A frustrated landlord has told how she feels held to ransom by her non-paying tenant and let down by a slippery letting agency.

The landlord, who currently lives in Dubai, has only had one months’ rent since September after her tenant used two spurious maintenance issues as an excuse.

She tells LandlordZONE: “He’s given me no other reason and I believe he’s working and not claiming benefits. He even told me he knows he’s in breach of his tenancy agreement but doesn’t care.”

Her tenant moved into the one-bedroom flat in Blackheath in 2017 after a large London letting agency promised to take care of the credit checks and monthly £1,250 rent collection.

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Although she was resigned to him being a consistently late payer, the trouble really started last September when he complained about an incorrectly fitted lightbulb in the bathroom and a faulty ventilator.

She’s since paid for an engineer to do an MOT on the ventilator – giving it a clean bill of health – but he’s still not paying rent.

Meanwhile, the letting agent only contacted her in January to alert her to the problem and was so hard to get hold of, despite taking the £1,000 renewal fee from the tenant, she terminated the contract and plans to take them to court.

Collusion

She says: “I actually wonder if they have been in collusion with the tenant to make sure he was less than six months’ in arrears, to prevent an eviction.”

The landlord has now served a Section 8 notice although with the court backlog, has no idea when she might get her flat back.

“It’s hugely frustrating as he has taken full advantage of the Covid rules to hold me to ransom.

“It’s affected my health as I’m so stressed and I’ve not been able to do the charity work I was involved in – buying oxygen cylinders for Indian hospitals – and I still have to pay the mortgage.”

The experience has also put her off the PRS, she adds: “I don’t think I’ll rent the flat out again after this and will either move back in or sell it.”

Find out more about evictions.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I have just been through an almost identical scenario. To give you hope…. I have finally evicted the non paying tenant (1st June) cleared up the filthy mess that he left the place in. Put a coat of paint on the walls, tidied the garden and made all the repairs that were necessary. In just over two weeks!!! It’s now in the market for more than I would have sold it for 6months ago so in my head I am offsetting that against the arrears! Although I still intend to chase him for every Penny owed!
    A year ago, like you, I was allowing it to make me ill until I decided that there was nothing that I could legally do at that stage I must put it to the back of my mind which I successfully did…goodness knows how as the property was once my family home with many happy memories! But I did and the sun came out in the end! The laws to fair landlords is so wrong but the courts came good for me in the end …. it just took way too long! And yes I do feel like a mug!!!

  2. Had I been you I wouldn’t have used a LA.
    I would have taken on only a lodger.

    Charge an inclusive rent.

    No tenancy regulations to comply with beyond that of showing the lodger a gas certificate and providing a TV licence.

    This fraudster tenant is obviously gaming the system ably assisted by a useless LA and that is being generous!

  3. We hear so many stories about dodgy letting agencies. We had a call from a Landlord yesterday who was so stressed out that they were desperate for our help.

    Our job as a letting agent is to support both tenants and landlords, we know the law favours the side of the tenants at the moment and gives them some distinct advantages but this is not fair. But we have to work within the system to make things better and for this poor landlord to be stressing out in Dubai is so sad.

    Please do check who your agents are make sure they care about you and not just about your profits.

    Best of luck

    Boj – My Landlord Cares (ethical letting agency for South Yorkshire)

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