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Tenant noving out after 2 weeks, does not want to pay rent , breaking contract - can we do anything?

(29 Posts)
twinsetandpearls Thu 14-Aug-08 23:51:59

We could not sell our house so my sister is renting it from us with a friend. We are subsidising them as the rent does not cover the mortgage. We also allowed sister's friend to store her stuff in dd bedroom for 2 weeks, meaning we all had to sleep together, without charging her. During this time she lived rent free with my mum.

Friend and sister have fallen out, friend has moved out and is refusing to pay any rent. Her contract commitment is for six months and then she can give us a months notice.

Is there anything we can do?

My sister has now admitted that her friend has some dodgy mates who have been in the house and are intimidating. This girl has keys to my house and I am concerned.

claricebeansmum Fri 15-Aug-08 00:36:37

Whilst, if having signed an AST she would be bound to pay the rent for 6 months you might just want to be shot of her and her dodgy mates.

Change locks.

Quattrocento Fri 15-Aug-08 00:39:56

TSAP, can you let me have a bit more information? Did you let the house to a single tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy? Or did you let it as a house in multiple occupation? Did you do all the landlordy things you are supposed to do? Or was it all a bit informal?

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 00:49:44

They have both signed an assured shorthold tenancy.

The only thing we waived was a deposit, which I now regret sad as I would have just kept it.

Dp wants to just forget about it.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 00:51:01

He wants to just put the house back on the market for a ridiculously low amount of money so it sells straight away and we can forget about the whole thing. Except we won't be able to forget about it as we won't be able to buy a new house.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 00:52:25

I can;t change the locks until the end of the month as she has paid until then.

AvenaLife Fri 15-Aug-08 01:26:44

I would forget about the rent if you can, it sound's like you're better off rid and it's really not worth any potential agro. You have to make the property secure if there's no one there. Has she taken all her belongings?

BrownSuga Fri 15-Aug-08 01:36:45

Is your sister still in it? Can't she find a flatmate and continue renting from you?

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 09:28:03

My sister is still in there. She said she will try to get someone but she is not hopeful. We are now pushed to our max to cover our mortgage on the old house and the rent on our new place. My sister also says she can't can't afford the bills on her own in the house.

Upwind Fri 15-Aug-08 09:39:54

For what it is worth, I think house prices have a lot further to fall over the next couple of years, and that your DP is right that you are probably best off reducing the price of the house to sell.

If you look at auction prices, anything that has sold recently has been much reduced. Assuming you have equity in your old house, once you sell your house you will become a cash buyer, which is rare in the current market. If you make low offers on houses in the area you want to buy, someone will bite.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 09:49:49

The house was already on below the price suggested by the estate agent and we did not have a single viewing. Similar houses were going up for about 160 to 170. We put ours on fifirst at 140 when 135. Any lower and we will be getting less than we paid for it and loosing money.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 09:55:09

She has not taken her belongings.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 15-Aug-08 10:02:01

I think technically you could take this woman to court for 5 months rent, but you would have no guarantee of getting the money without a lot of hassle even then.

but as she technically owes you 5 months rent, you don't need to wait until the end of the month to change the locks. change them now.

also think you should talk to your sister about putting an ad in the paper for a flatmate - I presume as she was "not hopeful", she was just going to ask her mates?

because the thing is, even if you do put it on for sale for a silly amount it still might not sell quickly. mortgage companies are being extremely careful.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 15-Aug-08 10:02:32

she'll have to call to get her belongings back

Upwind Fri 15-Aug-08 10:05:39

Have you spoken to other estate agents in the area about the realistic price achievable and how long it might take to get a sale? Around where I live, asking prices are being reduced below what identical houses sold for last summer.

I agree with SP, in the first instance it would be wise to change the locks. You can also get very cheap alarm systems for £20 or so...

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 10:56:04

She did not pay the last month's rent in full and said she would pay it in a few days but she has not done. My mum has told me that she has loaned her money as well. So she actually now has her belongings in a house she has not paid for. This whole situation is making me ill, I have been up all night throwing up. I am shaking. I am such a wimp when it comes to stress.

Upwind Fri 15-Aug-08 10:58:55

It will probably work out for the best - it sounds like it could have been a nightmare renting to this girl.

How old is your sister? Since she got you and your Mum into this situation, surely she has some responsibility in sorting things out? Have you checked gumtree etc to see what the going rate is for rooms in a shared house in that area?

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 11:04:02

I have done some research and she needs to be two months behind for us to take action. If we take the keys from her are we not ending the contract meaning she is not a few months behind so we can't take action. Can we not pass on the debt to a debt recovdry agency.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 11:12:56

My sister is 22 she has known this girl for six years.

Upwind Fri 15-Aug-08 14:41:02

Then your sister is old enough to take some responsibility for the situation. She needs to advertise for a new flatmate(s) ASAP.

I think you might get some better advice re. the old flatmate on a more specialised forum.

try one of these:
www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums
globalhousepricecrash.com
moneysavingexpert.co.uk

hanaflower Fri 15-Aug-08 14:52:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twinsetandpearls Fri 15-Aug-08 16:37:04

Thanks for those links upwind. Would my sister not be breaking the law by selling her property.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Fri 15-Aug-08 16:51:16

I'm afraid in this situation the landlord is always in the weaker position. The best you can hope for is that she goes and takes her stuff with her. Unfortunately you can NOT lock her out or sell her stuff, or you will be in the wrong whatever the position morally. Your sister is responsible for the rent if it was a joint and several tenancy, so she will either have to find another tenant to help with the rent or move out. You can apply to the court to evict them both after the initial 6 months, or you can sue for rent (but not evict) after it has been unpaid for 2 months. You presumably don't want to sue or evict our sister.

hanaflower Fri 15-Aug-08 16:59:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LIZS Fri 15-Aug-08 17:55:16

How is the tenancy worded ? If they jointly and severally liable your sister may be legally as responsible for paying the rent as her friend so pursuing it could eb counter productive as any arrangement to split the rent between them isn't part of the contract. If they have speparate agreements you probably could claim formthe other alone.

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