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Tenant with MH issues non rent payment and gas bill

(19 Posts)
greentea72 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:47:51

I own one rental flat, it was formally my own home and my partner and I have kept it for future pension reasons. I have, let it through an agent for ten years, with no problems, the flat has always been maintained and any repairs carried out, all tenants have been happy.

A new tenant in receipt of benefits moved in. she has MH issues and is unable to work and is therefore in receipt of benefits. She has made numerous petty complaints about the flat and we have had a number of workman in who have found no issue with the things she has been complaining about.

She is currently not paying her rent, to meet her halfway I have agreed to install a new washing machine(existing is very old but still working) and replace a sticking sash window with a brand new window.

However she is now not paying rent and has just registered her overdue gas bill in my name. Her reasoning for this is Some months ago there was a gas leak at the property, (gas certificate was in place)which she reported to the agents who arranged for someone to go into the property and sort out, however she failed to let the person in for a few days.

What on earth do I do now.
As well as not paying rent she is keeping a pet on the premises against agreement and also has had a note from the building freeholder not to block fire escapes with stuff but has continued to do so. Also conflicts with tenancy agreement. She currently has 12 month contract.

Agent has spoken to council re rent and this can be claimed directly from them after 8 weeks. But I am now really stressed re the gas bill and can't speak to anyone till Monday. Any ideas??

Littlefish Sat 22-Mar-14 18:52:47

I don't know the legalities of it, or how you do it, but I would be seeking to give her notice at the earliest possible moment.

Re. the pet - presumably this means that she has broken her tenancy agreement with you. Does this give you the opportunity to serve her notice?

I'm sure someone much more knowledgable than me will come along with some proper information in a minute.

Littlefish Sat 22-Mar-14 18:53:53

Also, how on earth did she manage to register the gas bill in your name? I can't believe this is legal.

OurMiracle1106 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:56:19

It sounds like you need to evict her tbh. I have mental health issues though still pay my rent on time (it was late the first month but I was hit by a car shattering my ankle and had a head injury. It still got paid the following day) agency do gas n electric as it's a shares flat and includes in the rent.

My housing benefit goes straight to landlord however I have a short fall to make up.

I would phone the gas company and explain who the tenant is and that it should be in their name

greentea72 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:57:25

My name on bill, with rental properties address and then forwarded by her to me. I don't understand how the gas company has done this either?

greentea72 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:59:55

Actually I have (albeit mild )MH issues myself, which is why I was being sympathetic.

Littlefish Sat 22-Mar-14 19:00:44

You definitely need to get on to the gas company first thing on Monday. I wonder if she lied to them and told them she was moving out?

GiveTwoSheets Sat 22-Mar-14 19:02:14

Phone the gas company up on Monday at least you have proof of tenancy agreement to prove who is in the property so they can amend it also forewarn them she is unlikely to pay as they will go down the route of putting in a metre if bills are unpaid after certain amount of time.

GobbySadcase Sat 22-Mar-14 19:02:44

Contact utilities supplier and ask them to pursue tenant for gas direct, which they will do even if she moves.

As for getting her out it depends how far into her 12 months she is. You could try and go for possession once she is 2 full months in arrears but bear in mind if she makes any payment, even £1, that won't stand up in court. It may be easier to issue a section 42 for her to leave on the tenancy end date (depending on how far into the future that is).

GobbySadcase Sat 22-Mar-14 19:06:59

Oh and by the way I suggest you join the national landlords association. Membership can be put under expenses and they can offer advice.

greentea72 Sat 22-Mar-14 19:23:31

Thanks gobby unfortunately we have more than 10 months to go. Don't want to serve notice yet- god knows what she will do in the meantime.Will look up landlords association though

Littlefish Sat 22-Mar-14 19:33:53

Did she only move in 2 months ago?

ballsballsballs Sat 22-Mar-14 19:36:37

Call Shelter - they have legal advisors who can tell you of your rights.

greentea72 Sat 22-Mar-14 19:43:00

She moved in 8 months ago originally on 6 month contract, all complaints and difficulties have only arisen after following 12 month contract was signed.

Nappaholic Sun 23-Mar-14 10:06:35

Having similar issues myself! Just served a "section 18" notice which gives two weeks notice, after which you MAY apply for a possession order, but the grounds are discretionary - this was for persistent late payment of rent (tenant on bens and has an unpaid shortfall), keeping two dogs when we agreed to one only, keeping the place untidy and unclean. We can choose NOT apply for possession if the tenant remedies the breaches by the expiry of the notice.

We've also served a "section 21" notice, which gives two months notice at the end of the fixed term. We can apply for a possession order at the end of the two months if the tenant hasn't vacated, and it MUST be granted...there is an "accelerated" procedure but it will still take a month or so to evict a stubborn tenant.

We already have the HB paid to us direct, so I'm not too worried about the rent. Although there is an £80 a month shortfall, we are holding a deposit, which should cover it.

Definitely apply for the HB to be paid to you, consider whether the "fault based" section 18 procedure could be used, and serve a section 21 notice now, to expire on the last day of the 12 months, as a backstop. Above all, get some advice! If this is the first bad tenant you've had in ten years, you've still gotten away quite lightly!

Good luck!

Nappaholic Sun 23-Mar-14 10:10:03

Oh, and fwiw, had you just left the tenancy to "roll over"', you would only have to give two months notice. I can't really think of why you would have needed to do a new 12 month contract: I can't see any benefit for the landlord in that, although I'm NOT an expert on L&T law and someone else may be able to explain any pro's to the landlord.

specialsubject Sun 23-Mar-14 10:54:41

contact the gas company.

it sounds like you may have a professional in your flat. She pays a tiny amount and the grounds for eviction for non-payment become null and void.As she is breaching the lease on other grounds, you probably have to go down that route.

I really really hope you have legal expenses insurance, if not rent guarantee. And malicious damage cover because I fear that may be next.

as others note - get proper advice quick. And check you are whiter than white; you say you have gas cert but make sure deposit is properly protected and she has the information about that. Otherwise she can sue you.

Viviennemary Sun 23-Mar-14 10:59:24

It is totally out of order that she has registered the gas bill in your name. Is this even legal. She is not paying rent. I would certainly hold off replacing the washing machine and window. The agency will have plenty of experience on how to deal with this. I'd take their advice. Just don't renew her lease.

Morgause Sun 23-Mar-14 11:10:10

Begin the eviction process now. The sooner she's out the better.

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