tenant not paying rent

(34 Posts)
SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 12:14:15

My partner bought a house then relocated ,for work several years ago.
He moved 200 miles away, then met me.

He now lets that property out and we rent a property ourselves and have 2 young DCs.

He is not in the position to sell at the moment or the house will make a loss and there is currently low appetite for that type of property in that location.

So, we are not landlords by choice, only due to circumstances. We don't make any money on the rent, it just covers the mortgage.

Money is tight and a month without rent/untenanted puts us under a lot of strain financially.
I know we should have savings to fall back on but due to one thing or another and starting a family very quickly we just don't have any.

We have tenants who have been in the house for around 5 months.
A nice seeming family of 4, both parents work good jobs.

Rent is now 7 days over due, they have changed their phone numbers and removed their Facebook profiles.
Letting agent can't get in touch with them.

We do know they are still living in the property.

I have a very bad feeling about this, they always paid well and communication was good.
Just 3 weeks ago they were asking about making improvements to the house.

What are our rights, and what can we do?

SauvignonPlonker Wed 18-May-16 12:16:48

Your letting agent should be keeping you right about this.

Also, does your LL insurance cover you for legal expenses?

specialsubject Wed 18-May-16 12:19:36

you need to get informed very quickly. There are legal methods to deal with this but it will take time and cost. And in the meantime they have every right to continue in the house.

the agent should know what to do, starting with serving notice. What notice depends on the status of the tenancy.

I hope you have legal expenses cover in your landlord insurance, you are going to need it.

(the reasons you became a landlord and whether you make any money are not relevant - the MN landlord haters will hate you nonetheless so don't bother)

wowfudge Wed 18-May-16 14:47:07

Just a thought, but are the tenants five months into a six months tenancy for which they have a written tenancy agreement? If so, it's possible they intend to leave when the six months are up and believe their deposit can be used to cover the final month's rent.

They aren't obliged to tell you they are leaving at the end of the six month term or give notice, but not paying the rent is not on. If they are buying somewhere they may have diverted the rent money to paying for a survey or searches.

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 14:56:56

Thanks for the replies.
As far as I know we have a pretty solid LL insurance policy, I will get DH to check if it covers legal costs.

Letting agent are going to go round and see if anyone is in tonight.

It is a very tight knit village where everyone knows each other's business and they were seen at the house last night but aren't answering the phone or emails.

They know that we know all the neighbours and it's shocking to me that they think they can carry on like this and get away with it.

It has crossed my mind that they were hoping to use the deposit to cover the rent, although I do think it is a 12 month contract, and they contacted us with plans to improve the house with a long term view. but I could be wrong.

If they spoke to us and told us that, it would be fine. We would have no choice and atleast we would know where we stand.
It would also be a blessing as we could avoid messy eviction proceedings.

It's a huge chunk of income to lose and I feel horrible for the DCs, they won't have a very nice summer if we can't pay the mortgage or afford our own rent

specialsubject Wed 18-May-16 15:29:34

unfortunately this risk is part of the deal when you are a landlord - and I am one. People can suddenly stop paying.

please check the following with the agent: I think you need to issue a section 8 BUT you can't do that until they are two months in arrears.

first thing is to gain contact. If they want to leave early, I think you'd be best to let them go.

SauvignonPlonker Wed 18-May-16 15:37:49

And never use a 12-month contract, for this reason. Always 6 months initially.

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 15:49:03

It's so frustrating as I have no say in what happens with the property but have to live with the consequences.
Will try to get him to sell the house sold as soon as possible and be done with it.

Seems silly us renting when he owns a house and having all this added stress.

It's a detached property in a cheap area of the country and the sale wouldn't cover a small 2 bed where we currently live.

I will take all the advice on board, we have messed up with this time after time.

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 16:43:24

Having looked into it further I don't think they are the tenants that I agreed could move in.
I agreed for a foster carer and his wife with 2 kids
Turns out it is a plasterer and a girlfriend who are quite young and not sure if they have kids!

What the hell can I do about that??

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 16:44:01

Don't mean anything by the age, they are the same age as me

memyselfandaye Wed 18-May-16 16:47:02

It sounds like they are sub letting, cheeky fuckers

LIZS Wed 18-May-16 16:55:30

So who has been paying the rent until now? confused it could be an oversight but agent should sort it and send recorded delivery letter or arrange to visit. Does agent collect and pass rent on to you, could it have been delayed there?

KimmySchmidtsSmile Wed 18-May-16 17:05:08

I assumed the letting agency did a standard contract with no sub-letting clause.
The agent needs to go round and find out if these guys are housesitting for their friends, subletting from them or squatting. If subletting have they paid £ direct to your tenants or to you up til last month.
You can start proceedings against tenants for breaching contract but until you have an eviction notice the subtenants have legal right to stay.
I am truly sorry, it sounds a nightmare.

specialsubject Wed 18-May-16 17:05:39

bloody hell. Time to light a fire under the agent (who you are paying) and find out what is going on.

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 17:08:06

Well I have had a look on the tenancy agreement, she has a made up email address and phone number.

And the agent told me today he is a plasterer and didn't know of any kids.
I had 4 applicants to choose from And I specifically chose a foster carer because I thought respectable, steady home, steady income, kids go to local school etc.

I feel like driving there tonight and knocking on the door.

They usually pay by standing order and it is definitely not clearing as I have spoken to accounts today. They usually pay on 8th and no payment was made.

The precious payments are in their names but I didn't realise they weren't who I thought they were. If that makes sense.

I take full responsibility for the fuck up.

We have quite a poorly child and she was in hospital while we were vetting tenants and my eye was off the ball.

NotCitrus Wed 18-May-16 17:16:59

What does your contract with the letting agent say? Is there a guarantee that they will pay you, or only if they get rent from a tenant?

If they haven't received rent, then you need to instruct the agent to issue a s21 notice to ensure you can legally take possession ASAP, but expect a good 3 months or so with no rent.

The agents should have insurance against subletters and people who don't pay the rent, and their charges to you should have included doing a detailed credit check on the potential tenants and confirming their right to rent in the UK (usually photocopying passport or driving licence) so they damn well should know exactly who they are! Make the agents work for their money!

LIZS Wed 18-May-16 17:20:51

So the agents accepted different tenants to those you had agreed?! shock Presumably you wouldn't have known that the names on a contract referred to someone else if you never met them. Do you have copies of correspondence? Make it firmly the agent's problem.

KimmySchmidtsSmile Wed 18-May-16 17:24:57

So the agency you use do not vet your tenants for you? Or you only use an agent for collection of rent?

Whose name is the tenancy under, the woman, the plasterer or both? What has he said about the rent not being paid yet, when your agent spoke with him?

If she has a signed contract, she has a right to stay....you need to ask what the problem with rent is/negotiate, then start issuing notice (section 21?) this will not mean they will leave until they have to and you need to make sure all legally done- two months behind with rent, notice to quit, the deposit was in the proper deposit scheme (please tell me it was) etc They might have done this beforesad Did you take references?

KimmySchmidtsSmile Wed 18-May-16 17:32:34

^please do not infer criticism or judgement btw- it's just we cannot help you without knowing the letting agent agreement you have or the contract they have. My agent does vetting and makes sure the deposit is stored in the correct scheme. My insurance covers loss of rent if flood etc and malicious damage but not added legal, so my agent would always try and negotiate if problem but if I had to go to court I would be expecting to be out of pocket 3-6 months.

specialsubject Wed 18-May-16 17:55:22

this is getting worse sad

you say this tenancy started about 5 months ago, i.e. after October 2015. That is after the right to rent checks came in. All landlords need to check that their tenants have the right to be in the UK, which means checking passports/IDs. And it has to be done face to face.

If this had been done then surely the fact that the wrong people have moved in should have come to light.

what on earth have your agents been playing at????

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 18:22:38

The agency are a well known national agency, quite a big name.

They vet the tenants and collect rent. We don't have the guaranteed rent package.

So they did the referencing on the applicant of my choice. Which now I believe to have been the wrong applicant. But I have no way of proving that.
And it could be me at fault, I may have genuinely misheard. But I doubt it.

The tenancy is in both names of the couple. And that didn't bring up any red flags as I though they were the right names.

The deposit is in the TDS scheme. So it's safe.

They moved in mid January. And I can't actually see the length of tenancy anywhere on the agreement. I'm going to look again now.

SaylorTwift Wed 18-May-16 18:23:36

It was all phone based the only email correspondence I have is the agreement and some bits and bobs about repairs

LIZS Wed 18-May-16 18:23:42

That's not my take on it, special. Presumably those named on the lease and therefore ID checked match, they just aren't the family op thought she had rented to. At best there has been confusion but possibly underhand practice by agent. Unless they weren't contracted to do any more than manage the let rather than tenant find, reference check etc.

unimagmative13 Wed 18-May-16 18:30:45

Type the mobile number into Facebook.

Might not work if you defo know its a fake.

unimagmative13 Wed 18-May-16 18:31:03

Also how did they contact you to make improvements?

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