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lillyanne
30-09-2011, 18:50 PM
Hi,

Can anyone help with some advice for us.

We have a tenant who has been in our property for 18mths, initally on a 12 mths shorthold with 6 mths break and then they renewed to stay for a further 6 mths (taking it to 18), however we have been getting some problems.

1. They are never contactable
2. Late rent payments
3. Refused to set up direct debit
4. Sent several contracts in SAE never returned the most recent so are out of contract by 6 mths.
5. House exterior gardens really bad, overgrown

The Latest as of today is - Full rental arrears (6 weeks), no contact, also permenant refusing entry (even though 24 hrs notice). We have now served them a section 8 as they are out of contract.

Any advice would be great as the law seems to be all about tenants and we have been nothing but accomodating in the past, offering to set up payment plans before, have pets, reducing the rent when they first moved in as they were "friends of friends".

Thanks in advance

Pete and Bex.

theartfullodger
30-09-2011, 18:57 PM
................


1. They are never contactable

How often are you contacting them & where (eg 4 times a day at work would not be good news - for you...)
2. Late rent payments
- what is the rent/month and how much is currently outstanding, please??
- has there been a pattern of late payments, if so how much for how long, please??

3. Refused to set up direct debit
- What does the tenancy say - and are you sure you are in a position to do DDs?? (rather than say, SOs??). eg does tenancy say "rent payable only by DD" or does it say simply "rent payable on xth of month of £xxx...."

4. Sent several contracts in SAE never returned the most recent so are out of contract by 6 mths.
- T is perfectly entitled to continue on rolling on, SPT, arrangement. You clearly appreciate they still have a tenancy, still have a contract??


5. House exterior gardens really bad, overgrown

What does tenancy say about garden & how is it mentioned on inventory/shown on photies shared with tenant??

The Latest as of today is - Full rental arrears (6 weeks), no contact, also permenant refusing entry (even though 24 hrs notice). We have now served them a section 8 as they are out of contract.
- They are perfectly entitled to refuse you entry to their home, their property (just your investment..). What grounds did you have stated on paperwork for S8 please??

Cheers!!

Snorkerz
30-09-2011, 19:02 PM
1. They are never contactableHardly a breach of tenancy

2. Late rent paymentsok

3. Refused to set up direct debitPretty much an unenforceable clause - maybe their bank account doesn't allow Direct Debits. Unless you are a large organisation, I suspect YOU couldn't accet DD anyway.

4. Sent several contracts in SAE never returned the most recent so are out of contract by 6 mths.They have no obligation to sign a new contact. They are not 'out of contract', they have a statutory periodic tenancy as provided by section 5 of the 1988 Housing Act.

5. House exterior gardens really bad, overgrownTheir only obligation is to return the property to you in the condition it was let. Until the end of the tenancy, it's not an issue.


also permenant refusing entry (even though 24 hrs notice).As is their right.


We have now served them a section 8 as they are out of contract.Which schedule 2 grounds have you used?

Okay, so you want them out :)

I suspect section 8 is not the way forward, but can you answer these questions?

When did the last tenancy agreement begin (exactly)
It was for 12 months, was there an end date?
Is rent paid monthly?
How much is the monthly rent?
How much is currently unpaid?
Is the tenant on Housing Benefit?
Did the tenant pay a Deposit / is it protected?

LesleyAnne
30-09-2011, 19:08 PM
They are still in contract - legally there is no need to ever sign a replacement contract as once the initial fixed term expires, they automatically get a statutory periodic tenancy, so the fact they have not sent any new contract back means nothing.

As mentioned above, does the contract insist on a DD, as I'm not sure if this is actually enforceable. You probably mean a standing order anyway.

Also, what does contract state about the maintenance of the garden? Is it stipulated that it is the tenant's responsibility?

Regarding your notice, you need to be very careful about wording and the grounds used. What did you state on the Notice?

Tenants are totally within rights to refuse access - they can even legally change the locks if they choose. How often have you been trying to contact them - if you are pestering too much, be wary of falling foul of harrassment laws!

Your last words sum it up - never make allowances for friends or friends of friends - sure recipe for disaster. Only 1 scenario that can be worse than this is letting to family!

You are correct that the law seems to be all about tenants, but so long as you are doing everything right, the laws will work on your side too.

Just to confirm a few points:

Is tenancy in England/Wales?
When did it start?
Did you take a deposit? If so is it protected in a government scheme?
Is rent paid monthly or weekly?

lillyanne
30-09-2011, 19:30 PM
Thanks for all your help.

Yes, I did mean a standing order but I can overlook this if its not important.

The original tenancy started 10th Feb 2010 and ended 12 mths later, they never resigned a contract after several contracts being sent.

The tenancy is in England.

Rent is monthly.

We also have a clause in the contract that is the rent is late by 7 days or more then 3% per day can be charged can I use this?

Yes, deposit is protected.

The contract also states that the exterior must be kept tidy, overgrown bushes, hedges etc, windows cleaned, its clearly stated and signed.

Contact since lateness began 2 calls a week max not too much at all and now they insist only contact them on e-mail to which they are not replying.

Snorkerz
30-09-2011, 19:34 PM
3% per day is probably unenforceable under the "Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations" it's an APR of over 1000% - are you sure the contract says 'per day', if not it would be assumed to be per annum - still 6 times the Bank of England rate, but enforceable.

See this article (by a Tenancy Relations Officer) regarding chasing for rent http://www.property118.com/index.php/dont-shoot-the-messenger/18129/

Can you add to the answers in post 5:

When did you serve the section 8 notice?
What grounds did you cite?

theartfullodger
30-09-2011, 19:36 PM
Do you want to keep them as tenants if they change their ways (unlikely...??)?? If not, I'd suggest....
S21 & eviction if they don't leave on the expiry date (they don't have to as I'm sure you know..).

Have you already served an S21 after serving "prescribed info"??

3% a day ?? 3% of what?? Sounds extortionate... I'd 'umbly suggest the cost of late payments in these days of 1/2% interest rates is so minimal so to be not worth bothering with. You'll appreciate (Google OFT356..) OFT have advised on late payment interest rates (yes, not law, but..)

lillyanne
30-09-2011, 19:47 PM
No, we would like them to leave for sure.

We have only served notice and a section 8 as we are new to this.

The contract says interest on late payment is 3% above base rate per day for any amouns over 7 days. Can we use this to maybe just start the ball rolling as they are just ignoring us.

The contract was tailored by a collegue who lets properties for Chestertons.

Thanks again.

lillyanne
30-09-2011, 19:52 PM
Its says 3% per day above the base rate and the contract came from a reputable Estate Agents in London.

Section 8 was served 16th Sept.

Reasons - Persistant Late Rental payments.

Thanks again.

Snorkerz
30-09-2011, 19:58 PM
Okay, the section 8 ground you gave used is what is known as a discretionary ground. Essentially, the judge is able to make his own decision - is the breach sufficient to warrant making this person homeless? I suspect such an application will fail - but I've been wrong before.

I would recommend you serve a section 21(4)(a) notice with an expiry date of "after 9th December 2011". You would need to serve it by the 9th of October.

There is a section 21 template here: http://www.letlink.co.uk/GeneralInfo/General_possession/S21_4_A.pdf
There is a brief guide here with details of the full process and advice regarding service of the document http://tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/index/ast_tenants_not_in_breach_of_contract/0-37

lillyanne
30-09-2011, 20:03 PM
Ok, I will look into this further, it looks like we have a long road ahead, I can't believe it can take this long - so they can stay until Dec if we serve them a section 21?

I cant believe the UK laws, thank god we are planning on emigrating.

Thanks again

Snorkerz
30-09-2011, 20:04 PM
so they can stay until Dec if we serve them a section 21?
Read the link - they'll probably be there until March/April.

LesleyAnne
30-09-2011, 20:46 PM
Ok, I will look into this further, it looks like we have a long road ahead, I can't believe it can take this long - so they can stay until Dec if we serve them a section 21?

I cant believe the UK laws, thank god we are planning on emigrating.

Thanks again

Only the 2 months notice period expires in December. If they are still there, you then apply to courts for a possession order - another 2 months if you are lucky. If that doesn't shift them, then you get court bailiffs involved, so Snorkerz estimate of April sounds about right!

Snorkerz
01-10-2011, 09:51 AM
I cant believe the UK laws, thank god we are planning on emigrating.If you were a tenant being threatened with eviction through no fault of your own (and I know that's kinda not the case here) you'd be grateful that the law gave you sufficient time to save for & find a new place, thus avoiding your family sleeping on the streets.