Rental home problem with tenants.

(25 Posts)
whereswally12 Thu 09-Jun-16 13:06:24

I own a rental property that was left to me in my nan and grandads will.

The house is in a good rental area close to a city centre.

The house is a ex authority house and is not the prettiest but over the years I have tried to maintain the house and get it looking as good as possible.

Last year the house got re let for the third time since I acquired it. I have inspected the house and kept in good communication with the tenants.

I have had issues with the rent not being paid on time. Constant excuses about the bank making a mistake, they accidentally transferred the money into someone else's account. The date they get paid has been changed. I've been very flexible and we have rearrange what date they pay me on several occasions. They never get behind on rent but the majority of the time it's always late.

If you were a single person the rent would be expensive but as the tenants are house sharers the price they each pay is what you would pay a month for just a shared house (room) since having the house I have never increased the rent. It's a fair price.

For a while we have had suspicions that a extra person has been living there when only 2 are on the tenancy agreement.

Last week my mother visited the high street bank around the corner from the house and bumped into a neighbour from a few doors down who used to be friendly with my nan and grandad. She said she couldn't believe how many people were living in such a small 2 bed house. She couldn't tell mother how many but more than the 2 named.

I have spent the last week trying to find out through Facebook any information I could about my tenants. Today I have discovered the profile of the lead tenant as his surname is slightly different on Facebook to the info I have.

Through tagged photos it's become apparent that actually 6 people are living in my house not just 2. It's a 2 bed that has a large lounge with a seperate kitchen diner and 2 people are living in the lounge.

From the photos I've seen its a absolute hovel rubbish everywhere. There is also a video of a cat clearly in my house treating shreds out of my brand new fitted before they moved in carpet.

It seems that they 3 are family and have moved there partners in.

I have just spoken to the estate agents who found the tenants for me and they have told me that they can't do anything as they do not manage the property for me so I'm on my own.

What do I do now?

I see they have 3 options.

1. Either all 4 extra people move out.
2. They all stay (if that's legal) but I will be doubling the rent.
3. They all move out.

Can anyone advise what steps I need to take?

I'm quite new to all this and have never had any issues before so I do not have a clue where to start and the estate agents are beyond useless.

whois Thu 09-Jun-16 13:12:07

Check out Landlordzone - they usually have good advice. You need to go about whatever you do carefully and legally.

Shit situaiton tho. Some people are such twats :-(

bingbunnyisevil Thu 09-Jun-16 13:17:26

Are they all related? If not then what you unwittingly have is an hmo which usually need a licence for and they need different electrical standards, fire doors etc. You can get an unlimited fine for running an unlicensed hmo.

What does their lease say about lodgers/subletting?

NotCitrus Thu 09-Jun-16 13:23:53

Assumingnyou are in England: The tenants will have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which is for 6 months and then rolls on. You can give them 2 months notice if they've been there at least 4 months - look up "section 21 notice" and follow all the guidance online about when it needs to be served and proof of receipt. Then a court will grant an eviction order if necessary. Getting possession for actual reasons like late rent is actually slower! (look up Section 8 notice)

Have the agents done checks on the tenants and protected the deposit?

You need to decide if you are content for these people to stay in your flat or not - it's likely they've already done all the damage they are likely to do, so you could try a letter warning them that rent is always due on X of the month (their contract should say you can charge interest or admin fees if rent is late - point that out) and if it is late in future you will be forced to give them notice. If you want to keep them there at higher rent, you'd have to give notice and then let them sign a new contract, but they probably wouldn't want that.

Bubbinsmakesthree Thu 09-Jun-16 13:58:11

I'm not entirely sure how you've managed to summise from Facebook that 6 people are living in the house and what their relationships and sleeping arrangements are? confused

How do you know these people are living there full time? They can have guests. They have a right to quiet enjoyment of their home. They should be able to expect they can do this without their landlord snooping about on their Facebook pages.

They're possibly breaking the tenancy agreement depending what your agreement states, but legally it's unlikely to make any difference to your options.

Not sure why you think doubling the rent would be fair - they still get the same amount of house. If they have caused damage you deduct that from their deposit in the usual way.

You are in luck because under a rolling AST you can serve 2 months notice for any whim or reason. But you still have to follow due process, girlfriends and cats don't mean you can turf them out on the street.

whereswally12 Thu 09-Jun-16 14:15:06

I have just spoken to the manager of estate agency that found these tenants.

From the digging I found that the 2 names on the tenancy I have we will call them Mark and Sarah. Mark is living at the property and I've met "Sarah" I can see her Facebook picture as the person I met but her name is not Sarah.

Seems the two people named Mark is living there but "Sarah" never did. Her names on the tenancy and deposit and the credit check was done on her but she never moved in it seems. This girl who is living there has introduced herself as Sarah.

It's come to light that Mark and Sarah used to house share with the same agency and they both signed my tenancy agreement but Sarah never moved in. The agents are going to try and locate her as her half of the deposit (joint named deposit) is now at risk.

The manager has advised me to give them written notice today.

3 of them are family the other 3 and gf & bf with the 3 family members.

Mark is from overseas and has been working here for 5 years and gave copies of the agency of all the documents to prove he is allowed to work here. The other 2 family members are also here from overseas. As the agency can't vouch for them it's possible they could be here illegally.

The tenancy agreement states no subletting and everyone living at the property needs to be named on the agreement.

Because of this hot mess I have been advised to give notice and I have to agree I need to get into this as I do not eat to be in hot water over something I had no knowledge of.

All my documents gas safe, deposit and tenancy agreement (in the wrong names) are all upto date.

In fact Mark and "Sarah" only signed a new short hold agreement a few months ago.

specialsubject Thu 09-Jun-16 17:22:48

Evict. Tenancy breach. Yes, they can have guests but it doesn't sound like guests. Extra people moving in does indeed make an HMO and you haven't got one.

specialsubject Thu 09-Jun-16 17:24:06

Oh, and if you've got people living there who haven't passed right to rent, you get fined. People wanted more landlord regulation...

whereswally12 Thu 09-Jun-16 18:35:04

Oh bloody hell.

I was saying to a friend what had happened and how stupid I feel despite doing checks every 4 months.

I've had trades people in the house multiple times in the time they have been there. They have been contacts of mine and have always had a chat with the tenants and how lovely they have been.

But the problem is, everytime I have or trades people have visited they have known in advance and at what time we will be arriving. All they have to do is send the others to a coffee shop / pub for a hour or so and we are none the wiser.

The estate agency have been utter crap in my opinion up until now but the manger has said he will try and deal with it all personally as they found the tenants for me but I manage it myself. So that is a plus.

The agency stays open late on Fridays and he is going to try to visit the property tomorrow evening and let me know what happens.

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 18:45:45

Deep breath... you can show you have done all that is required of you... you and the agent can show that checks were done, that the tenants have acted illegally.

But now you know, so you MUST issue them with notice. It will may be that they will go but they may fight, so get ready for a deposit dispute.

You did get an Inventory when they moved in, didn't you?

Good luck.

Janicejohn Thu 09-Jun-16 19:15:22

What makes you believe there are people living in the property who are in the UK illegally?

whereswally12 Thu 09-Jun-16 19:18:15

Yes full inventory was done.

I have done everything by the book.

I always keep copies of all texts and emails. When I have ever called or they have called I also email over notes of what the conversation relates too.

So I feel I have covered my back and have a paper trail of everything

Roystonv Thu 09-Jun-16 19:22:34

The letting agents owe you nothing i

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 19:30:32

That's good. Don't worry about the possibilities of fines etc. The prison sentence/criminilisation aspect of letting to non residents was removed, so you won't go to prison.

But you now know that there is probably an issue with their legality and, as pp have said, you now seem to have a HMO without license. So you MUST issue them with a Section 21, you may be able to move more quickly but the ins and outs of the nuts and bolts of how to are outside my knowledge.

The agent should be bending over backwards to help you... they have taken your money to run tenant checks, they have failed their professional duty and, as mandatory members of the PRS, that can cause them issues too. Don't think they are doing you a favour, they are trying to resolve the issue without having to admit they made an error!

wowfudge Thu 09-Jun-16 19:43:35

How can you say the agents have failed in their duty if they found and checked the tenants but haven't managed the place because the OP does?

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 19:48:01

Because, if OP is right, the tenants they checked are not the tenants who moved in! 'Sarah' appears to never have moved in... though someone calling herself Sarah did... and recently renewed! The law is pretty strict nowadays, the fines (though thankfully no longer a prison sentence) are quite steep. The agent has failed in their duty of care, their legal duty...

All in the first post!

wowfudge Thu 09-Jun-16 19:51:29

I fail to see how they have - the OP should have checked who moved in as she is managing it.

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 20:08:46

??

When you let you can use an agent for part or whole service. OP says she opted for Tenant Finding... the agent finds the tenant, does all the checks, runs Inventory and gets the deposit etc. The LL does check in, check out and all else.

Most Finder Services include this This process includes ID checks, employment checks and references as well as credit reports and proof of income. Landlords must now ensure tenants have the right to rent in the UK, so we will take care of this too.

See that last bit? That is why lots of LLs use the Finder Service!

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 20:10:50

Oh! I am an Inventory Clerk, so whilst I don't manage I do read a lot of the Agents websites, keep up to date with much of the changes in regulations and like to know who to chase for future work... that's how I know what the Finder Service includes.

whereswally12 Thu 09-Jun-16 20:22:59

All those checks were done. They checked the file.
No use if that person didn't move in.

And I can't watch the place 24/7 as I'm not that local. The only time I go there is check the property or if I need to get some holiday euros in that high street and park outside.

Would be different if they were next door.

wowfudge Thu 09-Jun-16 20:50:18

If people are devious or their circumstances change and they haven't told the agent or LL then it's difficult to apportion blame. Checking where the rent money is coming from is one way as are inspections, but nothing is foolproof.

OurBlanche Thu 09-Jun-16 21:14:52

WHich is why I said that, as long as she takes steps now, it should be fine. But the agent is not being nice when they offer to help, as OP said here the manger has said he will try and deal with it all personally as they found the tenants for me but I manage it myself. So that is a plus. They are aware that they too could be held liable.

OP doesn't need to feel gratitude, she can simply expect them to up their game now that a problem has been identified, one that seems to stem from the identity checks she paid them to undertake!

Bubbinsmakesthree Fri 10-Jun-16 10:35:52

Given OP thinks the 3 people living there are related, I am not sure it would be considered a HMO anyway.

whois Fri 10-Jun-16 11:05:43

sounds like an HMO to me.
www.gov.uk/private-renting/houses-in-multiple-occupation

Your home is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if both of the following apply:

at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

Your home is a large HMO if all of the following apply:

it’s at least 3 storeys high
at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household
you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants

whereswally12 Fri 10-Jun-16 11:21:40

I believe I am in breech of HMO. 3 people are family (cousins according to Facebook they share the same name) and 3 others who are not related.

I have gathered all my paperwork together and I see another mistake. On my tenancy agreement it has been signed Mark John David. When I face the full name is Mark John David smith.
So the agency has balls up there.

The agency found the tenants and did the checks they also do the check in.

I manage the property deal with check out then I ring / email the agency and they release the deposit.

They handled the check in twice, the first time they refused as the agency told them I was getting a deep clean done by a cleaning firm. I never told them that, I did it myself and I missed a bit in the bedroom. So they refused to move in so the agency called me, I went and re cleaned everything and they agency went back and went through the inventory again.

I had never met them by this point so perhaps you are all correct and they are covering there own asses.

After reading the HMO information I have flagged up a problem. My cousin also uses this agency for her rental. Same circumstances it was a inheritance property. The agents found and manage the property on her behalf. She has 4 people renting her house, all students not related. She has not got a licence, neither has the agency taken out one on her behalf.

I'm gobsmacked, this agency has been around for years. They have 8 branches locally and they have totally screwed up.

I have taken screen shots of all the evidence I have found, absolute proof as the timelines state on the 2 family members life event moved to uk in (area of house) photo albums show pictures of them in the house. 100% as there is a door leading from the lounge to the kitchen diner that has a stained glass window and in all the pictures on each of the profiles I've seen the glass can be seen in every shot.

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