View Full Version : Major problem with tenant... now refusing to let me in! Advice please

03-10-2011, 21:28 PM

I have a house that i rent out. The current tenants signed a 6 month lease and 5 months into the lease they gave me a months notice as they had been offered a housing trust property. I was kind and agreed to this and they then asked me to use their deposit (£500) as their final months rent. I also agreed to this.

I put the house back up for rent and they agreed to let any viewers in to have a look.

3 weeks later they contact me to say the house they were meant to be moving to had fallen through and if i didnt have a new tenant, could they stay longer in my house. As we had not found anyone i sad yes and did ask that they stay til at least xmas so as i wasnt left with an empty house during the most expensive time of the year and they agreed to this.

I did say to them however, that i wanted to put the house on the market for sale as i just wanted to get rid of it (after 5 years of crazy tenants!) and they said this was fine.

The house is not officially on the market yet but i have had it valued and the estate agent was due to go in this wednesday to take photos. In the meantime through word of mouth i had 2 couples interested in viewing and the current tenants agreed for me to go round yesterday for the people to view it.

one couple want the house but need to get a deposit together so have agreed to sign a 2 yr lease which i was happy with.

I have tonight emailed the current tenants to give them a months notice (their 6 month lease is up on 15th oct) and they have flipped!

They are saying that i agreed in an email to let them stay til at least xmas, which i did, but is this a legally binding document or can i boot them out when their lease ends??

They agreed for me to put the house up for sale so they would have known that the house could sell quickly (but not really in current situation!!) but its a possibility.

They are now refusing to let me go in the house on wed for the estate agents to take pics as it is meant to be going on the market anyway.

Also where do i stand as they now have no deposit? Obviously if they damage the house then i lose out, i dont think they will do this but if they have no deposit now can i pull them up about this?

Please help as i dont know what to do. Im just a normal person with a house i couldnt sell so i rented it out... im not a professional landlord!!

Thanks in advance!

Baglady :(think):

mind the gap
03-10-2011, 21:36 PM
First, you are legally required to give your tenants TWO months' written notice requiring possession, to expire after the last day of a rental period. The one month's notice you gave them is invalid. You need to start again. Give us the start date of their original AST and we will advise you when the new notice will expire if you serve it now.

Unfortunately, not being a 'proper' landlord is no excuse. You need to be au fait with your tenant's rights whether or not you consider yourself a 'professional'.

The tenant can refuse you access for viewings, etc. - you would have to get a court order to enforce any clause in the contract which allows you to go in for any reason other than dire emergency.

It is best in these circumstances to try to stay on good terms with your T and not force issues, however if things get ugly you may come to regret allowing them to use the deposit as rent. You are dependent on their authorising the DPS to release it to you. Have they done that already?

03-10-2011, 21:48 PM
Agree with everything MTG has said. You have to issue correct S21 notice as tenants have a right to "flip" if you don't. Even then, after the required 2 months has expired, tenants do not have to leave. S21 is not notice to quit, it is notice that you are seeking possession. If they don't move, to gain legal possession means a court order, which could take another 2-3 months, so you will be lucky if your tenants are indeed out before Christmas!

Tenants are totally within their rights to refuse you access, and any viewings by agents or prospective buyers. They can even change the locks if they choose. It is also wise to get the property empty before you try to sell, as if tenants refuse to budge, you would lose any potential buyers very quickly!

Whether you are a professional or not, you are a landlord, and therefore need to abide by all the legal obligations covering tenancy law. A template for the notice document you need is available on the Documents section of this website. As MTG says, in order to get the dates etc correct on the notice document (failure to do this could see it thrown out at the court stage), please confirm when the tenancy started - exact date?

03-10-2011, 21:56 PM
Thanks for your help... much appreciated.

The start date of the agreement was 15th April 2011 and is a 6 month agreement.

I am trying to keep it amicable but the tenant is not! It would appear that as a landlord i basically have no rights??

mind the gap
03-10-2011, 21:59 PM
Thanks for your help... much appreciated.

The start date of the agreement was 15th April 2011 and is a 6 month agreement.

I am trying to keep it amicable but the tenant is not! It would appear that as a landlord i basically have no rights??

Yes, you have a right to seek possession of your property using the correct legal procedure.

If you serve a section 21 notice tomorrow, the earliest date it can expire is 'after 14th December'.

03-10-2011, 22:15 PM
ok thanks... so if i issue an S21 tomorrow, this will take them (almost) up to what we agreed in an email (xmas)...

Can they refuse this in anyway? I they stop paying rent i can enter the house after 14 days?

Also on the original lease it states that they should not have pets in the property without prior consent. When i was in the house on sunday i noticed they had hamsters... is this a breach of the contract? Clutching at straws i know but worth a go!!

03-10-2011, 22:23 PM
You cannot enter the property at all without permission from the tenants or a court order. What purpose would entering after 14 days achieve anyway? Do not feel tempted to remove the tenant in any other than the legal route, as illegal eviction carries hefty fines, and even a prison sentence. Also, do not persist in trying to contact the tenant and pestering them to leave, as they could counterclaim for harrassment!

Read my post above - the S21 gives the tenants notice that you are seeking possession. It must be filled out with the expiry date stated exactly as MTG says "after 14 December". Once this expires, you still do not have right of entry, and the tenants still do not have to leave. If they don't you then go to court for a possession order, and if they ignore this, you need to employ bailiffs to get them to leave.

Send 2 copies of the notice, by normal post from 2 different post offices, keeping free proof of posting for each one. Sending this way first class, the notice is deemed as "served" 2 working days after posting. DO NOT send by recorded or signed for delivery route, as this can be refused by the tenant.

There are many posts here about pet clauses in tenancy agreements, and it is felt they are largely unenforceable. Obviously if the pet caused damage to the property, you would be entitled to take a deduction from the deposit to put this right, but as tenants have already sacrificed the deposit, then this is not an option. However, on a plus side it is unlikely a hamster will cause any serious issues!

03-10-2011, 22:31 PM
excellent thanks for the advice. I will get the ball rolling. I honestly dont think there will be a problem getting them out as they are looking to move closer to their sons school anyway, so i guess if i contact them to say they can stay til xmas but as a matter of legality i will be issuing the s21 and see what happens.

Yeah i thought the hamster thing would be a long shot. They have been really good tenants to be honest and i feel that if they were honest with me from the start (ie they werent planning on staying long) then all this could have been avoided... and yes i should have been more up on my landlord/tenant rights. And i am very foolish for letting them use their deposit but that was because they said they were leaving. Silly me eh!

Thanks again.

03-10-2011, 22:38 PM
With respect, you either want them out or you don't. If you contact them offering to extend the tenancy, then issue them an S21 anyway, this will upset the issue even more.

I would issue to S21, have no more contact or conversations with them for the moment and let things lie for now. Once the S21 expires in December, you should have a better idea if they are going to leave of their own accord, or you will need to persue court action.

If you pander to them now, what is going to happen when Christmas comes and they give you another sob story wanting to stay longer again?

Just out of interest, as you seem to be lacking some knowledge of the rules and regs of letting, can I ask if you have abided by some of the other requirements:

Do you have a mortgage, if so, consent to let from the lender or is it on BTL terms?
Insurance - have you changed this to a landlord based policy?
Gas safety certificate for boiler and any appliances in the property?
Energy performance certificate?
Have you been declaring your rental income for tax?
I appreciate the deposit is now gone, but did you protect it in a government scheme?

04-10-2011, 06:42 AM
OP sorry, but your attitude is contemptible. You promised your tenants they could stay until christmas and you then start saying you 'have no rights' when you try to force them to move out from their home earlier. You're the type that gives landlords a bad name, more so because you think what you're doing is perfectly justifiable.

If I were your tenants I'd argue there was extension to the fixed term tenancy until after Christmas, preventing you from gaining possession until that point. This is based on your oral agreement when you asked them to stay for that long. You're just lucky if your tenants aren't legally knowledgeable enough to raise that argument.