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Tenants refusing to pay rent

(62 Posts)
FedUpp Fri 24-Mar-17 15:18:47

I have a couple living in a flat I rent out and they have been there for 18 months. The rent charged is below market value and had never been increased. Every time they have needed a plumber etc they have been there straight away.

The property is managed through a leggings agency and he tenants are leaving in May. They are now two months in arrears and keep making up reasons why they can't pay their rent but I believe it's because they know they cannot be evicted before the end of their fixed term and really they are playing the system and have no intent on paying anything.

All contact is through the property manager but I found the tenants in Instagram and ironically they are both "flash" with fancy cars and she is posing with designer handbags full of shoes last week.

WIBU to send her a direct message on Instagram asking her to call me to discuss the situation? I want to do it this way rather than a different way because then she will know I have seen evidence of her high spending and lifestyle whilst not paying her bills. All I intend to say is to introduce myself and ask her to get back to me to discuss their rental arrears.

FedUpp Fri 24-Mar-17 15:22:21

*lettings agency not leggings!

ninenicknames Fri 24-Mar-17 15:28:26

Can you take a months rent from their deposit?

I would contact a solicitor and get a shitty letter to them.

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 24-Mar-17 15:33:57

What is the agency doing to get you your money? I remember people doing exactly what you suspect them of when I was a student - it's really shitty.

The deposit will only be a month and a half's rent won't it, you won't get it till they've moved, and you don't know what state they'll leave the place in.

Get the agent to continue contacting them about it. Is there anything in the contract about consequences for not paying?

monkeyfacegrace Fri 24-Mar-17 15:34:11

There's nothing you can do.

Other than take them to small claims court.

You can't take anything from their deposit.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Strigoi Fri 24-Mar-17 15:34:59

My tenants didn't pay the final two months' rent then had the cheek to throw a shitfit and insist on a tribunal when I put a claim into the TDS to keep their deposit.

If they're moving out anyway there's probably not a lot you can do. Apparently, if they fail to pay the final month's rent, you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to keep their deposit (IIRC from the TDS website).

TBH, it doesn't sound as if they will care that you can see they're spending money elsewhere and it's kind of irrelevant anyway. If it's being managed by an agent, I would just let them deal with it.

FedUpp Fri 24-Mar-17 15:39:30

Even if I get the six week's deposit back they will still owe about £4,000. I am contacting a solicitor to take them to small claims court. I don't see how they will get any deposit back when they owe so much money and have signed legally binding agreements saying they'll pay it each month?

makeourfuture Fri 24-Mar-17 15:41:05

See a solicitor.

SquinkiesRule Fri 24-Mar-17 15:41:59

I'd start the eviction notice paperwork seeing as they aren't paying. You have no guarantee they will actually leave when they are supposd to, and if you wait till May that is a lot more money lost.

FedUpp Fri 24-Mar-17 15:42:07

monkeyface

Why can't I take anything from their deposit? Surely it's there for exactly this reason?

Orangebird69 Fri 24-Mar-17 15:42:07

If they're 2 months behind, you can serve a section 8 notice, regardless of how far into the initial lease they are.

Idrinkandiknowstuff Fri 24-Mar-17 15:43:04

Take them to court and get a ccj against them, if nothing else it will screw thier credit rating.

Strigoi Fri 24-Mar-17 15:43:10

What does your agent say?

MidnightDexy Fri 24-Mar-17 15:47:36

Sorry FedUpp unless the law is different where you are (Scotland I'm guessing?) then no, unfortunately you can't take unpaid rent from the deposit. I suspect that's what your rental agreement says (that is the norm in England).

MidnightDexy Fri 24-Mar-17 15:50:09

Sorry should have clarified: legally, the deposit can only be used as security against damages, and i think unpaid utilities.

monkeyfacegrace Fri 24-Mar-17 15:52:57

Ah, hang on Midnight. I've just looked and apparently you CAN deduct unpaid rent. My agent said you catagorically couldn't.

Result!!!

Strigoi Fri 24-Mar-17 15:53:04

Interesting. I was able to keep my tenants' deposit held with the TDS because they didn't pay the last two months' rent and I'm in England. But obviously that was after they had moved out, I wouldn't have been able to claim it while they still lived there.

monkeyfacegrace Fri 24-Mar-17 15:54:31

But don't breathe a word to them.

If they know they have lost their deposit due to rent, they have no reason to not trash the property.

I'd take them to small claims for any repairs and for missing rent, regardless of what it cost. I'm pig headed and can't accept someone getting one over on me!

Porpoiselife Fri 24-Mar-17 16:00:35

Sounds like they are saving up for the deposit and agency fees on their new place if you ask me. What is your agent doing about it? Part of the fee you pay them is for them to make sure you get your rent paid. I'd be on the phone to them (the agents) everyday until they started doing something.

FrenchLavender Fri 24-Mar-17 16:01:15

Can you take a months rent from their deposit?

Of course you can if you have to, but that is not what the deposit is for, and it can take months to apply to release it back to you. A deposit is not supposed to be paid out in lieu of unpaid rent = what happens if they have caused damage to the property? That is want the deposit should be available for.

And I agree - do not, whatever you do, let on that you intend to withhold their deposit for any reason. Once people know they won't be getting it back they will trash a place just to be nasty fuckers and there is little you can do about it unless you want an expensive court battle on your hands.

Porpoiselife Fri 24-Mar-17 16:02:09

And let them think they will be getting their deposit back if they leave the place nice, otherwise like monkeyfacegrace says, they may well trash the place.

LittleGwyneth Fri 24-Mar-17 16:02:46

Maybe first of all send a nice message, asking them if everything is okay and telling them that if they talk to you then you can sort things out? If they're having problems they might have worked themselves up into a blind panic about it.

Not saying it's 100% work, but maybe it would be worth trying that before you start worrying about CCJ's etc.

chicaguapa Fri 24-Mar-17 16:07:54

I'd start the eviction notice paperwork seeing as they aren't paying. You have no guarantee they will actually leave when they are supposd to, and if you wait till May that is a lot more money lost.

^^ This

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 24-Mar-17 16:15:50

How does the process work if you chase a tennant through the small claims court? Is there any mechanism (attachment of earnings for instance) to actually get your unpaid rent back?

bloodyfuming9 Fri 24-Mar-17 16:19:53

Don't talk to them directly or contact them on Instagram or anything as this could be construed as harassment I would imagine. Do take screenshots though of their lifestyle as this could be evidence in Court
If you pay a lettings agent to manage the property, they should be advising you what to do next.
I would send a solicitor's letter now and get the eviction process rolling asap. Make sure you are doing everything that a good landlord should do, and definitely make sure that you continue to do the gas safety checks within the specified time period (i know a ll who didn't win the ir similar case due to the safety checks being doe outside the time period)

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