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View Full Version : Tenant has given notice but has arrears. Section 8?



swinefever
29-01-2008, 22:44 PM
Hi all,

I will try to keep this brief because i appreciate your time and any responses! This case relates to my father, who until i intervened, has been a bit of a walkover Landlord.

The AST (one year fixed term, montly rent) finished at the end of October 07. By this time, the tenant had managed to notch up 4 months of arrears. I met up with her towards the end of the tenancy and agreed a reasonable repayment plan, which she was very happy with and signed. The plan required a lump sum payment (of nearly two months rent) on the day she signed it, which she happily paid. For this reason and that other than the rent problems, she had kept the house very well (redecorated nicely etc), she was awarded with another 6 month AST tenancy.

Up to now, she hasn't made a single payment of rent and minimal arrears repayment. On Jan 1st, she posted us a letter giving 8 weeks notice to leave the property (so leaving at the end of Feb 08) and wrote a load of rubbish about not having to pay rent. I responded in writing, reciting the law to shoot down her letter. Also, since this has become a troublesome tenancy, my father decided that he'd accept her notice (despite there being no break-clause in the contract) but the letter made it clear that arrears would be chased through the courts if necessary. The letter asked her to pay the arrears up to December 07 within 14 days or it would be pursued via the Small Claims Track. This time has passed without response.

I get the feeling that she will leave the property without paying a penny and perhaps worse still, she'll remain after the agreed leaving date. Therefore, i am after a bit of advice:

-Should we pursue the arrears up to December 08 via the Small Claims Track(then launch another seperate claim if she deosn't pay due rent up to end of Feb 08)? Or:

-Having accepted her notice to leave, have we forfeited the right to issue a Section 8 Notice (with two weeks notice), so she can be caught by surprise? If not, would a court deem a Section 8 notice unreasonable because we have accepted notice? If we can't issue a Section 8 now, with two weeks notice, then:

-Can we issue her with a Section 8 Notice now (put the earliest proceedings date as Mar 1st 08), so we can start proceedings immediately, should she decide to stay after the agreed leaving date?

From what i have read, if we do serve a Section 8 and then successfully obtain a Possession Order, the Court will normally ask the tenant to pay all arrears. Therefore, the eviction and arrears can be legally achieved in one action and any further claims/warrant action can take root from this. Am i right please, or have i got this wrapped around my head?!

Thank you in anticipation,

Swine

johnboy
30-01-2008, 18:31 PM
The most important thing is to get your property back from this tenant ASAP.

serve section 8 as soon as tenant is 1 month and 1 day in arrears under grounds 8,10,11. Post 1 copy and get proof of postage and deliver 1 by hand with witness if poss.

Also serve section 21 CORRECTLY filled out as back up in same way as above.

As soon as notice expires get youself down the court house and apply for hearing.

Bear in mind if you go down the route of the s8 the tenant could pay some arrears off to get them below the 2 month mark and you cant use the ground 8 route

swinefever
30-01-2008, 19:10 PM
Thanks for your quick reply johnboy. It's sound advice but i have a few more questions and would be grateful if you could answer them:

-Since the tenant has continuing arrears from her last tenancy, can these be included as Ground 8 (arrears of over two months) factors in the notice? This, even though she now has a new 6 month tenancy? If this is the case, then it is unlikely that the tenant will pay off enough of the arrears to fail the Section 8.

-It is highly likely that the tenant will see the Section 8 and leave by the expiry. The deposit will cover February's rent, give or take, so should we just serve the Section 8 and begin seperate proceedings through the Small Claims Track to obtain all the arrears? This may seem like a stupid plan but the logic lies in the fact that, right now, she has a fixed address (the dwelling) and tracking her after she has left could be a troublesome process.

What do we reckon folks?

Thanks,

Swine

johnboy
30-01-2008, 19:53 PM
If you go the s8 route the judge will make an order for the arrears.I dont think it matters that you have given a new contract,that doesnt wipe out the earlier arrears. Just do a spread sheet of all money in and money out with dates to show total arreas since they moved in. That should be good enough for the judge (back it up with reciepts and statements as much as poss)

swinefever
30-01-2008, 21:47 PM
Once again johnboy, thanks for your response.

Though it may seem like an unnecessary step, the reason i want to start Small Claims proceedings as well as issue a Section 8, is that i can begin pursuit of arrears while she is at a definite address.

If she does a bunk before the agreed departure date, i will have to track her new address down before starting a decent claim. That is just adding more steps to an already tiring process.

Reckon this is a sensible way to proceed?

johnboy
31-01-2008, 08:50 AM
I understand your way of thinking and it may have merit but the bottom line is will the tenant pay if you win?????

swinefever
31-01-2008, 20:03 PM
Hi johnboy. You're completely right but it might teach her to not take the piss out of landlord's who try to be reasonable with their tenants. A CCJ will see to that.

Once final question. One of the question's on the Section 8 is:

"The court proceedings will not begin until after:"
(Give the earliest date on which court proceedings can be brought)

I will honour the agreement for her to leave at the end of February. However, the earliest date on which court proceeding can be brought is two weeks from the date of the notice. So should i:

-Put the date as two weeks from the notice? Or..

-The 1st March 08, which is the day after the agreed leaving date?

If i do put two weeks from the day the notice is served, does the notice have any sort of expiry date, after which point a court demands another one is issued?

Thanks,

Swine