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Non oaying tenants should be arrested!!

(269 Posts)
JakieOH Thu 02-Jul-15 23:02:02

Just watching a programme about landlords and tenants. I know there are bad landlords out there, however, surely it should be a criminal offence not to pay rent on a property?? It can take months and months to evict a tenant from your property and it costs a fortune too. Meanwhile the landlord has to pay the mortgage etc. it's awful, these people should be arrested for theft because that's what it is.

More a rant than a question really, I rent out my old flat and it worries me a lot! If my tenets decided to stop paying rent I would most likely default on the mortgage and loose the property. There would be very little comeback to retrieve the money Owed.

I'm lucky because I have great tenants, they get a lovely oroperty at a very very reasonable rate (just covers the mortgage and any breakdowns/upkeep etc)

Pumpkinpositive Thu 02-Jul-15 23:08:43

If I were in danger of defaulting on the mortgage should the tenants miss a couple of payments on the rent, I would sell the property, tbh. Too much stress and unpredictability.

Shit happens: people lose their jobs and encounter unpredictable cash flow crises. I can't see how it would benefit anyone, least of all the landlord, to automatically criminalise the tenant because of unforeseen circumstances.

This could make the tennant less employable or lose their job, and even less likely to be able to pay the arrears.

How would you pay the mortgage when the property is empty, between tenants?

owlborn Thu 02-Jul-15 23:12:25

Well, I presume there was a reason for the Debtors Act 1869, as the Victorians weren't normally fluffy liberals. Maybe imprisoning debtors just doesn't work?

I'd suggest, before you campaign too hard for this, you also push to change the current system whereby if you leave a property without being evicted you are considered to have made yourself voluntarily homeless and the council is not obliged to find you anywhere to live. I don't think it's reasonable to ask for a system in which vulnerable people have to choose between sleeping on the streets or prison.

Nettletheelf Thu 02-Jul-15 23:12:31

It's a civil matter if tenants don't pay rent. It's breach of contract, not a criminal offence, even though it may appear to be similar to theft.

We rent out our old house, and I consider tenants failing to pay to be one of the risks we accept in letting out the house. You don't get rent for nothing…no such thing as a risk-free investment! We make sure that we're able to cover the mortgage for six months in case it happens to us. Luckily, like you, we've always had great tenants.

Raveismyera Thu 02-Jul-15 23:13:56

Seriously? What would be the point? If they don't have the money they don't have it, you can't get blood out of a stone

Suefla62 Thu 02-Jul-15 23:20:26

Agree with the OP. Why should a landlord have to put up with tenants that won't pay. They're getting a roof over their head for nothing, it's a theft of services.

Raveismyera Thu 02-Jul-15 23:23:09

It's not theft though is it? hmm

Nettletheelf Thu 02-Jul-15 23:27:07

I don't think that many people move into rented properties with a strategy of never paying any rent, ever. The size of the deposit and agents' fees would make it quite a risky plan!

If you're a landlord, you have to accept some risks. Non-payment is one of them. I don't think that the police would be amused at being asked to intervene in breach of contract disputes. They surely have enough to do!

DisconcertedAndRetired Thu 02-Jul-15 23:30:32

Seriously? What would be the point? If they don't have the money they don't have it, you can't get blood out of a stone

The point would be that if it's a criminal offense, they may leave, rather than staying without paying, and you could get rent from someone who can pay instead.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 02-Jul-15 23:33:54

Don't be ridiculous.

How on earth can someone without sufficient money pay their rent? Do you really not know anyone who has ever been made redundant & seen their income drop hugely? So much so that they cannot pay rent?

Housing Benefit doesn't come through instantly - payments can easily be missed whilst your claim is being processed. Even when you receive it, HB may not cover your entire rent and you may not have the money to make up the difference.

You can't move. You don't have a job, so how are you going to obtain another private rental? Even if you could, you have now missed payments so may well fail the reference checks. You can't get help from social housing until the bailiffs have turned up and evicted you. Where do you go?

Being a landlord can be shit, yes. But so can being a private tenant.

If you want to make missing a rent payment a crime, then you'd better get building a prison the size of London to house everyone.

HelenaDove Thu 02-Jul-15 23:34:08

Is this the programme that was on Channel 5 last night. At the end he took the cover off the boiler and said .....yeah thats ok. Programme narrator didnt seem to notice that though.

stairbears Thu 02-Jul-15 23:36:25

Landlords insurance or letting agency insurance can cover non-payment of rent for a certain period, if it's in the schedule. No sympathy for landlords making their investments... Non-payment of rent is a risk you take.

AwakeCantSleep Thu 02-Jul-15 23:36:27

OP you don't appear to be cut out for the business of letting property. It's a business. One of the risks is non-paying tenants. Another is void periods. Damage to the property. Et cetera. If you don't have sufficient cash reserves in your business to deal with the risk then that's your problem, not anyone else's.

TheChandler Thu 02-Jul-15 23:38:46

Well, it seems a bit extreme, but bearing in mind that landlords can (and are) fined 3 times the deposit for not protecting it, can be fined and imprisoned in certain places for not having licenses and all sorts of other relatively minor misdemeanours, perhaps if there were some way of distinguishing deliberate non-payers and those who damage property, rather than targeting landlords all the time, it might restore a bit of balance.

FuckingLiability Thu 02-Jul-15 23:40:51

What makes letting ridiculous is that a tenant who can't afford to pay has to default and be executed before they can be housed by the council.

It puts both landlord and tenant in an expensive, stressful situation which should be avoided.

FuckingLiability Thu 02-Jul-15 23:41:46

Fuck! Evicted, not excecuted!

FuckingLiability Thu 02-Jul-15 23:42:38

And I didn't even spell that right. Jesus.

TheChandler Thu 02-Jul-15 23:44:49

I don't know Awake, if you run off without paying for a hotel room or damage it you can be charged with theft or criminal damage...

Pumpkinpositive Thu 02-Jul-15 23:46:33

What makes letting ridiculous is that a tenant who can't afford to pay has to default and be executed before they can be housed by the council.

grin grin grin

I think you got it right the first time.

"It's not theft though is it?"

Theft is the intent permanently to deprive, so since the property can be repossessed, if the rent is not paid, it isn't legally theft, Raveismyera.

If there are tenants who decide they are going to stop paying - not because they can't or because their circumstances have taken a drastic turn for the worse, but because they want the use of the property but don't want to pay, then that is unethical and immoral, and there should be some protection in law for their landlord.

But we should be a society that does not make people in hardship suffer the loss of the roof over their head and the heads of their children - we should look after them and the decent landlords. And the slum landlords and tenants who could pay but won't, should be brought to book.

BishopBrennansArse Thu 02-Jul-15 23:54:21

Businesses should always have contingency plans for cash flow issues. Being a landlord is a business. I'd question whether being a landlord is a good idea for anyone questioning how they could afford void periods.

As for non payment of rent being a criminal matter no it should not be for two reasons - first being that housing becoming a business/investment is how an essential basic in life became financially a strain for the majority and secondly life happens. A couple of weeks ago my bank denied me access to my own money for three days - if I'd had rent due should I then have been arrested?

Landlords already have recourse to civil law for non payment of rent - eviction. Which yes I know isn't an easy process but to be honest making the process any easier would make tenancies even more insecure than they are already and they are already the least secure in Europe. A landlord's investment is the tenant's home. Yes I know some tenants take the piss BT as with everything in life why should the majority be penalised for the actions of the few?

Mistigri Fri 03-Jul-15 06:47:40

Do you think landlords who fail to meet their obligations should also be arrested?

sashh Fri 03-Jul-15 08:42:48

So you choose to run a business, one of the risks in non payment, but that is offset by the profit you are making and you having two properties. But you want that risk to be eliminated by putting people in prison at great cost to the taxpayer, ensuring that the tenant loses any job they may have, possibly have their children taken in to care, which again is expensive and that's leaving out the impact on mental health of the debtor and children.

Take out some insurance, or build up some money in the bank.

You say the rent just about covers the mortgage, so you are buying a property for free in effect, and once the mortgage has been paid off are you going to reduce the rent?

soapboxqueen Fri 03-Jul-15 08:42:57

The rental market in this country has many many issues in both sides of the equation. I'm both a landlord and a private tenant.

I don't think tenants should be jailed for non payment. A home is not the same as a hotel room or skipping out on a meal. There are far bigger repercussions.

I think estate agent fees should be regulated.

I think leases should be more long term eg you can only serve notice if you want to sell or move in yourself.

I think there should be a minimum standard to accommodation that is legally enforceable (eg prison) but that the landlord and estate agent and local authority (if hb is needed) share that responsibility.

I think retaliatory evictions should be illegal but not sure how they would be proven.

I think tenants who trash a property (and I don't mean a few stains on the carpet) should face charges of criminal damage.

I think private tenants are often in a very vulnerable position with little recourse and it is very expensive to need to suddenly move.

FishCanFly Fri 03-Jul-15 08:56:41

Shitty landlords should be arrested. Place where i was had a leaky roof, mice, rats... How cool is that?

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