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My tenant is asking for financial help

(39 Posts)
DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 20:39:02

Tenant has given notice 3 months into a 6 month contract. She has given 3 weeks' notice, not the required month, nor from the start of the rental period.

She wants me to return her deposit now so that she can buy a ticket to her home country. She's leaving the UK permanently. I've explained that even if I wanted to (which I don't under the circumstances) I couldn't because it's in the deposit protection scheme. She now wants me to give her some of her rent money back instead.

She's apparently ill, therefore unable to work and doesn't get sick pay. Am I right in thinking that if you're in a financial hole you ask family and friends for help, not your landlord? confused

wowfudge Sun 19-Jul-15 20:49:54

You can insist she fulfils the terms of the AST, but if she leaves the country how will enforce it and recover any monies that she owes you?

I suggest you arrange to meet with her. If she is genuinely ill, then you can consider what you want to do. You can also inspect the property. There are only limited other circumstances I can think would lead a tenant to want to leave early without being liable for the rent for the rest of the term: they can't afford the rent for some reason or they want to move in with someone else (this includes wanting to move back home) or they need to move for work.

The decent thing would be to work with her, but you need to be sure there is nothing amiss with the rented property.

GERTI Sun 19-Jul-15 20:55:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 20:55:50

I've met her, no outward sign of debilitating illness but that's meaningless.

In the short time I've known her she has shown a talent for sob stories. I reduced her rent by 10% as she pleaded a low wage. She seemed lovely and responsible but has proved a PITA since.

AddToBasket Sun 19-Jul-15 20:56:07

You can hear her out but do not give her money. Do not return the deposit.

Are you in Scotland? You are entitled to the rest of the three months rent minus any loss (rental income) you could reasonable have made up (i.e. from another tenant).

All a bit weird IMO. She should not be coming to you - she must think you are a softie!

DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 20:56:48

GERTI - thanks for your post, I think it's what I need to hear. She's not my responsibility.

GERTI Sun 19-Jul-15 21:02:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AddToBasket Sun 19-Jul-15 21:03:34

I might keep it all quite vague, if I were you. You don't have anything to gain by having a conversation with her, except a clear date of when she is leaving. I would be nailing that down and making sure I got the keys back (also voice of experience). I would be trying to be super nicey-nicey whilst not actually giving her anything. Niceness can sometimes encourage end-of-let cleaning but I think in your case she doesn't sound responsible enough to clean. Another reason to hang on to deposit.

LIZS Sun 19-Jul-15 21:11:08

She needs to understand that you can't return the deposit until she has left. You do have discretion to agree to terminate early but iiwy I'd ask her for a full months final rent and access to viewers as a minimum. Tbh it sounds as if she is in low paid work and may no longer be employed. Did you take up references and guarantor? Presumably she is from within EU and I would doubt the system in her home country is any more flexible.

DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 21:11:19

AddtoBasket - we're in England.

GERTI - everything you say is true. She came to us through her employers, in hindsight I should have asked them to act as guarantor.

Lesson learnt. And from now on I will just act like a broken record, repeat all the information I have already given her.

DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 21:16:46

This is the email I sent her after we met and she sent me a pleading email:

Dear Tenant,

Many thanks for your email. As I said yesterday and I'm sorry for your circumstances.

Unfortunately I will not agree to the return of your deposit on the grounds that you are still within your six month contract. You are in fact liable to pay us rent until this six months is finished. In addition you have not given us the required one month's notice from the start of your rental period (in your case the first of the month).

As you are aware, your deposit is held in the Deposit Protection Scheme. If you choose to end your tenancy early I will ask them to return the deposit to me. If you wish to dispute this then the matter will be decided by them. You will need to tell them, either directly or through me, your new postal address so that they can contact you.

Regards, Doris

GERTI Sun 19-Jul-15 21:20:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GERTI Sun 19-Jul-15 21:22:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FuckingLiability Sun 19-Jul-15 21:29:45

I'd let her go on the basis that she's a PITA, but I wouldn't be giving her the deposit back before she's moved out.

My tenants had some financial difficulties for a few months, but they didn't talk to me, just kept making more and more far-fetched excuses as to why the rent was late again. In the end, I asked to meet up with them, got them to explain the situation (which was genuine and not their fault) and asked them to just be open with me. They were a million times better after that and have communicated with me properly. I think they were just afraid I would throw them out.

Be sympathetic but stick to your guns, don't fall into trying to mother her. GERTI's is spot on.

DorisLessingsCat Sun 19-Jul-15 22:10:10

Thanks all. DH is going over there tomorrow for some pre-planned maintenance. I've instructed him to not get involved in conversation. He's a sucker for a damsel in distress!

FuckingLiability - I've done the same, helped when people are upfront but I've got no patience with chancers.

specialsubject Mon 20-Jul-15 10:57:28

I'd say work with her to get her out. This means she helps you by making the place immaculate and agreeing to a reasonable number of viewings. Once she's gone, you do the checkout and return the deposit as appropriate. You could use it to cover the void until a new tenant is in; so it is in her interests to help you get that new tenant ASAP.

Once she's left the country you'll have no chance of getting any money back.

buying her ticket home is her problem. Sorry.

DorisLessingsCat Mon 20-Jul-15 12:03:16

More emails arrived last night and today asking for her deposit back <sigh> I am holding firm.

She has also indicated that she's going to ring the DPS herself now. Please tell me that they won't just unilaterally decide to give it back to her? (Although given that she hasn't found the time to set up a bank account in this country that will be an interesting conversation) hmm .

I think I already have a replacement tenant - someone who viewed when it was vacant three months ago. I called them this morning and they are still interested, but can't move until the end of August - another reason to hang on to her deposit.

I'm tempted to ring her employer (all initial contact was with her employer) to check out her story but on the other hand I don't want to get any more deeply embroiled...

hereandtherex Mon 20-Jul-15 12:07:31

No, you have a contract with her.
DPS will just say she gets her deposit back when she leaves.
You have done everything above board.
Your tenant is scamming it.

hereandtherex Mon 20-Jul-15 12:09:31

I would not expect the full 6 months rent.
Start advertising for a new tenant and let her go early.
No point suing without money.


wowfudge Mon 20-Jul-15 12:31:29

It looks very much as though she can't afford the rent - at least you have a heads up and she wants to leave. It could be much, much worse.

specialsubject Mon 20-Jul-15 13:00:15

call the DPS yourself, find out the process and make sure you know how to raise a dispute.

then keep repeating to her that if she wants to leave, that's fine, but she's liable for the rent until the end of the contract/until you find someone else.

hereandtherex Mon 20-Jul-15 13:20:46


The only thing worse then a tenant doing a runner is a tenant stopping paying the rent and staying put.

At least you have a heads up that you need to start advertising ASAP.

It could be a lot, lot worse - tenants stays put and waits for an eviction notice, which can take months.

DorisLessingsCat Mon 20-Jul-15 13:37:27

Should I issue her with an eviction notice to avoid her staying and not paying rent? Can I even do this as she's within her six months?

I've dealt with disputes through the DPS in the past - usually cases in which the tenants didn't pay their last month's rent, once or twice because they caused damage - and it's all been very smooth.

hereandtherex - no, not Nigerian, European.

I agree it's better for me that she leaves once she can't afford to pay any more and I have no intention of pursuing her for rent for the remainder of the contracted period, I would have zero chance of being successful.

I might check the terms of my LL insurance, I think I have some cover that might apply should things go badly.

LIZS Mon 20-Jul-15 13:55:30

If you have a replacement tenant lined up you can mutually agree to terminate the contract sooner, ie. at end of August. She still can't have her deposit back yet though and has to pay rent until then ( although of course she may default). Is she in arrears yet?Her employment seems to have ended somewhat abruptly hmm they would have surely paid her until that point. Do you think she is genuinely going home or just using that as an excuse to move on.

wowfudge Mon 20-Jul-15 14:02:08

Talk to her! She has at least told you she wants to move before the tenancy is up. It's unlikely she'll stay. If she gets her hands on the money for her flight home she's more likely to do a moonlight flit, but chances are that her deposit is substantially more than the cost of a flight which is why she doesn't want to just go.

Check with DPS what the situation is and agree with her that in return for being released from her obligations she will allow viewings, etc. You can agree between you (get it in writing and keep her emails of course) to end the tenancy early. Then do a proper checkout and return her deposit as appropriate. Explain why you cannot return her deposit early. Also agree how the utility bills and Council Tax will be paid once she goes as she will doubtless owe some money.

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