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How to deal with non-responsive, non-paying tenants?

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Hi there,

 

I have a query on behalf of my mother who is a recent landlord (but has been very ill so I'm picking this up on her behalf): she has two tenants living in her property on a six month contract, with rent due on the 10th of each month. Two months in and the tenants are 9 days late on their rent. I spoke to one of them last week who told me that the other tenant has been in hospital, and all the rent comes out of her bank account, so if we haven't received it she can't do anything about it. I reminded her that it was a joint tenancy and therefore it is a joint responsibility to get the rent paid - she took my number and agreed to call me in two days with an update on the rent status.

 

Since then, neither of them have been answering telephone calls or responding to polite voicemails requesting that they contact me to sort it out.

 

Meanwhile my mother's neighbours/friends in the area have told us that one of the tenants has bought a new car in the last week, that unsightly rubbish is being left out for weeks on end, and that one of them has a boyfriend with a key to the property who also virtually lives there. :-x

 

The property is unmanaged which means the letting agents can't really do much to help, although they have been notified of the situation.

 

As the tenants are not responding to any attempts to make contact - what is the correct (legal) way progress this? At what stage am I able to serve notice?

 

Any advice would be very much appreciated! :-)

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early days, however late rent can cause LL problems with cash flow etc.

You can issue S8 when they are two months behind, and then seek eviction thriugh the courts or if you dont want them to continue after the six months you can issue a S21 notice now for possession at the end of the contract.

just a quick check tho. as your mother is a new LL.

Did they pay a deposit and is it protected in a DPS, as required; if not you cannot issue a S21 until it is.

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You have not said so explicitly, but I take it that you have not been to the property yourself.

 

As raydetinu says, make sure the deposit is protected. And be sure that the tenants will accept that you have been given full responsibility for the property.

 

I would suggest fully taking control of the situation by arranging a visit, and meeting them face to face. They could be in genuine difficulty because of one of them being in hospital. It could just be that they are lazy, slow payers who need encouragement to pay up.

 

Till you see the property at first hand, I'd be wary of what the neighbours say. Owner occupiers often take a dislike to tenants. The new car could be a gift, a work car or simply an essential for work that they've had to buy.

 

Because tenants are less invested in a property and an area, their standards can *sometimes* differ from those of the neighbours. I can say this as I was a probably slightly messy tenant in the past, and I have some neighbours whose interest in recycling glass ends once the bottle is in the box or bag outside their front door.

 

With regards to boyfriends with keys, it is generally the case that one should be wary about stepping into the personal lives of people. You cannot realistically stop your tenants from having partners (in my opinion). It becomes your business only if the partners have an impact on the other tenants in the house.

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Calls for an inspection of the property. Give them the required LL notice, then turn up and inspect.

 

I agree with Steve_M that neighbours who are owner occupiers have much higher standards. I rented a flat where the communal area carpets were a dark creamy colour. Great if you care about it, but come on - firstly carpets in communal areas?? and secondly, cream coloured! Of course the carpet is going to be dirty! People are not going to take their shoes off to enter communal areas. But of course, our flat received letters from the management saying that we were messy tenants and were dirtying the carpets... and they don't complain about just one thing - so they add that you are noisy, have lots of visitors and they think your motorbike you keep in your garage is far too loud...

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If the deposit wasn't protected within the specified time frames under the law (and the prescribed info provided to the tenant), it is too late to protect it now. The deposit will need to be repaid to the tenant before a s21 can be served (it won't be valid if the deposit is not protected).

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The LL looses the right to use the S21 totally, unless it has gone through the court for non-protection, just repaying the deposit is not sufficient. ( as you say the the deposit has to be protected and LL has not complied with the law )

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The LL looses the right to use the S21 totally, unless it has gone through the court for non-protection, just repaying the deposit is not sufficient. ( as you say the the deposit has to be protected and LL has not complied with the law )

 

Nope, if a deposit is not held then the law to protect it doesn't apply - obviously as there is nothing to protect. People are often advised not to accept the return of the deposit because this means the LL can't serve a s21, but if they accept the money back, then no deposit is held and a s21 can be served, and actioned, in a court of law.

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I cant disagree more, the LL has not coplied with the law, and has therefore lost any right to serve an S21, even if given back! ( because it was not protected when given to LL as law requires ).

The fact he may have given it back subsequently does not change that.

The only way the LL can get any right back in this respect is for a court to rule on the non-protection etc.

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I cant disagree more, the LL has not coplied with the law, and has therefore lost any right to serve an S21, even if given back! ( because it was not protected when given to LL as law requires ).

The fact he may have given it back subsequently does not change that.

The only way the LL can get any right back in this respect is for a court to rule on the non-protection etc.

 

With any respect due, it really doesn't matter if you disagree a little or a lot. The fact is, the law is clear on that issue.

 

I've made bold the part of your post that relates to subsection b of the section of the Act I am referring to (albeit you've also ignored the fact that ss also states 'withdrawn' and 'settled by agreement' in addition to 'determined')...whereas the bit you are ignoring (which I am referring to), is subsection a.

 

You'll find I am correct.

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It would appear I am mistaken and that a LL can in fact return the deposit and then issue a S21 legally! does not sound right to me tho!

appolgies LHTH.

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No need to apologise, it was an easy mistake to make as the law has only just changed (few months back).

 

I think the addition of the 'return the deposit' bit is a policy decision on the part of the government. You can't have businesses (i.e. landlords) completely incapable of remedying what might just be an error on their part, and subsequently being unable to regain their properties. Don't forget, there would be tax implications and the government would not like to lose revenue!

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