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  • FIRST POST
    • shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • By shouldhaveknownbetter1 7th Dec 17, 7:51 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 2Thanks
    shouldhaveknownbetter1
    Schoolgirl Landlord Errors?
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:51 PM
    Schoolgirl Landlord Errors? 7th Dec 17 at 7:51 PM
    Hi

    I am new to the forums but am in desperate need of advice.

    I stupidly rented my flat to family of a friend. They were on housing benefit at the time and paid as the council paid them. Only problem is they did not pay a month's deposit. This was 2 years ago.

    Last December one of them got a job so the council payments went down. And the tenants decided to pay me at the end of the month, so in arrears rather than advance. They did this without letting me know - I only found out when I called them to ask where the rent was.

    During that phone call I told them that they must work towards paying in advance and that I needed the 1 month rent security deposit.

    They have made no effort to sort these finances out.

    In September I carried out a flat inspection and sat both tenants down and explained that they must get to a place where they have paid a deposit and are paying in advance. They made all the right noises.....but did not get back in touch. Whilst they have been tenants I have attended to all their emergencies immediately; replaced dishwasher and fridge as soon as they reported they were broken, and have just spent £2k on replacing windows. But the irony of me paying everything instantly seems to be lost on them.

    Today I sent an email to them saying that as discussed numerous times I require the rent to be paid in full in advance and for a holding deposit to be paid as security. I received an email back from my tenant confirming they had received my message and that they were awaiting legal advice!!!!!

    I replied that it is a shame they feel they need legal advice as I was hoping we could sort this out without the need of the legal route, but reiterated that my main priority is rent and deposit payment.

    My question is....what do I do now? Do I wait 7 days and then seek legal advice on starting the eviction process? Any advice very gratefully received
Page 1
    • anselld
    • By anselld 7th Dec 17, 7:59 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 4,986 Thanks
    anselld
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:59 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 7:59 PM
    You cannot really demand a deposit 2 years down the line when it was not demanded originally.

    However, presumably their fixed term has completed and they have continued on a periodic tenancy?

    In which case serve s21 notice and be prepared to go to court to regain possession.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 7th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    • 5,550 Posts
    • 4,933 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:01 PM
    wait 7 days for what?
    there is no letter before action in respect of tenancies, you serve the relevant notice and then you go to court once the relevant notice period has expired.

    the fact there is no deposit works in your favour as they cannot counter sue for failing to protect it.

    do you have a signed tenancy agreement anyway?

    as you have titled this thread "schoolgirl errors" have you read G-M's guides to being a LL, as by implication, you still need to learn...

    how to end an AST: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=67759913&postcount=4

    how to be a landlord:
    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.php?p=67759929&postcount=7
    • Slithery
    • By Slithery 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    • 358 Posts
    • 516 Thanks
    Slithery
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    If you wanted a deposit this should have been sorted before they moved in, you can't now go back and demand one from them.

    Do you have a written tenancy agreement in place?
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    • 3,271 Posts
    • 4,556 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:02 PM
    Surely the housing benefit was paid in arrears not in advance? So why are you trying to change this now? They don't get paid for working in advance. When you gave them the tenancy agreement what did it say about a deposit?

    There is nothing special about you paying for repair promptly. This is what you have to do if you want to be a landlord.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Dec 17, 8:04 PM
    • 42,255 Posts
    • 49,059 Thanks
    G_M
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:04 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:04 PM
    Stop acting as a friend and start learning how to be a landlord. Then act as such. Read:

    ** Tenancies in Eng/Wales: Guides for landlords and tenants This thread is intended to provide information to both landlords and tenants relating to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales.

    Topics covered:

    * Repairing Obligations: the law, common misconceptions, reporting/enforcing, retaliatory eviction & the new tenant protection (2015)

    * Deposits:
    payment, protection and return

    * Ending/renewing an AST: what happens when a fixed term ends? How can a LL or tenant end a tenancy? What is a periodic tenancy?

    * Rent increases: when & how can rent be increased?

    * Repossession: what if a LL's mortgage lender repossesses the property?

    * New landlords: advice, information & links

    * Letting agents: how should a landlord select or sack?
    • shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • By shouldhaveknownbetter1 7th Dec 17, 8:51 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:51 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:51 PM
    Thanks for the replies! I had a 12 month agreement with them initially which spells out deposit and rent in advance, we then signed an extension November 16 which has now run out so presumably is now a periodic tenancy.

    The mistake i obviously made is making allowances for friends. The council pay every 2 weeks so it was like pay as you go which was ok when the council paid the lot. The rent is 1250 per month, the council now only pays 2 payments of c.185 and the tenant is responsible for c.850.

    When one tenant got the job I was sympathetic to their problems with regard to getting to a point of paying in advance but 13 months down the line we have moved no further.

    Am I right in presuming that if they seek legal advice they will be advised they don't have a leg to stand on?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Dec 17, 9:00 PM
    • 42,255 Posts
    • 49,059 Thanks
    G_M
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:00 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:00 PM
    Thanks for the replies! I had a 12 month agreement with them initially which spells out deposit and rent in advance, we then signed an extension November 16 which has now run out so presumably is now a periodic tenancy.

    The mistake i obviously made is making allowances for friends. The council pay every 2 weeks so it was like pay as you go which was ok when the council paid the lot. The rent is 1250 per month, the council now only pays 2 payments of c.185 and the tenant is responsible for c.850.

    When one tenant got the job I was sympathetic to their problems with regard to getting to a point of paying in advance but 13 months down the line we have moved no further.

    Am I right in presuming that if they seek legal advice they will be advised they don't have a leg to stand on?
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    I'm not clear what you want to achieve?

    * get payment for the rent arrears?
    * evict?
    * both the above?
    * take a deposit retrospectively?
    * adjust the rent in the contract?
    * or what?
    * or don't you know?

    Until you decide, we can't advise if/how you might achieve it.
    • shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • By shouldhaveknownbetter1 7th Dec 17, 9:05 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:05 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:05 PM
    Ideally I want the rent arrears and retrospective deposit as security in case they do a runner.

    If that is not possible then eviction seems the only option
    • Moriath
    • By Moriath 7th Dec 17, 9:25 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    Moriath
    I th8nk you already been told you got no hope of insisting on a deposit. So you have to decide how to go on from here. Do you want to oeep them or not?
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 7th Dec 17, 9:40 PM
    • 28,635 Posts
    • 72,954 Thanks
    Mojisola
    I received an email back from my tenant confirming they had received my message and that they were awaiting legal advice!!!!!
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    I expect that getting rid of them will be a long process if they've had their rights explained to them.
    • shouldhaveknownbetter1
    • By shouldhaveknownbetter1 7th Dec 17, 9:45 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    shouldhaveknownbetter1
    Do they have rights if they have been in permanent arrears despite agreement saying pay in advance?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 7th Dec 17, 9:52 PM
    • 42,255 Posts
    • 49,059 Thanks
    G_M
    Ideally I want the rent arrears and retrospective deposit as security in case they do a runner.

    If that is not possible then eviction seems the only option
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    You can ask them to pay the deposit. They can, and probably will, refuse.

    You can take legal action via moneyclaimonline for the arrears. It's unlikely you will lose. If they have sense they will pay before it goes to court to avoid court costs. Or do a runner. If it goes to court and they lose, court costs will be added. If they have no money the court may order them to pay off at eg £5 per week.

    You can evict via a Section 8 Notice for rent arrears. Either Ground 8 if the arrears are greater than 2 months rent, or ground 10 and/or 11 if not. Ground 8 is mandatory, whereas grounds 10 & 11 are at the discretion of the court. You can claim the arrears at the same time as claiming possession of the property.
    Last edited by G_M; 08-12-2017 at 2:47 AM.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 7th Dec 17, 9:52 PM
    • 5,418 Posts
    • 4,986 Thanks
    anselld
    Do they have rights if they have been in permanent arrears despite agreement saying pay in advance?
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    Please read the links already provided and then ask yourself that question again.
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 8th Dec 17, 6:56 AM
    • 4,010 Posts
    • 2,497 Thanks
    csgohan4
    money and friends shouldn't mix, now you know how it is when money enters the equation
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land"
    • molerat
    • By molerat 8th Dec 17, 7:50 AM
    • 17,469 Posts
    • 11,694 Thanks
    molerat
    You are currently receiving rent in arrears but are they up to date with that - do they owe anything other than the past month ? The problem could be that as soon as you issue a S21 they stop paying all together. The deposit boat has long sailed.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 8th Dec 17, 7:55 AM
    • 16,116 Posts
    • 40,012 Thanks
    FBaby
    Considering your lack of experience and understanding of the responsibility of being a tenant, it is probably a blessing that they never gave you a deposit in the first place. At least you can't be sued by them for not having dealt with it properly.

    You can issue a S21, although do seek advice on how to do this properly. There are requirements to make it legal that you will need to make sure you've enacted. Whether you'll ever see the money they owe you, that's another matter, most likely you will require to take that to court, so will have to decide whether it is worth the time and stress.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 8th Dec 17, 8:33 AM
    • 5,550 Posts
    • 4,933 Thanks
    00ec25
    Reality check time
    Thanks for the replies! I had a 12 month agreement with them initially which spells out deposit and rent in advance, we then signed an extension November 16 which has now run out so presumably is now a periodic tenancy.
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    if both those agreements state a £ monetary amount for a deposit do you have proof that it was never paid by your tenant and that you have asked them to do so?

    the agreement has a deposit amount, fact.
    if they claim they paid it to you, potentially they could sue you for you failing to protect it
    how would you defend against that?

    forget about the deposit and hope the legal advice the tenants have received does not encourage them to make such a false claim as you will incur court fees in defending it.

    The mistake i obviously made is making allowances for friends. The council pay every 2 weeks so it was like pay as you go which was ok when the council paid the lot. The rent is 1250 per month, the council now only pays 2 payments of c.185 and the tenant is responsible for c.850.

    When one tenant got the job I was sympathetic to their problems with regard to getting to a point of paying in advance but 13 months down the line we have moved no further.

    Am I right in presuming that if they seek legal advice they will be advised they don't have a leg to stand on?
    Originally posted by shouldhaveknownbetter1
    read the links and inform yourself

    consider this....
    when you finally decide to evict, (and when you have learned to fill out the forms correctly after a doubtless false start and rejection by the court), you will win an eviction award in court as at the end of the day the section 21 route is indefensible

    winning an eviction will not get your arrears paid. The court does not pay you any money owed, the person you sued does. If that person does not have enough cash of their own then you will need to pay for court appointed bailiffs to seize goods from the tenants and sell those goods in the hope they earn enough to cover the money you are owed. All that will cost you extra fees which will have to be paid before you get what is left.

    when you take your action for the arrears (which will be a separate case to the eviction case) the court may, as G_M has warned, decide that the tenant has little spare money of their own (council benefit does not count) and so award the case to you but order them to pay you at £stupid amount per week . They may or may not make those payments, for example if in 3 years time they have stopped paying you your £5 per week you will need to go back to court (fees) and start again, this time probably going for a bailiff route.

    in conclusion:
    a) you need to evict, don't expect to get your money back. They are not friends anymore, don't repeat the experience.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 8th Dec 17, 8:48 AM
    • 30,740 Posts
    • 18,376 Thanks
    getmore4less
    In September I carried out a flat inspection
    ....................
    replaced dishwasher and fridge as soon as they reported they were broken, and have just spent £2k on replacing windows.
    Apart from paying at the end of the month and not paying a deposit have they been OK as tenants, paying up regularly, keeping the place OK.

    they do seem to have bad luck with some stuff as it broke but what sort of condition were they in when they moved in. windows sounds like an enhancement.


    Not ideal to have no deposit and effectively be one month behind on rent(£1250) which is around £20 years lost interest.

    If they are otherwise OK and the rent is around market levels might be better to back off and keep them till they decide they want to leave.
    • westernpromise
    • By westernpromise 8th Dec 17, 9:35 AM
    • 3,269 Posts
    • 4,052 Thanks
    westernpromise
    Asking for a deposit now, having not previously done so, is in effect insisting on renegotiating a term of the tenancy, as is the tenants' deciding to pay in arrears. If you don't get what you want from a negotiation you have to be prepared to walk, which in this case means giving them notice to quit.
    The Lottery, with its weekly pay-out of enormous prizes, was the one public event to which the proles paid serious attention. It was probable that there were some millions of proles for whom the Lottery was the principal if not the only reason for remaining alive. -
    George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four
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