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View Full Version : Tenant breach of contract on 3 counts what's the next move.?



Winnicent
13-04-2010, 12:00 PM
I have a tenant on an AST she has been there six weeks never paid a deposit and hs only paid 50 pound to date leaving her 490 in arrears plus a months deposit.

The room is above a pub that has 3 other tenants and a manager with shared facilities. The tenant assaulted one of the other tenants and was arrested for it the night before last. The really worrying aspect is that the pub has always been quite with no trouble since she has been there she has brought trouble to the pub. The night before last she took a wallet and there are witnesses to the act. The wallet holder brought about 10 people to the pub and it endangered by customers and staff with some injurys. They have since found the tenant and I believe retrieved their money.

She is barred from the pub itself but my staff and other tenants are very worried about her remaining on the premises. I was advised by a solicitor last night to speak to the police who advised me to put the safety of my staff first and they attended to move her on from outside the pub because she was causing a disturbance. However they could not advise me of the tenancy law and what I should do now.

She is in breach on at least three counts but I think I still have to let her reside there even though I know I wont get the rent and it may result in considerable damage to the pub and the people in it.

Can I give her written notice and does it have to be two months.? And do I have to except she will probably live there rent free and make everyone elses life hell.?

jeffrey
13-04-2010, 12:06 PM
Start from basics: you have let premises, but to whom?
Is there:
a. a single letting (of the whole of the premises) to several people; or
b. a separate letting for each person?

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 12:12 PM
I have let a room with a standard AST purchased from WHSmiths that states shared facilities and common areas.

there is a separate AST for each tenant/lodger.

The tenant in question is apparently on disability allowance and I believe has had some payment from the DSS but has not passed it on.

My main concern is getting her out before there is any further damage or anyone else gets hurt.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 12:33 PM
I have looked at money claim online can I start aclaim if the tenant still has occupancy and will it affect being able to give notice. Is it a Section 21 notice that is given if there is a breach of contract.?

jeffrey
13-04-2010, 12:34 PM
I have let a room with a standard AST purchased from WHSmiths that states shared facilities and common areas.

there is a separate AST for each tenant/lodger.

The tenant in question is apparently on disability allowance and I believe has had some payment from the DSS but has not passed it on.

My main concern is getting her out before there is any further damage or anyone else gets hurt.
You say 'lodger'; do you live there too? If so, she does not have a tenancy (even though you used an AST form); the 1988 Act would not apply either.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 12:39 PM
I'm registered there and stay occassionally. I actually rented the rooms recently so I could afford to rent a house that became available across the road that had a private garden and move into it on the 1st may so at the moment yes I'm considered to live there.

Does that make a difference.?

westminster
13-04-2010, 12:50 PM
I'm registered there and stay occassionally. I actually rented the rooms recently so I could afford to rent a house that became available across the road that had a private garden and move into it on the 1st may so at the moment yes I'm considered to live there.

Does that make a difference.?
Yes, if the property is your only or principal residence then the 'tenants' are not assured shorthold tenants but lodgers (regardless of the title given to the tenancy agreement). And lodgers can be evicted very easily compared to AST tenants.

But it's not clear whether or not you live there - what do you mean by 'considered to live there'? Do you mean that your bills/bank statements etc are sent to the rental property but in fact you own/rent somewhere else and that's where you actually live? Or do you have your own bedroom at the rental property but just spend most of your time at your partner's home, for example?

westminster
13-04-2010, 12:50 PM
p.s. and were you living there when this tenant first moved in?

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 13:24 PM
I was living on the premises when the tenant moved in.

I have a caravan on the coast and have been staying there for the last few weeks. I have allowed another tenant to have my room as it's bigger and my bed is being moved to a different room should be back there in the next few days.

the caravan is a holiday home not a permanent residence. My registered and postal address is the tenanted address until the 1st May.

I have stayed on the premises during the room switch but have stayed in the bar on the ground floor. I still have access to all areas when I stay there except the private rooms.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 13:34 PM
As it is my main residence does that mean I do not have to let back in when the disturbance of the peace warning given by the police last night expires.?

I stayed at the premises last night but returned to the coast this morning do I need to cut my holiday short and be present at the property in order to be resident.?

westminster
13-04-2010, 13:43 PM
I was living on the premises when the tenant moved in.

I have a caravan on the coast and have been staying there for the last few weeks. I have allowed another tenant to have my room as it's bigger and my bed is being moved to a different room should be back there in the next few days.

the caravan is a holiday home not a permanent residence. My registered and postal address is the tenanted address until the 1st May.

I have stayed on the premises during the room switch but have stayed in the bar on the ground floor. I still have access to all areas when I stay there except the private rooms.

Then I am reasonably sure that your 'tenants' are LODGERS, a.k.a. 'excluded occupiers'.* This means that, to evict this tenant, all you must do is give 'reasonable' notice - either written or verbal - to quit. In the circumstances (I mean, given the woman's awful behaviour) 24 hours notice is reasonable.

If the woman doesn't go (seems likely she won't) then change the locks while she is out (and instruct the other tenants not to let her in when you give them the new keys).

But I'd definitely wait until you have moved back into your room to be certain there is no question that you are a resident landlord - it's possible/likely the police may need to be called when the woman finds she is locked out. You also need to be on hand to deal with this, as she could otherwise convince the police or one of the other tenants that it's an illegal eviction (which it isn't).

Also, you must do this before 1st May, when you stop being resident, as the legal situation might well change at that point.

* Wait for one of our legal bods to confirm this.

westminster
13-04-2010, 13:47 PM
As it is my main residence does that mean I do not have to let back in when the disturbance of the peace warning given by the police last night expires.?

I stayed at the premises last night but returned to the coast this morning do I need to cut my holiday short and be present at the property in order to be resident.?
Sorry, I don't know the ins and outs of a police warning.

But you do have to give 'reasonable' notice, and no notice whatsoever is unlikely to count as reasonable. I would definitely move back in ASAP if that's possible, just in order to give the 24 hours notice & get this woman out ASAP.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 14:02 PM
I've just read a past post of a family with an unwanted family member and the ordeal they had with the police.

I have to say the police have been brilliant it probably makes a difference that I have run a good pub for 10 years know most of them and have their respect.

the 'lodger' was arrested three nights ago for the abuse on another lodger and the attack on one of my customers of the group looking for 'the lodger' was also reported. They were called last night due to concerns for safety of other people in the building. I verbally told the lodger in front of the police that she was not welcome and they advised her to stay away from the property for the night and the police entered her room to acquire some overnight clothes for her.

I think what I will do is give her 24 hours in writing to sort out her stuff and vacate the premises the locks will be changed tomorrow afternoon and i'll offer a 7 day period for her to remove her larger pieces of furniture.

Do I apply to money claim online for the rent can I do this without a forwarding address? and I'm presuming none of her possessions can be held against the unpaid rent.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 14:17 PM
Thank you very much for your help and guidance I was extremely concerned where this may have led to. I have drafted the notice just want to make sure I have done everything correctly.

Notice of eviction of Lodger 'Excluded Occupier'

I hereby give 24 hours notice of eviction of .......... from ....... for the following reasons:

1. Abuse against another lodger
2. Inviting unwanted guests onto the premises that resulted in an assault
3. Rent Arrears of 490 pounds
4. Failure to pay a deposit

..... is no longer a welcome guest in my residence of .......

A reasonable period of 7 days will be allowed for collection of larger items of furniture.


I hope this covers everything I think the rent will be written off as a bad experience. :-( at least she'll be gone.

westminster
13-04-2010, 14:19 PM
I think what I will do is give her 24 hours in writing to sort out her stuff and vacate the premises the locks will be changed tomorrow afternoon and i'll offer a 7 day period for her to remove her larger pieces of furniture.

Do I apply to money claim online for the rent can I do this without a forwarding address? and I'm presuming none of her possessions can be held against the unpaid rent.
You can't chuck out any belongings she leaves behind after 7 days. See
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/uncollected_goods.htm
(There are also many threads on the subject).

As for claiming unpaid rent, does the woman have a work address or do you know anywhere else she goes to frequently? If so, you can serve a claim 'in person' using a process server (you can't post a claim to a work address without the court's permission), but if you do this you can't use MCOL; you'd have to get the claim issued in the county court, and ask to serve it yourself.

Alternatively, you could pay a tracing agent to find her new residential address, assuming you have reasonable details of her identity. Many offer a no-find-no-fee deal and I believe it costs in the region of £75.

Enforcing the CCJ could be even more difficult, though. I'm guessing she is possibly out of work if she's receiving benefits. Either way, she'll be on a low income and if you get paid at all, it'll be in very small installments.

BTW did you get proper reference/credit checks for this woman as it seems unlikely it's the first time she's been in debt or in trouble with the police?

westminster
13-04-2010, 14:30 PM
I have drafted the notice just want to make sure I have done everything correctly.

Notice of eviction of Lodger 'Excluded Occupier'

I hereby give 24 hours notice of eviction of .......... from ....... for the following reasons:

1. Abuse against another lodger
2. Inviting unwanted guests onto the premises that resulted in an assault
3. Rent Arrears of 490 pounds
4. Failure to pay a deposit
There's no official format for a letter giving notice to a lodger, it doesn't even have to be written (but it's probably a good idea in this case, just in case she makes any false allegations against you). However, I would add to the list of reasons that the police arrested her for the abuse/assault on the other lodger, and that the police had to move her on for causing a disturbance of the peace. Not paying a deposit isn't really a good reason - it's more your fault for not insisting on one before you handed over the keys.

Keep a copy of the letter, and give it to the woman in the presence of a reliable witness.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 14:40 PM
I've changed the last sentence to 'a period of 7 days is reasonable for collection of larger items of furniture'

That's not enforcing it just suggesting it would be reasonable to collect the stuff in 7 days.

Hope that's ok

I'm not going to pursue the rent arrears just take it as a lesson learnt.

westminster
13-04-2010, 14:53 PM
I've changed the last sentence to 'a period of 7 days is reasonable for collection of larger items of furniture'

That's not enforcing it just suggesting it would be reasonable to collect the stuff in 7 days.

Hope that's ok
I think you're fine just letting her think she has seven days to collect the stuff. Remember not to let her back in when/if she comes back to collect anything; take the stuff outside and hand it over, keeping the door closed behind you (presume burly bar staff could help shift the larger items?)

westminster
13-04-2010, 14:57 PM
p.s. Just a thought, as you're on such good terms with the police, ask if they can attend when you change the locks.

Also, I should have emphasized this before - you cannot use any physical force to evict this woman. Changing the locks is the only way, so if you have to wait for her to go out, wait.

Winnicent
13-04-2010, 16:24 PM
Plenty of burly bar staff and customers that she's rubbed up the wrong way :)

The police have everything on record if we have a problem I will notify them of what we are doing and why we have the right to do it and give them the option to be there.

We have a feeling one of the other lodgers will let her in as there is a fire exit with a push bar than cannot be locked but if he does I'm assuming I can then serve them both a notice.