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be so fed up about my tennant?

(37 Posts)
tootiredtomakeupagoodname Thu 16-Jun-11 08:06:17

Reposting here from legal matters in the hope of more input...

Basically my DH and I are having to live abroad as there are very few jobs in is sector of employment at the moment. We are renting a house where we are staying. While we are away we are renting out our own home. The tenant, a single, elderly woman moved in January and stopped paying rent in April. She has redecorated the house, has a dog and is sub letting to three adults in there twenties, in the middle of this there is also a 3 year old child living there. She has told us that she is withholding rent as there is damp in one of the bedrooms but she is refusing to allow us into the house to look at the problem. We sent a section 21 notice in May which will be up in July she has not contested this but has said she will not be moved so will will have to go to court and involve baliffs. We are really struggling financially and I really can't see a way out of this. The rent only covered 60% of the mortgage anyway, it has never been a profit making scheme but now we are covering 100% of the mortgage, insuring the property as well as paying rent and insurance on the house we are living in. I have two young children and just feel totally helpless while the lawyers fees are mounting up. I just want to go in and change the locks but the law is behind her. Any advice would be gratefully received. Sorry this is so long...

Update - last night I phoned to ask if she would be moving out at the end of section 21 notice or if we would be going to court as we have not heard from her solicitor yet, another of the squatters phoned back to say they would be reporting me to the police for harassment - something to look forward to then hmm

EricNorthmansMistress Thu 16-Jun-11 08:10:54

Oh poor you sad What a cow. My parents had tenants do this to them twice. They don't rent anymore. I think the whole rental system stinks TBH. It's not fair on tenants most of the time but it can also be very unfair on LLs.

sausagesandmarmelade Thu 16-Jun-11 08:15:16

Oh noooo.....how awful!!!

It's terrible that this sort of thing can happen. It's your house, you own it...and yet you are being held to ransom by these people.

I don't know the answer as I am not a lawyer...but you may have to pay out to get them legally evicted (which could take months).

Try the citizens advice bureau...

mamalino Thu 16-Jun-11 08:15:56

Did you use an agent?

tootiredtomakeupagoodname Thu 16-Jun-11 08:23:01

I did use an agent but only part management such as repairs, etc so no guaranteed rent or help with legal costs

sausagesandmarmelade Thu 16-Jun-11 08:30:57

Have you tried this?
http://www.landlordaction.co.uk/index.php

Definitely worth having a serious google today....and definitely good to act sooner rather than later.

I really feel for you....I don't know how these people justify their actions in their heads! Good luck!

AmazingBouncingFerret Thu 16-Jun-11 08:36:14

Oh no tootired. I have no advice but as a landlord you have my every sympathy. I hope you get it sorted soon.

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 08:37:25

What does the tenancy agreement say? Does she have 'exclusive possession' i.e. does it explicitly say that the landlord may not just waltz in whenever?

I ask because if there's a chance the agreement seems more like a licence than a lease, your ability to take back the property may be easier. However, I will need to check my legal textbooks for you - it's been a while.

Nevertheless, sympathies. You must be fuming.

Hullygully Thu 16-Jun-11 08:37:44

Me too.

Bastards.

All you ever hear about is horrid bastard landlords bleeding everybody dry, you don't get this fun side of it all. <v v bitter>

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 08:39:02

Also, to play hard-ball with her, as she has presumably gone against the terms of the tenancy, she has broken her contract. I would threaten to sue her for breach of contract and compensation. I doubt she/they have a solicitor and so you could throw in the hint that if a judge rules in your favour, you'll be awarded costs. Just say it like you mean it and watch people crumble.

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 08:39:43

P.S. Her redecoration amounts to criminal damage...so, you could get her arrested!

mrsmellow Thu 16-Jun-11 08:49:11

I'm so sorry, this is horrible. It happened to my DH a couple of years ago and his advice is to put it in the hands of a lawyer and try to distance yourself as it is so emotionally unpleasant and unlikely to result in you getting financial reimbursement unfortunately - the most important thing is to look after your sanity. How people can do this is really beyond me, how do they sleep at night? Sending you big hugs.

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 08:50:02

Bright(ish) side: at least she's done multiple no-nos. I think that for forfeiture re rent, you have to wait for her to be behind for 6 months, but I don't think there's a time you have to wait it out for when it comes to non-monetary breaches e.g. that she has sub-let and has redecorated.

For the redecoration point, I think you'd have to mess about with formalities and form-filling i.e. you have to comply with s.146 Law of Property Act 1925

But, seriously, I would report her for criminal damage - or just tell her you will press charges under s2(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971. You just need to scare her a bit to make her more malleable.

If you haven't already, I would ask your lawyer about whether her sub-tenants have a right to relief. However, as they're not 'permitted' sub-tenants (guessing you had a no sub-let clause in the agreement), I don't know if they're entitled to that.

As you can see, this already looks complex and thus expensive. Just threaten to have her arrested for criminal damage!

thederkinsdame Thu 16-Jun-11 08:53:28

If she has a standard tenancy agreement then she is in breach of contract for subletting so you have the right of possession. Try www.arla.co.uk as they have useful advice too.

knittedbreast Thu 16-Jun-11 08:56:02

why dont you just put the house on the market fo sale (you dont have to actually sell) then say she has x time to get out as the house wont belong to her then anyway?

tootiredtomakeupagoodname Thu 16-Jun-11 08:57:59

sausages - I had a look at that thanks we have a lawyer who is doing most of the corresponding its just such a drawn out process sad

hullygully - at least you have put a smile on my face!

Spenguin - it is a short assured tenancy (Scotland) and yes the redecoration is criminal, it would make your eyes bleed grin

darleneoconnor Thu 16-Jun-11 09:01:22

If you gave her a short assured tenancy in the first place, as most landlords do, then you dont need any reason to evict after the initial 6 months. Make sure your lawyers have that court order ready to go to evict her in july and also sue her for rent, damages, eviction costs and legal fees.

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 09:02:27

Scotland! Oh, ok - I only know about English/Welsh law.

From my university days of living in Scotland, I completely agree that tenants have it good!

Spenguin Thu 16-Jun-11 09:03:16

darlene - heck, let's go for the whole she-bang. get a doctor's note saying you have emotional stress and general PTSD and get her under tort law!

electra Thu 16-Jun-11 09:08:11

What a totally nightmarish situation, you poor, poor things. Sorry I don't have anything more helpful to say but I do hope you can get it sorted.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 16-Jun-11 09:13:14

What a nightmare.........such a shame you didnt go for the full management as these things can end up costing a fair bit.

However, from my experience as a LL most people who dont go once there notice is up usually do go before the bailiffs get there so hopefully there is an end in sight for you.

Next time though, pay management fees - the costs for all this will be included. My management fee is only 8% of the monthly rental so not that much really.

Hope you get things sorted!

GentleOtter Thu 16-Jun-11 09:19:04

Short Assured Tenancy Scotland

It sounds as if she is using the damp as an excuse not to pay the rent and is being unreasonable by not allowing you to remedy the problem.

The CAB are very helpful in these matters and you can ask for a diagnostic appointment with their duty lawyer.

LRDTheFeministDragon Thu 16-Jun-11 09:21:25

Oh, what a nightmare. sad

I hope you get it sorted soon - people who take the piss like this really make my blood boil.

Hullygully Thu 16-Jun-11 09:25:03

She is not allowed to withhold rent.

You can serve the section 21 because she has broken her contract by subletting

If she doesn't move out you have to take her to court which can take months

If it comes to that, I know it's a nightmare, but it might be cheaper to offer her money to move out.

Management companies don't make any difference to the procedure, unless they have heavies they can send round.

(non payment of rent is two months before you can issue a notice.)

GentleOtter Thu 16-Jun-11 09:28:04

It would be up to a sheriff but under part 31 of that link, your tenant has broken several of the grounds.

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