeez! Do LL's have ANY rights?! Beginning to wish I'd stuck to hol lets now! lol.

                          I omitted to say that we have, as far as possible, remained cool, calm and collected when speaking or writing. It is actually THEM shouting as US though, esecially when demanding everything in writing. I plan to pose the same demand to them from now on - albeit more politely! - and will refuse to discuss anything with them verbally in future.

                          I also omitted to say that whilst we stated that they are responsible for the costs of fire checks on the furniture and the electrical engineer, we will - if the results are not in our favour - replace the furniture and those heaters not found to be working. I have no doubts about the heaters though. All the termostats were tested yesterday by my husband - in their presence - and found to be operating correctly. Trouble is, they whack the heating up to maximum and then cannot understand why the heat stops coming out until the temperature drops. The whole cottage is like an oven and yet they say their feet are cold and that the heaters are all crap because of that! Grrrrrrr!!!

                          No I didn't do credit checks etc. beforehand. Learnt my lesson for the future though! They returned home about an hour ago but still haven't appeared with any rent payment! Do I go round and ask for it or wait and see what happens? Is it my responsibility to go round? The last verbal arrangement was for them to call round with it. They didn't have a rent book - until they demanded one yesterday - so now I have downloaded and completed the one from the Shelter website which is completed and signed and awaiting their next payment! I have also created a table of the bits of donations they are still paying off the bond they still owe which is just less than £200 and keeping a record of how late each rent payment is.

                          Re the furniture - if my furniture (which OH is certain IS fireproof and the legislation doesn't just refer to new stuff) is fit for purpose and they took on the cottage fully furnished how can they put their own stuff in if there is no room to do so without discarding mine? Surely they cannot just throw my stuff away? I have been as amincable as I can be and taken away stuff I have room to store - TV unit, small TV, coffee table, pictures, windowsill plants etc. I just don't have room to put a suite anywhere though.

                          As for the fire test, I purely want to know where my belongings are going. I've given them written permission to have the test done but in case anything gets mislaid I want to know who is responsible.

                          Having checked my paperwork they signed the SAT three days before the contract.
                          I'm still trying to find someone to do the EPC for me but not getting any reply from my email enquiries (we're in SW Scotland)
                          Yes I'm registered.

                          Thanks again.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Provision of Car Parking

                            Although I advertised the cottage (in the local paper) with off-road parking I have not referenced it in the SAT.

                            Am I therefore legally obliged to provide off-road parking or do I have the right to prevent them parking their car on my property?

                            If I do have the right, does that also mean that where car parking would be shared by more than one property, I can specify which of the properties uses my parking area?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Doonsmum


                              Is this the same tenant as with any of these please???
                              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...read.php?50787

                              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...read.php?50465

                              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...read.php?51375

                              http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...read.php?51555

                              -- please let us know which...It is normal practice & helpful to other members to keep related queries in one thread..

                              Assuming some or all are related could you please kindly respond to earlier questions of...
                              a) Can you prove AT5 served before tenancy signed??
                              -
                              c) Are you registered???

                              You replied
                              Having checked my paperwork they signed the SAT three days before the contract.
                              - Did you mean AT5 signed three days before SaT???


                              I look forward to your replies..

                              Cheers!
                              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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