Please help... There's been a massive fuck up with our tenant.
We rented our house to a new tenant last year (November 2014), earlier this year we found out the tenant hadn't been paying the council tax after we got letters from a debt collection agency saying the council tax arrears had been passed to them and there was fines etc to pay. We contacted the tenant who said he'd forgotten about paying council tax and that he'd set up a direct debit to pay the debt and had transferred the council tax into his name... So we trusted him and forgot all about it... More fool us!! Today I received a text message to say the debt had increased and it was being passed to enforcement officers. I called the debt collection agency and explained the tenant had set up a payment. He had set up a payment but had never actually paid anything. Apparently the debt is ours to pay because the council tax is in our names. My husband phoned the council and they said as long as we can provide proof we rent our house out the debt will be transferred to tenants name... So, we called our property manager who holds the contract to request it gets sent to the council ASAP BUT they don't have a signed contract in their possession. WTF... They never received a signed copy back from the tenant and there was a massive oversight. Anyway, we have proof he's been paying us rent (bank statements) and we have the unsigned draft copy of the tenancy agreement.
Can anyone help out here? Are we fucked? Should we just pay the debt and get rid of the tenant ASAP?
It sounds like you have proof, hopefully they'll accept it. I would get rid of the tenant and the agent though. And i probably dint need to say this, but make sure you notify the council of any changes immediately in future.
I'm fairly sure your tenant in fact has a tenancy agreement, whether or not there's a piece of paper to prove it. You wouldn't be breaking any laws by renting the house out with a verbal agreement alone. So on that basis, the council ought to accept a copy of your bank statement showing regular rent payments. If the tenant isn't denying that he lives there, they need no further proof from you that you don't.
I don't see any reason to evict the tenant if he's paying you rent. He probably did just forget about council tax as he wouldn't have had any reminders as the council thought you were still liable.
We've been renting our house for 8 years and have had great tenants that have sorted all admin when they've moved in... I guess we got complacent/naive/stupid. I took him at his word and have learnt a valuable life lesson.
We'll get back onto the council and see if they'll accept the regular payments as proof he's our tenant. We also have emails from tenant saying the contract is all in order and he'll sign it, and that he's transferred his name to the council tax.
Don't worry, you have loads of proof. Just make sure when it's all sorted that nothing is on your credit history concerning this debt. Sometimes things get left on mistakenly. That can be sorted easily.
The fact that he got in touch with the debt collectors to set up a payment scheme doesn't work in his favour! - but he's not actually claiming he doesn't live there is he? It sounded from what you posted like a cock up on the part of the council and your letting agent, not a deliberate attempt on the part of your tenant to pretend he's not been living there so that you have to pay his council tax.
If he's admitting he lives there and accepting that it's his debt I don't think you've anything to worry about. They can't chase you for the debt if he's said yes he's been living there for the last 8 months.
You're right, purpledasies. I'm just very worried that he will attempt to wangle out of the debt because his behaviour so far has been questionable (not paying). I'm also incredibly pissed off at him and us for getting into this monumental cock up.
You should have notified the council when he moved in.
He's not denied the debt is his. He hadn't paid it yet but he hadn't denied it was his debt. He has also said he will sign the tenancy agreement so it seems harsh to evict him for this. Just get him to take responsibility for the debt and future council tax and get an agent that does ehat they are paid for.