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problems with tenants

(29 Posts)
Falling270 Wed 27-Apr-16 23:41:53

I bought a small studio flat in 2012 and lived there until six months ago when I moved in with partner and rented out the flat through an agency. The agency told me they had got good references for the tenants ( a young couple) and they moved in in November. Since moving in they have never paid the rent on time. They pay in instalments when it's convenient for them. For example last month the agency told me the tenants had contacted them saying they would be paying the rent a week late that month as they are going to LA. I asked why they couldn't set up a standing order for the rent but the agent said "at least they've told us". Usually they don't. Most months I receive about 40% on time and the rest 10 days or so later. So I do get the money but just in dribs and drabs and I need it to cover the mortgage so I'm constantly moving money around to try and manage cash flow.

There has been on average one complaint every two weeks from neighbouring flats about noise. They describe excessive late night noise, huge bangs which shake the ceiling "as if someone is dropping weights in the floor" etc etc. These people were my neighbours and we always rubbed along fine when I was there so I have no reason to think they're being over the top. When the neighbours knock on the door to speak to the tenants they refuse to answer.

I have raised the noise issue with the agent who has had a word with the tenant but the tenants always deny it. I am worried about damage being done to the floors of my flat as the downstairs neighbour says cracks have appeared on her ceiling!

They are on a 12 month contract with no break clause. Is there anything I can do to make them adhere to the terms of their contract or if it comes to it evict them?

wheresthel1ght Wed 27-Apr-16 23:45:51

If they aren't paying rent on time then they are in breech of contract surely? Therefore the no break clause shouldn't be enforceable.

I would suggest asking MNHQ to move this to legal for you as you will get better advice there I suspect. But you need to see a solicitor or CAB asap

Falling270 Wed 27-Apr-16 23:47:27

Thank you the agents have been beyond useless they don't even try to chase up the rent anymore. I have been asking for them to set up a standing order since the beginning to no avail.

Queenbean Wed 27-Apr-16 23:49:11

A clause of the contract is to pay rent on time. They're not so have broken it. Gettem out.

MarthaCliffYouCunt Wed 27-Apr-16 23:52:04

Give them notice theyre in breach of contract. Make a note of all payment dates and all communications from neighbours/agents/tenants.

GinBunny Thu 28-Apr-16 00:02:50

I don't think you can get them out for not paying rent on time if you are getting it in dribs and drabs. Can't remember exactly but they need to be in arrears for 2 full months I think, so if they pay a bit it resets the clock. Go to CAB OP, sounds like you need more than your agent has the capability to advise.

Patapouf Thu 28-Apr-16 00:25:31

CAB are very unlikely to help you, it's against the rules because they need to help the underdog (usually the tenant) and if they are advising you that is creating a conflict of interest if the tenant turns up for advice. Does your landlord insurance cover any legal advice?

The CAB website is very useful for housing info, you'll just have to work it out from your side rather than the tenant side IYSWIM.

Good luck, they sound a right pain in the arse

scarednoob Thu 28-Apr-16 05:08:33

The only way to terminate the contract early is by mutual agreement or based on tenant default. Unfortunately the courts tend to be tenant friendly and are likely to give them a stay of execution unless they owe more than 2 months' rent at the date of the hearing, when the judge must make a possession order. This is incredibly frustrating for landlords, esp when they have a mortgage to pay.

However you can take the first step and give them a scare with a section 8 notice - this is section 8 of the housing act 1988 and you would cite grounds (10) and (11) of schedule 2. If they owe more than 2 months, you can also cite ground (8).

In plain english, this means a notice seeking possession, served on the basis that (10) some rent is owed at the time the notice is served and (11) rent is persistently paid late. It threatens court action, so may give them the kick in the arse that they need.

You should also check that the agent has served a section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy at the end of the 12 month term. You need to give at least 2 months' notice, so can do that now too, or make sure they diarise it to serve before the 10 month mark.

Don't let the agent be soft on them; make them send arrears letters and call the tenants as well as serving the notice.

As for the noise, again don't let the agent ignore it.

Hope this helps!

scarednoob Thu 28-Apr-16 05:12:12

This is quite a useful guide though you don't need to worry too much as your agent should be able to serve it for you - if they can't I would recommend getting a local solicitor to do it for a fixed fee:

araiba Thu 28-Apr-16 05:17:22

you need proper advice but i doubt you can evict them based on non payment as they are paying, even if in separate, late payments- you need a minimum of 2 months non payment before you apply for possession.

JoandMax Thu 28-Apr-16 05:39:38

As others said you need 2 months of no rent paid before you can evict them for non payment of rent.

If you have landlords insurance give them a ring and ask for advice.

The best thing you can do is serve a section 21 2 months minimum before end of contract. If they refuse to go you'll need to go via the courts for an eviction order - long, frustrating process.......

Sadmother Thu 28-Apr-16 05:53:43

If you are having to move money around, it sounds like you can't really afford to keep this flat. What happens if it is empty between tenants? Or your tenants stop paying altogether? You need to be able to cover at least 6 months expenses. Is there any reason why you don't sell?

GreenTomatoJam Thu 28-Apr-16 05:59:16

I'm afraid I'm with Sadmother here - it doesn't sound like you can afford to be a landlord.

You should look at your landlords insurance - mine includes legal cover, and also consider joining one of the landlord organisations which can help you out with the basics of being a landlord.

Also, change your agent. Those ones are rubbish. (I've always had better luck with local agents rather than large chains)

lilydaisyrose Thu 28-Apr-16 06:09:00

CAB are very unlikely to help you, it's against the rules because they need to help the underdog (usually the tenant) and if they are advising you that is creating a conflict of interest if the tenant turns up for advice.

This advice is incorrect. I worked for CAB and had fill CAB training. Either party can be advises but checks are done to make sure that if the other party in a dispute/relationship breakdown/employment issue comes in, they would be directed to another bureau to avoid conflict of interests. CAB doesn't just support the underdog.

I'd call Shelter or a lawyer for some advice OP. And, depending on your contract, I'd consider sacking the agent - what are they doing for their 10/12%??

Rosa Thu 28-Apr-16 06:13:38

Can you do an inspection on the property ? If the neighbours have had cracks appearing then surely you have a right to view . Then if they are causing damage then will that not give you more rights to evict them? Just wondering.
Agree change the agent they sound pants....

19lottie82 Thu 28-Apr-16 07:51:48

You can't just evict them unfortunately. You'd have to take them to court which would be expensive, and the chances of the judge allowing you to do this because of the reasons stated are slim.

Have you spoke to them personally? Also have you inspected the property since they moved in?
If not write to them to arrange a mutually convinient date for a visit / chat, and tell them unless things improve you won't be renewing their lease.

Don't rely on the agency to sort things out. They are generally useless.

As others have said, if you're struggling without the rent, is being a LL really for you? Perhaps selling would be an easier option?

19lottie82 Thu 28-Apr-16 07:52:40

Head over to the money saving expert, buying, renting and selling forum. They're very knowledgeable about matters like this.

SurroMummy13 Thu 28-Apr-16 07:54:11

Ask for a viewing. Your property X you're entitled to. X

firesidechat Thu 28-Apr-16 07:56:56

Has anyone done an inspection at the property? If whatever they are doing is causing damage to other properties I would be in there as soon as possible with all the correct notices of course.

BoatyMcBoat Thu 28-Apr-16 08:44:58

Your agency sounds crap. When we had one, they paid the rent themselves and collected from the tenants, so it was they who went short - gave them incentive!

I would make an inspection myself - I wouldn't trust the agency to do it in these circumstances.

Check your agreements with a fine-toothed comb. And find another agent for next time.

mortgagefreesoon5 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:09:50

Hi, they are in breech of their contract, tenants and agents. There is a good gorum for landlords " Landlordzone" they ll be able to tell you what/ how document you need to issue them.
Good luck

19lottie82 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:34:56

mortgagefree in what way are the agents in breech of contract? I can't see how they are. It's not their fault that the tenants pay their rent late and make noise.

19lottie82 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:37:16

Fact of the matter is, people assume LA's have more power to evict bad tenants and get back rent that is owed, but they DONT.

If you live locally to your propert then there is absolutely paying a LA 12% to "manage" the property. All they will essentially do is pass on the rent and Bill you for seriously over priced contractors if any work or repairs need doing.

Falling270 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:44:12

Thank you all for your advice this is so helpful.

I have asked the agent to arrange an inspection he said it will be next month. I have also said for him to let me know when that will be as I will be attending too. Then at least I can see first hand what state the property is in. It was immaculate when they moved in.

I can afford to keep the property, I over pay on the mortgage every month, but if there is damage etc and I end up out of pocket I think to save the hassle and heartache I will end up selling it when these tenants leave. It's good to know about the notices that need to be served I'll definitely look into all of these and get them actioned where relevant.

A PP mentioned about the agency paying overpriced contractors- YY to this! In the first month they charged me £600 for plumbing work without informing me first. That's a whole other story...

As soon as November rolls round the agency and tenants will be gone (as long as they don't refuse to leave!)

RB68 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:47:30

Doesn't sound like agents are doing inspections either - I think you need to review agency or start to pull them on what they should be doing for the money they receive.

I would suggest that mortgage is paid from one particular account which you keep two months mortgage in to ensure that you always pay it. Can be hard to get that together but better than defaulting.

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