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Tenants won't leave. What next?

(15 Posts)
MsSampson Fri 09-Jan-15 14:33:41

Property let and managed by agents. It was on the market last year but tenants obstructive about viewings and the flat was messy and dirty for those they did allow (despite me offering and giving them a rent reduction). I appreciate that legally they had no legal obligation to allow viewings but as we are selling out of financial necessity we served notice (correctly as per section 21).

They are meant to be moving out today but recently contacted the agents to say that one half of the couple lost his job over Christmas, that they have contacted a solicitor, and will not be leaving. The agents have separately chased rent due and the tenants have just referred them to a solicitor.

My understanding is that I now need to apply for a possession order. But I'm wondering if there are other things I should be doing (or perhaps more importantlyshouldn't be doing) to ensure any court proceedings proceed smoothly. I was planning on applying for an accelerated possession order online rather than incur the expense of a solicitor, so very keen not to make any legal missteps.

For example - the lettings manager is planning on attending the property on Monday to check if they have left or not. Could that be construed as harassment? Should we channel all communication via their solicitor? Should I suggest I would be willing to do some kind of independent arbitration before going to court? (my main previous experience is employment law where this was suggested as all judges like to see you have attempted to resolve outside of court).

Any advice or similar experiences gratefully received!

expatinscotland Fri 09-Jan-15 14:35:43

You need to stop trying to do this on the cheap and get a proper solicitor and sell the place empty.

Rangirl Fri 09-Jan-15 17:35:13

It can be very difficult to get Tenants out I agree with expat that you should take proper legal advice as it's easy to make a mistake Courts can be reluctant to evict particularly if there are children and if you make a small mistake the action could be dismissed Your tenants have probably been advised not to move out without a court order as they could be seen to be making themselves voluntarily homeless To be honest even with a solicitor it's not likely to be a quick process

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 09-Jan-15 20:03:42

The landlord law website for a small membership fee ( I think £19) will provide you with all the correct information you need.

MsSampson Sat 10-Jan-15 12:07:27

Thanks all. Expat - I am trying to sell the property vacant; that's why I served notice on the tenants two months ago. Correctly according to section 21.

They don't have children - it's a young couple in their twenties. Quite scared by the idea that a court might not evict them, especially if they're not planning on paying rent (which is what they are saying in an email). We aren't investment landlords, it's my old home that we rented on a short term basis and now we need to relocate for work and need to sell to achieve this. Not being able to do this will have a massive impact on our future plans, and I now feel very naive for renting it out at all.

Sounds like a solicitor will be needed, I thought I could avoid the added expense by filing proceedings online but maybe not.

Rangirl Sat 10-Jan-15 12:22:29

You are entitled to have them evicted but it can be a long process in my experience (25years(

Rangirl Sat 10-Jan-15 12:24:19

Sorry I mean 25years as a property lawyer not that it will take you 25 years! If they don't pay rent that will go against them

Christmashamster Sat 10-Jan-15 12:43:36

You need a solicitor for this. If you'd like to pm me I'll be happy to go through our recent costs on the same.

specialsubject Sat 10-Jan-15 14:16:58

this is what you are paying the agents to sort. They need to start the proper process. Get even the tiniest bit wrong and you go back to the beginning. It is all biased to the tenant (don't whine, landlord-haters, it is true) and you must be 100% on your side, e.g. deposit protection.

you'll get the tenants out eventually but it will take a few months and cost£££. I hope you have legal expenses cover and malicious damage cover. You'll need one of those.

the way to ensure you are granted possession is to plan to move back into it -that is a mandatory ground. You'll still need court, bailiff etc.

MsSampson Sat 10-Jan-15 16:28:14

The 25 years comment was quite scary! Just from googling I can see that even best case scenario would still be 4-5 months though.
I feel a bit stupid and naive now, I don't have malicious damage cover. Or landlords insurance. I do have legal expenses cover though so will look into that.
And Christmashamster, thanks, will pm.

whatadrain Sat 10-Jan-15 16:41:32

In a similar situation, OP. My tenants are due to move out next week but won't respond to any contact and haven't been paying rent so I'm waiting to contact a solicitor the day after the notice period is up. It's just soul destroying to think that I've missed out on an excellent offer for my house and I could potentially have them living there rent-free for the next four-five months, calling all the shots.

No real advice, just total empathy.

MsSampson Sat 10-Jan-15 18:37:08

Thanks for the empathy whatadrain. Fingers crossed for both of us that the process is as smooth as possible. Although I have to say, the more I Google the less positive I am

specialsubject Sat 10-Jan-15 18:50:30

you don't have landlords insurance - you mean the property is insured as if you were living in it?

If this is the case PLEASE PLEASE Sort this ASAP. There was a thread on here where the tenants (accidentally) burnt the house down and the landlord didn't have the correct insurance. Goodbye house.

if that legal expenses cover is on normal insurance and you don't live there, it isn't valid.

did you protect their deposit? Is there a valid gas safe cert?

MsSampson Sat 10-Jan-15 21:25:16

It's a flat, so I don't have my own separate buildings insurance. I informed the management company that it was tenanted, and they said I didn't need to do anything else? The deposit is protected - the whole thing is arranged through a proper agent. And there's no gas to the property, so no certificate. Also, my mortgage company do know it's tenanted as well.

When I said I didn't have landlord's insurance I meant I didn't have insurance that would protect me for unpaid rent etc. I didn't even know such a thing existed in fact, again, naively.

specialsubject Sun 11-Jan-15 12:26:19

phew. :-) You've done all the right things.

but yes, I'm afraid you have been naive and so are unprotected against a tenant who is doing the wrong things.

make very sure that the eviction is handled correctly to minimise the expense - there are professional cheating tenants who know exactly who to play the system and if you've got those, it is going to stack up.

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