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shotgram
27-10-2011, 08:02 AM
I intend to issue a Section 8 Notice. I have the following reasons to terminate – please advise which (all?) I should put on Notice

1. Rent is eight weeks in arrears (rent is (was!) paid at four weekly intervals – so two payments have been missed.
2. Tenant will not allow me access to inspect. Does not answer telephone, does not reply to text message, last time I went round (having given him written notice) he was in but would not open door.
3. Cannot open door – suspect he may have changed locks. Again Tenancy Agreement says he’s not allowed to do that without my permission.
4. Tenant will not co-operate with contractor to get roof fixed. (Although I gave him written notice that I was coming with contractor to get work done. Contractor climbed onto roof and did work but neither I nor he entered the house).
5. He has not maintained garden – back is completely overgrown, front not much better.
6. I have reason to believe (from what neighbours tell me) that he has not actually been living there for a month. Tenancy agreement says “Ending the Tenancy ……… if the Premises shall be left unoccupied for more than 28 days without the consent of the Landlord the Landlord may give written Notice to the Tenant that the Landlord seeks possession of the premises”. From what I am told he (or someone else) comes back to pick up post from porch and then goes.

I understand that once the Section 8 is issued I can then apply to courts for possession within 14 days. But my question is this. I have already issued a Section 21 which expires on 21 December. Will it be any quicker/cheaper to take action via Section 8 or Section 21. Do the courts take action straightaway or is there a delay (some say two months) before court gives me possession – or is it better to just wait for Section 21 to expire, enter property (as I suspect he won’t be there) and just change locks as his tenancy will have ended anyway?

His furniture is still there – tenancy agreement says he is liable for rent until it is removed and or storage/disposal.

My biggest problem is that I think he is staying with his son but don’t know his address and can’t see it on 192.com. Probably could find out (with a bit of detective work) so what I would want to do is take furniture and leave it at his son’s address. Alternatively I do have address which was on original Tenancy Agreement (think it was his brother) but do not know if his brother still lives there. What is my position re this?

If he would just communicate with him I would be happy just for him to give me keys back, give me written notice to surrender and call it a day – but can’t do anything if I cannot speak to him.

Any advice anyone?

Thanks

Snorkerz
27-10-2011, 11:23 AM
Rent is eight weeks in arrears (rent is (was!) paid at four weekly intervals – so two payments have been missed.Usualy, if a tenant has 2 months unpaid (not arrears) then that is a mandatory ground for eviction. Unfortunately, 4 weekly rent is not covered by section 8, ground 8 so you will have to rely on grounds 10 & 11 which are at the judges discretion. TBH, I'd expect the judge to grant possession in this case, but there is no guarantee.


2. Tenant will not allow me access to inspect. Does not answer telephone, does not reply to text message, last time I went round (having given him written notice) he was in but would not open door.The tenant does not have to grant you access - he pays for exclusive occupation. You could, of course, get a court order, but that will take time and money. If the tenancy agreement says he should grant you access, then you can add ground 12 to your section 8 claim to give it a little extra oomph.


3. Cannot open door – suspect he may have changed locks. Again Tenancy Agreement says he’s not allowed to do that without my permission.Shouldn't be trying to open door! You can add it as a ground 12, but don't expect it to make much difference. Most residential insurance contents policies are invalid if somone else has a key.


4. Tenant will not co-operate with contractor to get roof fixed. (Although I gave him written notice that I was coming with contractor to get work done. Contractor climbed onto roof and did work but neither I nor he entered the house).So his non-cooperation did not pervent you effecting the repair?


5. He has not maintained garden – back is completely overgrown, front not much better.Not an issue until the end of the tenancy - his obligation is to return it to you in a similar state to when left (excl fair wear and tear). Technically, he could get someone in and it will be pristine at the end of the tenancy - yes, I know it is extremel unlikely.


6. I have reason to believe (from what neighbours tell me) that he has not actually been living there for a month. Tenancy agreement says “Ending the Tenancy ……… if the Premises shall be left unoccupied for more than 28 days without the consent of the Landlord the Landlord may give written Notice to the Tenant that the Landlord seeks possession of the premises”. From what I am told he (or someone else) comes back to pick up post from porch and then goes.If you can prove that the tenancy address is no longer his primary residence then the tenancy is no longer an AST and as such section 8 & 21 no longer apply. You would still need a court order to evict though and you would use the quoted contract term in those circumstances. Probably easier to proceed as though the tenant is in residence.


I understand that once the Section 8 is issued I can then apply to courts for possession within 14 days. But my question is this. I have already issued a Section 21 which expires on 21 December. Will it be any quicker/cheaper to take action via Section 8 or Section 21. Do the courts take action straightaway or is there a delay (some say two months) before court gives me possession – or is it better to just wait for Section 21 to expire, enter property (as I suspect he won’t be there) and just change locks as his tenancy will have ended anyway?You can not just eter the property at the end of the s21 - it does not bring the tenancy to an end, and with furniture still in situ you could not even claim abandonment (a risky strategy anyway). Changing the lock could easily result in a claim for illegal eviction (£5k fine, 6 months prison, criminal record).

If you submit your s8 in the next few days, and commence proceedings in Mid November, it is unlikely you'd get a court date before the new year (depends how busy your local county court is). The judge will give a minimum of 14 days for the tenant to leave. If tenants goods are still in the property, you'd need to organise court bailiffs, (who again are very busy in most areas) so that may take until end Feb/Start March.

If you submit your s21 paperwork on expiry, it will probably not result in a decision until late January. Again 14 days minimum time to leave, so an s21, although guaranteed possession, is likely to run a week or two longer than an s8.


His furniture is still there – tenancy agreement says he is liable for rent until it is removed and or storage/disposal.That makes sense and would be taken as a sign of the tenancy being ongoing.


My biggest problem is that I think he is staying with his son but don’t know his address and can’t see it on 192.com. Probably could find out (with a bit of detective work) so what I would want to do is take furniture and leave it at his son’s address. Alternatively I do have address which was on original Tenancy Agreement (think it was his brother) but do not know if his brother still lives there. What is my position re this?Do not touch the tenants belongings - dumping them at any arbitary address without permission is much much more likely to result in an illegal eviction claim. The tenancy continues until the tenant surrenders the property or you get a court order.

shotgram
27-10-2011, 12:52 PM
So if at the end of the expiry of the Section 21 on the day that I have advised him that I wish to meet him at the property to check him out, go through inventory and for him to give the keys back, if he does not show (as I suspect he won't) then I have to apply for a court order to gain possession. Presumably at some stage we have to attend County Court - but what if he does not show and we still think he is not living in the property? When we eventually get possession and bailiffs come to evict him take his furniture out etc what do they do with it? Presume at this stage we can change locks.

Landlord's insurance is due for renewal early January - what do I tell them?

Also what is the position with regard to landlord's insurance. This says property should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 days. Is is best to say nothing as we do not have proof that he is not living there other than what neighbours tell me (although I do think this is the case). Presume that insurance company would want me to inspect regularly, turn off gas, electricity etc - but how can I do that if I am not allowed in?

Also I presume that as long as he (technically) has possession, he is still liable to pay rent? As he is on Housing Benefit presumably this should still be paid directly to me until such time as I have possession?

Thanks for your advice so far.

Snorkerz
27-10-2011, 13:13 PM
So if at the end of the expiry of the Section 21 on the day that I have advised him that I wish to meet him at the property to check him out, go through inventory and for him to give the keys back, if he does not show (as I suspect he won't) then I have to apply for a court order to gain possession. Yes, bcause s21 does not end the tenancy.


Presumably at some stage we have to attend County Court - but what if he does not show and we still think he is not living in the property?s21 is unlikely to involve court hearing. If he is not living at the property you get into the realms of 'can the court grant possession under s21' (technically - no) but only the tenant is going to raise the issue, and he doesn't sound as if he will.


When we eventually get possession and bailiffs come to evict him take his furniture out etc what do they do with it? Presume at this stage we can change locks.You can store it at tenants expense or leave it in the property. If you do the latter, you have to make it available to the tenant on request. This article will gie you a basic idea http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/uncollected_goods.htm

Yes, once bailiffs have given you possession, you can change locks.


Landlord's insurance is due for renewal early January - what do I tell them?

Also what is the position with regard to landlord's insurance. This says property should not be left unoccupied for more than 30 days. Is is best to say nothing as we do not have proof that he is not living there other than what neighbours tell me (although I do think this is the case). Ask your insurer - a simple 'tenancy is continuing but tenant doesn't seem to be in residence' should suffice.


Presume that insurance company would want me to inspect regularly, turn off gas, electricity etc - but how can I do that if I am not allowed in?You can't.


Also I presume that as long as he (technically) has possession, he is still liable to pay rent? Correct


As he is on Housing Benefit presumably this should still be paid directly to me until such time as I have possession?No, he will not be entitled to HB if he is not living there. Any HB paid to you for periods he is not there is likely to be recovered from you by the council.