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View Full Version : Tenants will not return our calls / Rent Late again



Esther Wallace
10-04-2006, 03:41 AM
We are having issues with our new tenants, they moved into the property at the beginning on February 06. When they moved into the property we had issues with slow communication when completing credit checks and receiving deposit etc. However as our old tenants had broken their tenancy agreement and found these new tenants as a replacement we felt we had to accept them, as our old tenants had completed their side of the bargain and the new tenants passed all our checks.

Unfortunately we should of trusted our gut instincts as since moving in, they have paid rent late every month and are impossible to get hold of, even though we have 2 email addresses, 2 mobile numbers and a home phone number all with answer phones, they rarely answer our communication and both months have paid rent late, (1st month 2 weeks, 2nd month still not paid). As we also had a number for one of the parties parents we tried calling this, to see if we could encourage the tenants to call us by getting a message to them through their parents (which obviously worked, so I think they are screening our calls). Since this I have received a threatening email stating we are breaching their privacy as we have discussed this matter with outside individuals (their parents) and that they have spoken to a lawyer about taking legal action against us. Do they have a case? And what would you suggest we do to encourage them to speak with us instead? we asked the rental agency that help us with our initial tenancy agreement but they just suggested sending a fax to his work to shame him into paying and that isn't really something I'd feel comfortable doing, plus I'm sure they'd go mad about it and it would only make the situation much worse.

The main reason why we were trying to get in contact with them was because we wanted to try and help work out a better payment scheme as he stated earlier that he was paid in the middle of the month and we thought if we moved the payment date to the middle of the month rather than the beginning it would help.

Also under section 8, grounds 11, continual late payment could be grounds to evict them from the property. At what stage could we do that? eg is 3 mths late payment enough to begin proceedings, bearing in mind that they have never paid on time? Due to their attitude and regular late payment we feel this maybe the best option as currently they are signed up for 12mths and we can’t face the idea of chasing them to pay rent every month for another 10mths, especially as they don’t answer our calls. We would rather start eviction proceedings now than end up with a huge amount of rent arrears to claim back if all goes pear shaped as we need to cover the mortgage, we are just a 1 rental property as out of the country presently and our NZ wages do not cover our rent here on top of a UK mortgage!!

We also have a strong reason to suspect that he may have been fired and as his wife does not work we’re very concerned. Are we allowed to find out if he is still employed with the company details on our reference checks? And if he isn’t are we allowed to question his ability to pay the rent? As he is already threatening us with legal action, we really want to do everything by the book.

Sorry for so many questions, thank to anyone who can offer advice.
Thanks
Esther

RichieP
10-04-2006, 07:52 AM
I'd take their threat of legal action with a pinch of salt. If it is true, you can say that, as they didn't respond to your messages, you were concerned for their whereabouts and used every contact they had given to you.

The Section 8, Grounds 10 and 11 can be used now if you so wish. It may give them a much needed kick up the rear end and make them pay on time in future. If they don't you have the papers served ready to apply to court. You will probably get suspended possession, which means the court will set an amount on top of rent to pay each month to reduce the arrears. If they miss a payment you reapply and request possession.

Provide all letters etc as proof you have given them the opportunity to reduce the arrears. Even use the email they sent you as proof they have received your communication and have still not paid up.

Your main stumbling block may be that you need to get somebody to do all this for you, as you're out of the country.

Worldlife
10-04-2006, 08:09 AM
I'd take their threat of legal action with a pinch of salt. If it is true, you can say that, as they didn't respond to your messages, you were concerned for their whereabouts and used every contact they had given to you.<snip>


Good point RichieP. The only alternative contact I have for my tenant are his Manager at work (also guarantor) who failed to respond to a previous letter concerning rent arrears.

The previous reason given by the tenant for some of the rent arrears was that he had a week as voluntary inpatient for mental health problems and did not receive sick pay from his employers.

He failed to keep an appointment (agreed by phone and no written notice) at the flat this weekend. I have therefore contacted in confidence the Personnel Office of his employers expressing concern for the health and welfare of their employer and asking if they have a Welfare Officer who could look into the situation.

I hope I have worked within the Data Protection Act. As far as I know the tenant could have committed suicide, be dead in the flat and I have no right of access.

davidjohnbutton
10-04-2006, 08:47 AM
On my own application form for tenancies, I ask for the names of two people, one of whom can be a relative, that I can contact if I am not able to get in touch with the tenant for any reason.

That helps enormously when tenant is not to be found as one of the contacts is usually likely to know where the tenant is and because I state that is why I want the names - it does not breach the DPA.

Editor
10-04-2006, 09:55 AM
Sounds like these tenants know exactly what they are about and are resisting any attempts you make to help them in their present predicament.
The situation needs dealing with quickly otherwise it's likely to get out of hand.
It's going to be very difficult for you to deal with this situation adequately yourself as you live in New Zealand and your proeprty is in the UK.
I therefore recommend you look on LandlordZONE - there are a couple of firms we have dealt with for many years who offer eviction services for fixed rates.
They will serve a notice immediately in person and follow the procedures through, whatever is necessary.
http://www.landlordaction.co.uk/
http://www.tenanteviction.org.uk/

Esther Wallace
10-04-2006, 22:00 PM
Thank you for everyones helpful responses and good advice. I will definately make sure we cover ourselves better next time with regards to gaining 2 authorised contact numbers, in case we struggle to get hold of tenants in the future.

One of our good friends is the manager of a Property management company in the UK and he tends to deal with all the legal paper work and checks on our property for us. So I will contact him regarding the legal stuff.

I'm a big fan of the site now. Its been good to hear we aren't alone and also learn from other peoples experiences, as renting property is definately a massive learning curve. We also didn't feel comfortable following the advice of some of the rental agents we've spoken to. We were told by one agency that if tenants regularly pay late, they fax a letter through to their place of work to shame them into paying.

Much thanks to everyone who responded to my posting.
Esther