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bsx043
05-03-2010, 16:55 PM
Hi, I am new to this forum and need urgent help and advice on seeking possession of my property managed by a letting agent.

I signed an AST in 2006 with the tenant, witnessed by the agent (who still holds the tenant’s deposit). The letting agent’s address is served on the tenancy, not mine. The AST was renewed (on my behalf) by the agent in 2007 and 2008, but not renewed last year due to emerging problems with the tenant. A Section 21(4)(a) was served on the tenant which has expired. Court papers have not been served yet. The agents have handled things so far on my behalf, but not efficiently.

The tenant has been taking advantage of the situation by paying rent in bits and pieces since last July. He has been paying almost regularly for three years before, but his circumstances changed last year. First, his partner is now separated from him (the AST was signed solely with him). Second, he lost his job last year and is supposedly claiming housing benefit but, I believe, also working. The tenant sought help from the agent to make a claim for housing benefit (which hasn’t been forthcoming to the agent). He now owes over four month’s rent in total, and has stopped paying since mid February. The situation has also worsened because he has got one or two mates living in the house too, and has changed locks.

Frankly, in view of the tenant’s problems, the agent advised me a few months ago that the best course of action was to seek possession via the Section 21 route rather than Section 8, and I faithfully followed his advice. Section 8 notice has not been served.

The agent has been assuring me that I have a straightforward case for repossession under Section 21 (accelerated route). However, after visiting him last week and collecting all the documents, I was horrified to learn that he hasn’t protected the tenant’s deposit. Furthermore, I now feel that with knowledge provided by this forum, things could have been done differently in order to reduce my losses.

The agents are still managing my property and generally I have a good working relationship, but the downside is that I have been relying on their advice and information (their office being very close to my let property while I live over 100 miles away).

Over the past week I have been wondering how best to proceed to recover possession and unpaid rent if possible. I stumbled on this forum after desperately seeking information and now need advise please. Do I have a case against the agent?

I think the tenant is determined to hang out for as long as it takes with little hope of paying any more rent. How do I go from here in possessing my property?

bsx043
05-03-2010, 20:48 PM
Eagarly awaiting someone to shed some light on my problem. Specifically,

1. Do I as the landlord (or the agent holding the deposit) need to protect the tenant's deposit with TDS?

2. Is S21 Notice invalid as the tenant's deposit is not protected, bearing in mind that the tenancy was initially created in 2006, but renewed in 2007 and 2008?

3. Is it better to pursue possession via the Section 8 route with a claim for rent arrears in case there is a counter claim for 3 x deposit later?

I will leave aside my case with the agent for later as the priority is to claim possession, though would appreciate any feedback, thanks.

jennie62
05-03-2010, 20:54 PM
I have had a similar problem and a solicitor sorted it very efficiently.

I sacked my agent under the circumstances and placed it in the hands of a solicitor as I found the lease and gaurantor had forged signatures( how can that happen , you ask??) but I would advise to try to maintain communication with your agent and use a solicitor as well. Mine cost 345 GBP but was well worth it. Th agent will probably be releived.

If the section 21 1 b has expired, you can go for mandatory possession order. I said I was moving back into the property, so the order was granted in 14 days without a hearing. I did move back in it for about 3 weeks until it was sold !. No one checks if you move back in it or not.

Although I had grounds for a section 8 repossession, be careful of going down that route. My tenant was also on some sort of benefits,( managed to get disability living allowance) for a bad back while also working driving a large van and working as a removalist. !!

They can delay court appearances on medical grounds and possession orders can tae 42 days, not just 14 days. If they can prove that they cannot get another lease through cancil or housing authority, the courts dont have to evict. This can go on for 6 months or more and I have heard of one similar case being repossesed in these circumstances.

The mandatory possession is an order of 14 days and without a hearing, if they do not vacate, its 14 days and then bailiff time.

It is far less stressful and you dont have to go to court. The solicitor makes the application and as they dont get a hearing, there is little they can do to delay things,

Good advice,,,,, move back in it for two weeks, take one sofa, one bed , one fridge,

bsx043
05-03-2010, 22:49 PM
Jennie62,

Thanks for the advice, going for possession through the no fault Section21 route is obviously safer, but I wonder whether the Notice already served is invalid in view of the fact the tenant's deposit was not protected upon renewal of the tenancy in 2007/2008.

Maybe an expert on these matter should be able to throw some light.