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pnm
22-09-2011, 11:28 AM
Hi, I am hoping someone can give some advice on a couple of problems I have.


In April 2009 I rented my house to a young girl who was on benefits she had a 12 month Fixed-Term Assured Shorthold Tenancy, after it expired I didn't renew it and she just carried on living there.

Acouple of months back we had a minor dispute and she didn't want to live there anymore and asked me to evict her, I agreed and served her a Section 21 eviction notice dated 1st August to expire 30th September which she took to the council.

I have someone else waiting to move in so a couple of days ago I rang the tenant to see if she had found anywhere else yet and she replied that she hadn't but had moved most of her stuff into storage and would be moving into her mums until the council re-housed her and we agreed to meet up on the 30th September to hand over the keys.

I notified the new tenant of this and she gave her council notice that she would be moving out of her existing property on the 1st October.

Yesterday the existing tenant sent me a text saying that the council had told her not to hand over the keys or move out until I had obtained a court order, otherwise she would be willingly making herself homeless and they would be under no obligation to re-house her.

I am absolutely furious, is there anything I can do about it.

The second issue I have is I found some info this morning that I can fast track the court order but everything has to be 100%

I have had a look at the eviction notice I gave her and it's a standard section 21 notice and not a section 21 periodic notice, I also accidently put the exprire date as 31st September not 30th.

Will this prevent me from getting a fast track court order and if so what would be the best way to remedy this.

Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to include as much detail as possible and thanks in advance for any advice.

Paul.

Snorkerz
22-09-2011, 14:56 PM
The council have an obligation to rehouse the homeless - but your tenant had no obligation to leave your property at the expiry of the s21 - it is merely a notice telling her that you will go to court to seek possession after it's expiry date.

Don't be over enthusiastic about the 'accelerated' s21 process - it could still take 2 months plus to evict.

However, with a wrong expiry date, the s21 will possibly be invalid - Obviously this is a typo (there not being a 31 Sept) but I think you'd need a non-accelerated s21 so that you can explain that to the judge. I'm not sure of your chances of success.

Can you confirm:
On what date did the last tenancy agreement begin?
How long was it for / did it have an 'end' date?
Did you take a deposit / Is it protected?
What date did you serve (not post) the section 21 notice?
Do you have proof of that?
We'll assume the expiry date to be 31 Sept - but was it 31/9 or "AFTER 31/9"?
Does your s21 mention "section 21(1)(b)" anywhere on it?

Don't be furious - it is you who have made the mistakes, and you now need to look at resolving this in the best way possible.

theartfullodger
22-09-2011, 15:09 PM
The council have an obligation to rehouse the homeless - ...........

Don't be furious - it is you who have made the mistakes, and you now need to look at resolving this in the best way possible.


err.. up to a point...

Council only has to rehouse if punter passes the "5 tests"..

DEFINING HOMELESSNESS
A local housing authority will consider five tests in deciding whether it has a legal duty to
house a person or household presenting as homeless. These tests are:
• Legally homeless
• Eligibility for assistance
• Priority need
• Intentionality
• Local connection

and if punter leaves secure home before they had to they will be found "intentionally homeless", council will say "F*** off" and hello park bench..

Why the harsh tests?? To save money guys,,,,

And it worked these new, civilised, tests.. these are homelessness figures for recent years...

http://i589.photobucket.com/albums/ss338/theartfullodger/Homelessness.jpg

Sadly people who leave when asked (S21 etc..) or, say, were living in Spain, got sick, have no money and come "home", get a big surprise when asking t'council for help...

Snorkerz
22-09-2011, 15:31 PM
The council have an obligation to rehouse the homeless.Fair point Artful - perhapsI should have said they have no obligation to house those who already have a home.

theartfullodger
22-09-2011, 16:50 PM
Apologies, merely wanted to point out the process ..

Best regards

pnm
23-09-2011, 10:36 AM
Hi, thanks for your replies, I'm not a landlord and I don't have any experience about how to best deal with this.

My ex-wife abandoned the house in late 2008 and it just sat empty for several months, this girl approached me wanting to rent it because she wanted to move into the area, she said she needed a tenancy agreement so she could claim housing benefit so I just threw one together for her off the internet, I was just trying to help her out, there was no deposit.

She was planning to live there for the long term, she originally asked me to make the tenancy for 5 years so I didn't anticipate there being any problems or expect at any time that I would ever have to evict her.

It's been a nightmare almost from the start, now she doesn't want to live there anymore and I don't want her living there either, she practically wrecked the house.

The original tenancy started on 1st April 2009 and was for 12 months, it was never renewed and she just continued living there, I didn't know how things worked with the council so in the tenancy I had put rent was to be paid monthly in advance, but the council paid it fortnightly in arrears.


After the latest batch of problems we mutually agreed I would evict her, I wasn't sure how to go about it so I spoke to a housing officer at the council and they told me it had to be served on the next date her rent was due, so I handed it to her on the day her next payment was made, this was in the middle of the June.

A week into July the council rang me and said the eviction notice was invalid because the original tenancy agreement stated rent had to be paid on the first of each month and I would need to serve her on the first of the month, so I posted it through her door on the 1st August as I read somewhere that I didn't need to prove I had sent it.

I didn't anticipate any further problems and just thought the council would re-house her, I only realised I had made mistakes with the eviction when she told me I had to get a court order, it only states section 21 and nothing else.


I'm a single parent and been unemployed for a while and don't have much spare cash, I just want to get her out in the quickest and cheapest way possible, hopefully before christmas and I can't afford for the court to throw out my eviction.

I don't want the responsibilities of being a landlord and my friend as asked if his daughter can rent the house and he will manage the property and any problems for me, which I am happy to do.

she was told that if I had used a solicitor to serve her I wouldn't need get a court order is this true?

Would it be better to just reserve her the correct eviction notice and so removing any possibility of it being thrown out?

If you can give me any advice on how best to remedy the mistakes I made and the eviction to go smoothly, I will be eternally gratefull.

Thanks
Paul

Snorkerz
23-09-2011, 12:08 PM
You can not unilaterally evict anyone who has an AST without a court order.

It is unlikely you will have possession of your property by Christmas.

Even if your friend 'manages' the property, you will still be a landlord had have all the statutory and tax obligations that go with it. From what you describe in your last post, you need to get this person out, and then have a long hard think about what you want to do with the property. Is it mortgaged? Do you have permission to rent? Does the property have an Energy Performance Certificate? Have you had landlords Gas Safety Checks done every year?

The date on an s21 is critical, and proof of service IS required. Therefore I think it would be unwise to attempt to proceed with the existing s21 notice.

You need to issue a notice under section 21(4)(a) of the 1988 Housing Act. If you serve it before the end of the month, it would have an expiry date of "after 30th November 2011". That's the exact wording, including the word 'after'. There is a template here: http://www.letlink.co.uk/GeneralInfo/General_possession/S21_4_A.pdf

You will find more information about how to serve it, and what to do next, here: http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/ast_tenants_not_in_breach_of_contract/0-37

It will probably be the end of January before you have a decision from the court (which should be positive) but the judge will allow a minimum of 14 days for the tenant to leave, and if she still doesn't go, you may have to employ bailiffs (which is more money and time). The council will start taking the claim seriously once they know you have applied to the court with a valid s21, so there is a good chance you won't need to bother with bailiffs.

pnm
23-09-2011, 15:57 PM
Hi, thanks Snorkerz for your good advice and the links I really appreciate it.

Everything is above board, no mortgage etc, I have insurance with British Gas to cover things such as heating, boiler, pipes, electricals etc and they do a yearly service and gas certificate, I don't have an Energy Performance Certificate though, I will have to look into that.

I had a recent visit from a council enviromental health officer, tenant had let an overflow pipe dripping onto an outside wall for months with out saying anything or contacting the British gas number I gave her causing mold to grow all over an entire inside wall, she reported it thinking she would be immediately re-housed, this was the final straw for me, I was ordered to make it good and a couple of other minor repairs.

After the work was done he checked everything out and I asked him if I could relet the house after this tenant had been evicted and he said it would be ok so everything else must be above board.

I also understand my obligations and responsibilities as the owner of the property, I was referring to my friend looking after any day to day issues that might arise.


I do have one more question, you mention serving the section 21 before the end of the month, the council have me believe that I have to serve it on the day the rent falls due, can you clear this up for me.

As you suggested I'm going to serve the section 21 again and this time I want to make sure I do it by the book.

Thanks

Snorkerz
23-09-2011, 16:15 PM
Councils often say the s21 has to coincide with a rent day - it does not.

Section 21(4)(a) says:

that the landlord or, in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them has given to the tenant a notice in writing stating that, after a date specified in the notice, being the last day of a period of the tenancy and not earlier than two months after the date the notice was given, possession of the dwelling-house is required by virtue of this section
This tenancy started on 1st of April and ended on 31st March 2010. From 1st April 2010 your tenant has been on a statutory periodic tenancy, whith each period running from the first day of the month (say 1/4/10) to the last day of the month (30/4/10). Therefore the last day of a period of the tenancy will (in this case) always be the last day of the month.

Nowhere in the legislation does it refer to rent-days.

It is my totally unjustified opinion that it is in the interest of housing departments for landlords to get s21 notices wrong.

pnm
23-09-2011, 18:14 PM
It is my totally unjustified opinion that it is in the interest of housing departments for landlords to get s21 notices wrong.

I don't think I could agree more, looking back I feel quite stupid, a couple of weeks after sending the second section 21, the tenants housing officer contacted me regarding some issues I had raised, she also acknowledged she had recieved the section 21.

She was quite nice and friendly, after finding out I would need to get a court order, it took me less than 24 hours to realise I had probably screwed up on the section 21 and she never said a thing to me during our phone call, she must have been laughing her @rse off at me.

I was stressed out about this, but thanks to your advice I feel there is some light at the end of the tunnel now.

Thank you.