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View Full Version : Tenant owes £12,000 in rent and now won't leave!!!



andyr
28-03-2008, 13:26 PM
My tenant hasn't paid the rent for the last four months of tenancy (at £3k per month) due to his business going under, but had always promised to leave at end of the tenancy and pay off the debt as a percentage of salary from future employment.

Then, just two days before the tenancy expiry (over the Easter weekend), he told me he was not going to leave. He claims he's still waiting for Islington Housing to find him accommodation, but I don't really believe a word he tells me any more. I'm sure he's just trying to stay there as long as possible and doesn't intend to ever repay his arrears.

I did issue a Notice To Quit to coincide with the end of the tenancy, so next step is getting a Possession Order, but this could take months as Clerkenwell County Court (whose jurisdictions this is under) are notoriously slow with this sort of thing and always insist it goes to trial. I can't used any of the accelerated procedures either as this is not an Assured Shorthold Tenancy due to the rent being above the legal threshold for such agreements.

Is there any other pressure I can put on this guy to get him out quicker? I've heard conflicting things about my right to distraint. I'm not really clear on whether this remedy has been repealed yet or if I can peaceably gain entrance and seize goods. He's also got his girlfriend living in the property, even though her name isn't on the tenancy agreement - i.e. I never actually agreed she could live there and he doesn't have the right to allow her to.

If this thing drags on for months longer it's going to drive me into the ground. I don't hold out a lot of hope to getting much money out of him either. I think he lost most of his assets when his business went under, although I don't believe he's actually bankrupt. In any case he certainly doesn't seem bothered by the additional liability he's running up by staying in the flat, approx £100 per day at the previously instated rent level.

Any help or advise on how to deal with this would be greatly appreciated. At this rate he's going to ruin me financially.

Thanks,

Andy

jeffrey
28-03-2008, 13:47 PM
1. As you say, this is not an AST (rent > £25 000) so common-law contractual rules apply.
2. Distraint still exists. New legislation (s.71-90 of Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007) is not yet in force; when it is, it will abolish all distraint, but it creates a similar statutory scheme ("CRAR") for commercial property only.
3. Does T have any income against which you could obtain an Attachment Order?

andyr
28-03-2008, 14:09 PM
Thanks for the swift reply. Is much appreciated.


1. As you say, this is not an AST (rent > £25 000) so common-law contractual rules apply.

Yes and unfortunately this seems to ensure that the procedure of getting T out will be a long one.


2. Distraint still exists. New legislation (s.71-90 of Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007) is not yet in force; when it is, it will abolish all distraint, but it creates a similar statutory scheme ("CRAR") for commercial property only.

That sounds like good news at least. T is still putting on a friendly public face and I'm sure would agree to let me exercise my right to visit the property. This of course being a peaceable entry would then, I assume, allow me to seize goods of T, such as televisions, computers, hi-fi and the like? It's not going to make much of a dent in T's liability, but would at least make living conditions a little less desirable.


3. Does T have any income against which you could obtain an Attachment Order?

I believe that T may currently have sorted out some employment and so may have an income. T is incredibly duplicitous though (as have I found out late, much to my cost) so finding out the details may prove problematic. Do you know how difficult it might be to obtain an "Attachment Order"?

Thanks again for your time.

johnboy
28-03-2008, 16:45 PM
Have you thought about using debt collectors some people on this site swear by them though i havent tried them myself.

andyr
28-03-2008, 16:56 PM
Have you thought about using debt collectors some people on this site swear by them though i havent tried them myself.

I'd love to, but I'm not sure that I can legally use a debt collection agency until I've gone through months of court procedures with the Possession Order.

If there's a way of getting debt collectors onto T now, I'd really like to hear about it.

Thanks.

swinefever
28-03-2008, 18:17 PM
There are some companies who will assume control of the debt collection on your behalf. They will still have to follow the statutory procedures regarding Possession Orders, Warrants etc but at least it frees up your time. It'll cost you but it will almost certainly let the tenant know you're serious. If your tenant starts getting letters from such a debt collection agency, he'll think twice.

loobylouuk
28-03-2008, 18:59 PM
Hi this may seem like an unusual approach but might save you thousands in the end.
Have you thought to offer him some money to leave
I have read on another site that some-one did this and it worked.
Their problem was a lady on dss could no longer afford to pay the rent and her local council advised her to stay in the house until she was thrown out by the courts! the landlord payed her off.
Failing that why dont you tell him your moving back in!!
Lou

Bel
29-03-2008, 13:54 PM
I'd love to, but I'm not sure that I can legally use a debt collection agency until I've gone through months of court procedures with the Possession Order.

If there's a way of getting debt collectors onto T now, I'd really like to hear about it.

Thanks.

Search for posts by "Rodent1"

andyr
29-03-2008, 13:58 PM
There are some companies who will assume control of the debt collection on your behalf. They will still have to follow the statutory procedures regarding Possession Orders, Warrants etc but at least it frees up your time. It'll cost you but it will almost certainly let the tenant know you're serious. If your tenant starts getting letters from such a debt collection agency, he'll think twice.

Have already instructed my own solicitors to start on the Possesion Order as I didn't realise I could get a debt collection agency involved at this stage. I guess now it would probably best to get them involved once the court has made the order. Is going to be a long and painful wait though.


Hi this may seem like an unusual approach but might save you thousands in the end.
Have you thought to offer him some money to leave
I have read on another site that some-one did this and it worked.
Their problem was a lady on dss could no longer afford to pay the rent and her local council advised her to stay in the house until she was thrown out by the courts! the landlord payed her off.
Failing that why dont you tell him your moving back in!!
Lou

I'm loathed to let him get off so easily with all the money he owes. And if I made him an offer like that I have a bad feeling he'd smell blood and do his best to make my life even worse.

My solicitors have made the exact same point about council housing though. Apparently they always advise the tenants to stay until the bailiffs turn up at the door! I don't actually believe he intends to use council housing though. I mean how often does anyone actually ever move directly from a £1.2m property to council housing after missing rental payments. Still, it's a good rouse he can play to stay there as long as possible. Up to five more months I've been told!

It's my only property though (we're renting the property we currently live in) so maybe I could insist on moving back in? I'm not sure what rights I've got to do so though.

In the meantime I'm seriously considering asking to visit next week, turning up with a large friend and seizing as much as I can get my hands on under my rights of distraint. Need to act fairly quickly though as I'm not sure how much longer the 'friendly' public face is going to last from his side.

The one thing I've learnt from this experience is to never, ever, ever rent out any property I might own ever again. I had absolutely no idea how much a bad tenant could ruin my life, and how little I could do about it.

Cheers,

Andy

swinefever
29-03-2008, 14:35 PM
Ok Andy, a few things:

-Have your solicitors written to the tenant to explain that a Possession Order is being sought and that once given, not only will he be evicted but liable for all the time he has spent at the property?

-Furthermore, make sure your solicitor re-iterates that the tenant will have a CCJ against his name, which will impact negatively on any attempts to get credit, mortgage, finance etc.

When you served him the Notice To Quit, did you use a prescribed format? I'm not familiar with common-law tenancies but i read somewhere that such a notice must use a prescribed format (like Section 21 and Section 8 notices are).

As for distraint, another area i am not familiar with; is a court order required to seize his possessions? Make sure you are clear on this because if you incorrectly charge in without one, it could make matters worse.

With the last tenant i had to deal with, i served the correct notice (Section 8 in my case) but also simultaneously started a Small Claims Case against her. This was to ensure she knew i meant business and wasn't going to wait around for a possession order. Of course, in your case, you'd have start a County Court claim if you wanted to go down this route.

If the tenant thinks he's got time to mess you about while you wait for a Possession Order, a letter from the County Court stating that a claim has been made against him, might pressurise him into moving away more quickly.

andyr
29-03-2008, 16:00 PM
Ok Andy, a few things:

-Have your solicitors written to the tenant to explain that a Possession Order is being sought and that once given, not only will he be evicted but liable for all the time he has spent at the property?

They're just putting the paperwork together now and he should be getting the letter early next week. He's definitely aware that this is going on and that he is also liable for the additional time, which works out at about £100 per day. So far none of this seems to bother him. I get the impression his business blew up pretty spectacularly when he stopped paying the rent and now he's feeling pretty teflon coated to any kind of these threats. I don't think he's been declared bankrupt, but I couldn't rule out that a petition has already been launched by his ex-business partners - which might explain his ambivalence to the extra liability.


-Furthermore, make sure your solicitor re-iterates that the tenant will have a CCJ against his name, which will impact negatively on any attempts to get credit, mortgage, finance etc.


I'm sure this will all be pretty explicit once he gets their letter. I'm just hoping his attitude so far has just been bluff and when things start moving he'll start reacting like it matters. Hard to tell just now though. He's not even been phased by threats of a petition for bankruptcy being launched. (too costly for me to consider in reality though - around £5k I've been told)


When you served him the Notice To Quit, did you use a prescribed format? I'm not familiar with common-law tenancies but i read somewhere that such a notice must use a prescribed format (like Section 21 and Section 8 notices are).

I was pretty careful to get this right. In fact with a common-law tenancy you only have to give four weeks notice rather than usual two months for an AST. My solicitors seem pretty happy this was served correctly and have also told me that even if there had been a technical problem we could proceed on the basis of four months rent being missed (which was something I wasn't aware of).


As for distraint, another area i am not familiar with; is a court order required to seize his possessions? Make sure you are clear on this because if you incorrectly charge in without one, it could make matters worse.


I'm trying to get confirmation from my solicitors that this is something I can use without risking charges against myself, but as far as I can work out this right can be applied without a court order so long as I gain access to the property peaceably - which I think I can.


With the last tenant i had to deal with, i served the correct notice (Section 8 in my case) but also simultaneously started a Small Claims Case against her. This was to ensure she knew i meant business and wasn't going to wait around for a possession order. Of course, in your case, you'd have start a County Court claim if you wanted to go down this route.

If the tenant thinks he's got time to mess you about while you wait for a Possession Order, a letter from the County Court stating that a claim has been made against him, might pressurise him into moving away more quickly.

That's a good point and I'm trying to find any way I can of using the financial liablity as something that I can use to apply pressure in a faster timeframe than the Possession Order. Still haven't found anything concrete that helps just yet though.

Cheers, and thanks for the input.

Andy