View Full Version : Tenants have left; unknown people now occupy
Dirty Stop Out
08-04-2006, 10:32 AM
I have a situation, I called to see some tenants of mine to collect some top-up rent, as they claim LHA allowance, and I found a couple living there who shouldn't be. I asked them where the ligit tenants were and they said that they were out of town. I returned a couple of days later to tell the couple that they would have to leave the property because they shouldn't be there, which they did, but before I left I took their front door key from them. When I returned the following day I found that they had taken all the guts out of the front door lock and leaned a matrass against the back of the door to keep it shut. So I changed the lock and put a notice on the front door explaining why I changed the lock and left a phone number for the tenants to ring if they needed a key. I was then advised by a member of the tenants family that they had moved out and got a house out of town. I then received a phone call from the tenants asking me why I had changed the locks, so I explained why the locks had been changed and also that I had been informed they had left the property, she then told me that they were still my tenants. The LHA payments I receive don't cover the rent and they are in big arrears, their tenancy has just expired (2/4/06), so what do I do? How do I serve notice on them if I don't have an address to send the notice?
08-04-2006, 12:14 PM
Difficult one Dirty Stop Out and I can only throw some thoughts into the pot rather than authorative advice.
Seems there could be risks in pressurising occupants who may be guests of the tenant (e.g. looking after the place whilst the tenants are on holiday)
Certainly your action after changing the locks and placing a notice on the door that you had done so might thwart any claims of illegal eviction. Hopefully you have an independent witness to provide evidence to counter a claim that you and not the 'visitors' removed the lock.
If your tenants are still claiming possession I would personally serve a notice on them at the property. If they have not collected new keys from you it will be necessary to affix the notice to the property but if they have keys you can put it through the letterbox. Have an independent witness with you when you do this.
Suggest you point out that the tenants are still liable for the rent until they hand over possession and send a copy of the notice and letter to the Housing Benefit Office asking for them to pay the Housing Benefit directly to you because the rent is more than two months in arrears.
08-04-2006, 13:15 PM
How do I serve notice on them if I don't have an address to send the notice?
They are still claiming to be your tenants at that address, so serve notice at that address.
Dirty Stop Out
08-04-2006, 13:37 PM
Thanks for the replies, the tenant is over 8 weeks in arrears and the tenancy has come to and end, so which notice should i serve, or should I serve both S21 and S8?
08-04-2006, 15:40 PM
The Section 8 Notice stipulates:-
Do not use this form is possession is sought on the 'shorthold' ground under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 from an assured shorthold tenant where the fixed term has come to an end <snip>
Section 21(b) covers the situation where
that the assured shorthold tenancy has come to an end and no further assured tenancy (whether shorthold or not) is for the time in existence, other than a statutory periodic tenancy
Suggest a Section 21(b) notice is probably appropriate but I think you will have to give two months notice. Wonder if others agree.
Dirty Stop Out
09-04-2006, 19:04 PM
Thanks for your help with this, I don't know what I would do if this forum wasn't here....anyway, if I give notice with a S21 on these people, who might I add haven't lived in the flat since Christmas, do I just nail the notice to the front door for two months and hope they come through for some more of their stuff, if there is anything left in the flat, or do I send it recorded delivery or do I give it to another family member and hope they pass it on? I'm 99% sure they aren't using the property anymore, there aren't any curtains in the windows,no-one has rung me for a front door key so they can get in and the notice about me changing the locks is still pinned on the front door.
Isn't the life of a property landlord fun!
09-04-2006, 19:19 PM
do I just nail the notice to the front door for two months and hope they come through for some more of their stuff, if there is anything left in the flat, or do I send it recorded delivery or do I give it to another family member and hope they pass it on?
Do all three.
09-04-2006, 19:45 PM
Thanks for the replies, the tenant is over 8 weeks in arrears and the tenancy has come to and end, so which notice should i serve, or should I serve both S21 and S8?Beware using a section 8 on tenants receiving Housing Benefit. They must be two full months in arrears including the HB, not just the top up.
09-04-2006, 22:17 PM
Beware using a section 8 on tenants receiving Housing Benefit. They must be two full months in arrears including the HB, not just the top up.
What if the Housing Benefit has been correctly paid but the total amount of shortfall over a number of weeks means that the total rent paid for the period is two months in deficiency?
10-04-2006, 00:07 AM
I have this situation which is in play at the moment - not one of my tenants, but that of a lady whom I act for as agent.
Tenants got HB which left a £28 shortfall each week. They have been in since October last year. Their arrears two weeks ago topped 8 weeks worth simply because they have failed to pay the shortfall - apart from one payment of £40 which had done nothing to touch the arrears which are now over £760
Their HB payments made in arrears will not reduce the arrears below £760 and if they do not pay up before the hearing at court to reduce it below £760 then ground 8 mandatory possession order will be made.
If they continue over the next say three months not paying anything and HB continues at the current rate, I am expecting the arrears to be approximately £1096 which figure is based solely on the "top up" payments not being made.
Dirty Stop Out
10-04-2006, 06:50 AM
Ok..... I have checked my records and the tenants are over eight weeks in arrears and they are claiming HB, well, it's Local Housing Aurthority Allowance round here.
What happens if the tenant doesn't collect the notice off the door and it expires? Do I still need to get a possession order or is their absense enough? And then the same question again, what happens when the possession order runs out?
Thanks for any help.
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