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livvye

Problems with the tenants

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I wonder if you could help me with a problem we're having with our tenants.

 

There were originally two friends sharing the contract (1 year fixed term). A month after they moved in one of them asked to break the contract (they're two young girls in their twenties, and they didn't get along). The subject didn't come up again for a few months but apparently the one who wanted to leave started spending more and more time at her parents; house rather than at the flat.

 

In the meantime, we've had countless problems with the remaining tenant, claiming the  windows were stuck (sent a handyman twice - he had to take a photo of the window fully open to prove that there was nothing wrong), electric heater didn't work (the plumber claimed it worked), bathroom fan didn't work (again, plumber went and claims it's working perfectly, washing machine door didn't open (the plumber went and confirmed the handle was broken due to force and we had to buy a new machine), hot water didn't work (sent 4 different plumbers on 7 different occasions who never could confirm that there was anything wrong with the boiler).

 

The remaining tenant didn't pay her full rent for the past two months claiming there's no hot water but the plumber says there was nothing wrong with it.

 

The second tenant is now saying she wants to move at the end of the month and the estate agent (who were the ones set the contract up and everything was done according to book) says there doesn't need to be a new contrast as such and that it's called a "vacating sharer". The second problem is that the agent says the the tenant will have a guarantor as her references do not meet criteria. 

 

My question is "what are our legal rights here?" Seeing that this tenant has been nothing but trouble, do I have to accept the vacating sharer agreement and get stuck with her for another 6 months even though she doesn't meet the criteria on her own and need a guarantor?

 

Thank you for your help!

 

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Hi Livvye,

 

Troublesome tenant complaining repeatedly without cause and not paying the agreed rent - sounds like it's time to tell the agents to give the tenants notice to quit.

 

In my experience over years, some agents are more interested in getting any tenants, rather than getting you "good" tenants  - they just want the commission, regardless of what happens to your property or (lack of) rental income.


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Hi

I assume you have evidence of all these different issues and the appropriate actions carried out.

 

Do you have this part about 'Vacating Sharer' in the Tenancy Agreement or other documentation signed by the Tenants?

 

Do you have copies of the 'Guarantor Documents' Signed by the guarantors?

 

Are both Tenants Named on the Tenancy Agreement?

 

What does it say in the Tenancy Agreement about either of them giving Notice to Quit?

 

The mistake the Tenant has made is with holding rent claiming no hot water as therefore she has breached your tenancy agreement and is 2 months in rent arrears. (2 months rent arrears, you could issue a section 8 notice to quit)

 

I would also consider doing a routine inspection of the property with both yourself & letting agent present serving the correct notices. This way you can check for yourself if there is actually no hot water. (before going down the section 8 notice route mentioned above)

 

Also remember you employed the services of the letting agent, you are the landlord not them.

 

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/rent-arrears

 

https://www.rla.org.uk/landlord/documents/rent_arrears/section8.shtml

 

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/eviction/eviction_notices_from_private_landlords

 

 

 

 


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Thank you so much for your replies.

 

Yes, I have text messages from the tenant acknowledging all the visits made by the professionals (handyman + double glazing maintenance person + 4 different plumbers)

 

4th plumber visited the property 4 different times and on three of those occasions found the boiler turned off. The tenant claimed she didn't know anything about it and said it must have been the other tenant who did that. 

 

I have an email from the plumber detailing each visit and he's happy to be contacted by the solicitors if need be. 

 

The tenant claims she didn't have hot water for 10 weeks but the plumber says the hot water was always working. His letter says, with the tank having a 210L water content, it was obvious that demand was greater than supply capacity.  The plumber is convinced that there's never been anything wrong with the hot water. His opinion was further verified after his discussion with the tenant's grandfather (who was present during his last visit) and being informed that the tenant had showered at his property the night before (spent roughly 20 minutes in the shower). Just to be able to say we've done something, the plumber replaced the two working standard stats with high level stats to allow the tank to regenerate quicker. He says this is not ideal as the high level stats will cause the tank to scale at a much quicker rate and will ultimately cause the tank to fail and need replacing as the scale can not be removed. He's done this just so the water heats quicker even after 20 minute showers.  (The tenant says this has solved the problem and that they have water left after they take a shower)

 

Both tenants are named on the agreement. I'll ask the Estate agent about the signed documents from the original guarantors but I'm certain that we have them. Everything was done according to books.

 

There's literally no mention of a Vacating Sharer in the agreement. It's a 12 month fixed term contract with both names on it. We're on month 6 now.

 

I really don't want to keep this tenant for another 6 months but the estate agent is saying that we have no choice but to accept the "vacating sharer" agreement even though "she will have a guarantor as her references do not meet criteria"

 

Do I have a right to object or is the estate agent telling the truth?

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

 

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Hi

 

1. You need to ask the Letting Agent in writing for clarification on 'Vacating Sharer' as this in not in the Tenancy Agreement and which Legislation they are relying on for stating this. (its the legislation you need them to quote and give you a website link to it)

 

2. Is there a 'Break Clause' in the Tenancy Agreement and if so is the Tenant that wishes to leave wanting to leave before this 'Break Clause'? (if the tenant wishes to leave before that break clause they would be breaching the signed tenancy agreement and therefore need to negotiate with you the Landlord if they wish to leave before the date of that break clause)

 

3. Your question on the 'Right to Object' to the Letting Agent. You are the Landlord not them, you employed their services via a signed agreement and they must follow the directions of you the Landlord. (make sure and have a good read of what you signed when you employed the services of this letting agent). This is your property not theirs, they are only administering it etc on your behalf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Thank you again

 

There isn't a break clause in the 1 year Fixed Term Tenancy Agreement and definitely no mention of a "vacating sharer". 

 

I agree, I don't think I appreciate my rights as the 'landlord'. When the estate agent says this is how it works (basically saying the first one has a right to leave the contract as long as the second one agrees to pay her share of the rent going forward), I'm not sure how I can object to that since I assume they're the experts in their field.

 

But my problem is that the problem sharer wants to stay even though her own references do not meet the criteria and they're bringing a guarantor. On top of it, they're already in rental arrears claiming they didn't have hot water but I have a written letter from the plumber saying there was nothing wrong with the hot water.

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So is what you're really asking how you might be able to get rid of the tenant early, instead of putting up with arrears and inconvenience? I wonder if the hot water thing is an excuse not to pay the rent.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi

 

Just to be clear a Tenant cannot refuse to pay rent after they have signed your Tenancy Agreement for the property irrespective if they are claiming no hot water for xx weeks especially when you have evidence to the contrary.

 

As they are now 2 months in arrears they have breached your tenancy agreement and you could go down the section 8 route for the rent arrears to evict your tenant and the letting agent you employed should be fully aware of this.

 

The hot water issue sounds more like the tenant didn't have a clue how to operate the heating system within your property

 

Has the Letting Agent informed this Tenant about the rents arrears and their Guarantor who would also be liable for the rents arrears?

 

Now the Tenant that wants to leave early as there is no 'Break Clause' in your Tenancy Agreement signed they would have to negotiate with you the Landlord to leave early as they are then in breach of that signed Tenancy Agreement.

 

Now before doing any of this is they have paid a Deposit it should be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme and they should have been give a copy of that deposit schemes prescribed terms.


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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I've booked an appointment with a solicitor to go see her this afternoon. 

 

I really think the hot water is an excuse to not pay the rent since she's planning to take on the other half of the rent when her salary clearly can't cover the full rent (estate agent confirmed that her references does not meet the criteria).

 

I don't want to be stuck with this tenant for another 6 months where she'll find other things "broken/not working" in the flat to claim as an excuse to not to pay the full rent. 

 

I've already informed the tenants as well as the estate agent that I will not be agreeing to the "Vacating sharer" until the rent arrears are paid off.

 

Thank you for all your help!

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The solicitor says until they're two full months rent in arrears, I wouldn't be able to serve a section 8 notice so there's nothing I can do basically.

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