Date of Issue: 13th January 2010
Over the past 12 months Landlord Action, a company specialising in tenant eviction, has seen a 15% increase in the number of overcrowding cases they are dealing with, with more cases in London than anywhere else in the country which, they believe, is a direct result of the recession.
Paul Shamplina, director and co-founder, explains, “the most common cases appear to be organised gangs looking for an easy money making scam. They take out a tenancy and then sublet to multiple occupants. The worst case we have dealt with was a three bedroom, one bathroom, semi detached house in North London which was found to have had 53 occupants, all illegal immigrants.
There were mattresses literally littering the floors from wall to wall in every available space. The sanitation issues were stretched to say the least. Another case was of a lady who had a lovely two bedroom flat in Victoria. Her tenant paid six months up front but she later discovered that 18 sets of bunk beds had been put into her property and it was being used as a youth hostel. A website in China was offering students visiting London accommodation at £20 per night. ”
Paul’s recommendation to landlords is to ensure that they have a good relationship with neighbours or caretakers so that anything untoward is brought to their attention as soon as possible. Most cases are reported by vigilant observers who often complain about noise levels or disrepair to the property due to excess occupants. Depending on what available time and resources the local police have, they don’t always want to get involved, often classing it as a civil matter.
If a landlords only option is to deal with the issue themselves, he has a stark warning, “if a landlord suspects subletting is happening in the property, whilst I would advise that the sub tenants are spoken to directly to clarify the situation as they may well be unaware of the circumstances themselves, a landlord should never accept payment direct from this source as this would be seen to be giving them authority to be in residence.
I would suggest that, if they are happy for them to remain, they cut out the middle man by going through the proper procedures to have the tenancy negated, then draw up a new tenancy for each resident. Under no circumstances should they accept payment of rent until the matter is sorted.”
He also recommends that both landlords and tenants use a reputable letting agency and landlords use a referencing company. Both parties should ensure that they are dealing with someone who is actually who they say they are by insisting on seeing photo ID and, in the tenants case, proof that the property is available for rent by the legitimate owner. If a landlord does decide to handle it themselves, they should ensure that due diligence is carried out.
Landlord Action is a UK based tenant eviction trouble shooting agency, focused on helping landlords with bad tenants, problem tenants and tenant evictions.
Landlord Action was set up by landlords for landlords, offering Landlords fixed fees to evict bad tenants nationwide, with a free advice line. Landlord Action have successfully evicted 15,000 bad tenants since the company started in 1999.
Paul Shamplina is co founder and co director of Landlord Action and has more than 20 years experience in the legal field, originally working as a clerk, private investigator, debt collector and certified bailiff. He has appeared regularly on TV and radio and travels the country speaking, giving advice and presenting “How to avoid a bad tenant” seminars. He believes passionately in the rights of the landlord and is always available for comment on any landlord/tenant related matters.
Landlord Action website www.landlordaction.co.uk free advice line 0800 856 7878 to landlords