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View Full Version : We believe Landlord is in arrears, what can we do?



Paolow
03-03-2010, 08:29 AM
HIya all,

Im sorry if this has already been covered, but im just wondering if anyone has any advice. MY girlfriend and i began renting our first place together in September 2009 with a 12 month agreement through the local letting agents. Everything has been going great, until recently i accidentally opened a letter addressed to the landlord. However the letter from the Halifax suggested that the landlord was several months in arrears, i felt sick, id accidentally opened the letter believing it was for me and then id seen arrears mentioned.

I really dont know what to do, i understand we could be evicted, my girlfriend is frought with worry. Due to the fact that id seen information that i was supposed to do, i cant really say anything to anybody.

What advice would anyone give? My girlfriend is worried that baliffs may come round while we are out etc. Its causing a lot of sleepless nights rightnow.

Any help would be appreciated, sorry if this is old ground

Thanks

Paolow

trill
03-03-2010, 09:12 AM
Does the landlord live in the same building as you? Or is his mail going to your address even though he lives elsewhere? In which case the Halifax may not be aware of him letting out his property. It's a bit unfortunate that you're opening someone else's mail, as now you're anxious about situation which is nothing to do with you. It's a bit of a delicate situation, but as long as he doesn't live in the same building, I would be inclined to seal the envelope and return it marked "not known at this address." Or don't let on you've seen a letter as they'll be sending plenty more, and make sure you don't open letters not addressed to you in future.

Someone else could put me right on this, but if baliffs turn up on the door looking for the landlord, you could show your tenancy agreement to prove that it's nothing to do with you. Also, they don't just turn up on the door. There's procedures and court hearings, etc, before the baliffs are sent in.

I'm only a tenant, I know nuffink!

islandgirl
03-03-2010, 09:15 AM
Well I think it is a really good job he has opened the mail in error - at least he now knows what he is dealing with and can come here for advice. Knowledge is power!

Telometer
03-03-2010, 09:27 AM
Baliffs don't just turn up at the door like that. Sleep easy in your bed.

And they certainly are not permitted to break into your house whilst you are out.

Paolow
03-03-2010, 10:05 AM
Thanks all for your comments,

The landlord doesnt live in the same block of appartments as us with only the letting agents able to contact him. We normally send letters Return to sender when its not for us. I know what i did was wrong in opening the letter but it was an honest mistake.

Im sure many more will be coming through. I checked the return address on the back of the envelope (The PO Box and address) and this led me to link the PO box to the Halifax, would it be worth me contacting them if another comes through (I wont open another letter trust me!) , to allow me to speak to someone saying theres letters for the landlord, yet he no longer lives here?

or should i just sit tight and wait for correspondance to come to us?

Sorry if this sounds bit garbled,

Thanks

Paolow

matthew_henson
03-03-2010, 10:06 AM
Firstly it take a long time before a period of arrears results in a reposession hearing (about two years) so don't worry too much

If your landlord has "authority to let" in other words he has a proper BTL mortgage, then the lender has to honour the term of the contract althought they can impliment any break clauses if available but will need to honour the notice periods.

If the LL does not have Authority to let you as a tenant have no rights at all and in theory could be evicted by ballifs with no notice although unlikley.... However lenders are required to write to "The Occupier" when they issue notice of court proceedings. From this point you have roughly two to three months to get out if the lender is successful in court. This letter will also invite you to participate in the hearing and express your view, so for example if you were about to have a new baby the judge may chose delay the reposession date until the baby was born reached a certain age.

It is essential you open all mail addressed to the "the occupier" regardless of whether you think it is junk mail.

We are in the same boat but much closer to a court proceeding, we tried to speak to the lender but they will not talk to you. Their standard response is look out for the occupier letter.

Mrs Mug
03-03-2010, 11:29 AM
Firstly it take a long time before a period of arrears results in a reposession hearing (about two years) so don't worry too much

That isn't quite right, it depends on the bank involved and the circumstances.




HOW LONG HAVE YOU GOT BEFORE REPOSSESSION PROCEEDINGS START?

If your arrears build up from month to month, your lender will eventually apply to the courts for a repossession order.

While Royal Bank of Scotland has gone furthest in announcing that it will wait six months after the first arrears before beginning proceedings, other lenders say that in practice they are unlikely to act much more quickly.

Halifax, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, says that if borrowers have contacted the bank about their problems in good time, it will very rarely start proceedings before six months. HSBC, meanwhile, said its low number of repossessions – 174 in the first six months of this year – allowed it to deal with arrears on a case-by-case basis.

The bank added, however, that in certain cases it would repossess before three months have passed – although this would be when repossession was in the borrower's interest, such as when a formal repossession order was needed to support a claim for social housing.

Barclays said: "Our conservative, tailored approach to lending and outreach efforts to keep customers in their homes have resulted in our low repossession rate, with only a small number of our customers in substantial arrears. Therefore, it would make little difference to our customers if we changed our repossession policy from three to six months."

jeffrey
03-03-2010, 11:35 AM
Plus:
a. a long-leaseholder mortgagor in mortgage arrears is probably also
b. a long-leaseholder in service charge arrears;
so the reversioner may also seek to forfeit the long lease.

trill
03-03-2010, 12:02 PM
Firstly it take a long time before a period of arrears results in a reposession hearing (about two years) so don't worry too much

If your landlord has "authority to let" in other words he has a proper BTL mortgage, then the lender has to honour the term of the contract althought they can impliment any break clauses if available but will need to honour the notice periods.

If the LL does not have Authority to let you as a tenant have no rights at all and in theory could be evicted by ballifs with no notice although unlikley.... However lenders are required to write to "The Occupier" when they issue notice of court proceedings. From this point you have roughly two to three months to get out if the lender is successful in court. This letter will also invite you to participate in the hearing and express your view, so for example if you were about to have a new baby the judge may chose delay the reposession date until the baby was born reached a certain age.

It is essential you open all mail addressed to the "the occupier" regardless of whether you think it is junk mail.

Is there a discrete way of finding out if the LL has Authority to let? It may seem like a strange question to ask the letting agent as you've been there for six months already and they may suspect you've been opening his letters. Perhaps you could ask in a roundabout way, eg. is the property available for an ongoing tenancy after your initial fixed term?

jeffrey
03-03-2010, 12:13 PM
T should go over the heads of L and L's Letting Agent, by writing direct to L's mortgagee.

Telometer
03-03-2010, 12:23 PM
You shouldn't be sending your L's mail "return to sender". You should be forwarding it to the letting agent.

matthew_henson
03-03-2010, 13:19 PM
As far as I aware there is no way of finding out the LL authority to let other than opening their mail. In our case our 3 year old daughter accidentally opened a large envelope and so we had contact details and account numbers.

When we tried to speak to the lender they refused to talk to us so we emailed the solicitor acting for the lender. They replied saying the LL had no authority to let but that they could not even acknowledged we existed.

As Jeffrey suggested write to the Lender but if the LL has no authority to let the lender has in effect the power to do as they please. A Judge may apply discretion regarding the timing of the order but typically a repossession hearing is requested when most other options have been exhausted so most are successful. Even if the LL does have authority the lender can use ground 2 Schedule 2 of the 1988 HA to terminate the tenancy but would need to apply for a court order.

BTW Mrs Mugs... Agreed, I assumed the LL/owner would attempt to reach agreement on the arrears, where the owner simply stops paying of course six months is very realistic

ram
03-03-2010, 13:20 PM
You shouldn't be sending your L's mail "return to sender". You should be forwarding it to the letting agent.

Thought for the day.

you should also be charging the LA or landlord for forwarding his letters if he cant be bothered to spend £7.65 per month for his mail redirection.

Why should a tenant have to bear this expense. So if you have to redirect any mail, charge £7.65 every month you redirect. ( Yes, it's your time, and inconvenience walking in the rain / ( snow recently ) to the pillar box

islandgirl
03-03-2010, 13:38 PM
I would certainly be having a peek at what was in some of them too - yes I know people will say it is wrong but it is better to know....

matthew_henson
03-03-2010, 13:46 PM
Repossession orders are managed by a solicitor not the lender

The bigger solicitors frank their mail with the name of their firm, check the company names on google and then "let the dog open it" by accident ;)

Hot Tip 1.... If you have children, they typically open evelopes with big tears and not just open the flap.

Hot Tip 2.... The steam wand on a coffee machine is great for opening envelopes but when you re-seal it looks wrinkly and opened, accidentally dropping the envelope in a muddy puddle will hide this

Opening mail that is not address to you is a criminal offence

ross
05-04-2010, 23:04 PM
hi all,

after reading this thread it reminded me of a similar situation i was thrown in. my 3yr old opened the post one of which was addressed to my LL. they were building insurance documents of cover, payment etc. everything was in order except it said property type: 'NOT TO LET'?? i felt guilty reading this information as it is a criminal offence and since have done nothing about it.
i did not know how to go about this and felt LL will shoot himself in the foot when it comes to claiming, or should i report him?

like to hear your views on this Jeffery??

also it is wrong to say it is a criminal offence to open someone else's post who does not reside at your address, is it not a criminal offence to give incorrect information to insurance company or mortagee??

Ericthelobster
06-04-2010, 07:46 AM
As Jeffrey suggested write to the Lender but if the LL has no authority to let the lender has in effect the power to do as they please. A Judge may apply discretion regarding the timing of the order but typically a repossession hearing is requested when most other options have been exhausted so most are successful. Even if the LL does have authority the lender can use ground 2 Schedule 2 of the 1988 HA to terminate the tenancy but would need to apply for a court order.I suggest it's almost a given that in the OP's case, the LL will also have no authority to let. The fact that the lender's mail is coming to the property indicates that the mortgage was definitely a residential one originally; if the LL had discussed changing it to a BTL (thereby incurring himself increased monthly payments), then don't we think that the borrower's address on file might have been corrected somewhere along the way?).

This is unfortunately not good news for the OP, has has been discussed, as the lender can repossess faster; however at least know he knows what's going on. He should certainly contact the lender as matthew advises; far better that they are aware; and agreed, look out for any 'Occupier' letters. Don't worry at all about 'accidentally' opening that letter - really not an issue. The lender will be glad you did so, and the LL will never know you did (or be able to prove it) and if he did - so what? He's got bigger things to worry about.

Open question to the forum - is there any mileage in the OP attempting to negotiate with the lender direct, paying rent money to them instead of the LL, thereby keeping down the mortgage arrears n return for being able to stay in the property a bit longer? Or is that approach fraught with issues...

justaboutsane
06-04-2010, 08:27 AM
I know of quite a few properties that are let from the lender now. Some lenders even have their own teams for this situation and are lending property out rather than it sitting empty.

Its worth asking... if you don't ask you don't get!!!

dominic
06-04-2010, 15:30 PM
You shouldn't be sending your L's mail "return to sender". You should be forwarding it to the letting agent.

Perhaps out of courtesy, but legally only if required to do so under the tenancy agreement.