Landlord Changes Locks To keep Scumbag Tenants Out

Locksmith
One of the most active and interesting articles (in my opinion) on this website is the I’m evicting my tenants post. The post is basically about me throwing my toys out of the pram and having a gutless whinge about my tenant, and how I want to evict her stupid ass. For the record, if there’s any justice in the world, she’ll be slowly burning in hell like a skewered lamb kebab right now.

The post is interesting because a lot of people have been actively commenting on the article; majority of the them being Landlords that are also experiencing frustrating situations with shit-for-brains tenants.

I’ve dealt with some real scumbag tenants in my short time of being a Landlord, consequently I know how stressful it can be. If I had it my way (providing that a tenant steps out of line), all landlords would be well within their rights to change the locks and throw their tenants onto the streets.

Having said that, here’s an interesting comment left by a landlord:

hi
ive been a landlord foe 20 odd years and seen and heard it all.

I used to get real angry when this sort of thing happens but in the end it just eats you up.

you have to realise there are loads of fucking arseholes out there that don’t give a fuck how much grief they cause. I had one who was 3 months in arrears then, can you believe this. Sub let it to a load of drug addicts who wrecked the property it cost 12 k to refurbish it.
I was so angry i forced entry when they were out. Paid a man and a lorry to empty the whole lot. Cost me £400.00 Everything they owned. Took it all to the local tip, flat screen hi fi whole lorry load, Tipped it up good riddance. Changed the locks and waited for the phone calls. took about 2 hours then boy did the phone ring. Wheres all our our stuff they screamed. Down the fucking tip you low life. take me to court if you like.

Still waiting to hear.

risky but sometimes you just have to step up to the plate and take whats coming.

good luck

Paddy

Now, that’s how shitty tenants should be legally treated in my opinion. Although, 3 months in arrears is way too long, they deserve to be locked out after 2 months of arrears, max. I’m not condoning this activity, because I wouldn’t even do it. I’m just saying that’s how it should be. If you’re a Landlord with a pair of dinosaur balls (like Paddy), consequently have no qualms with laughing in the face of the law, then all the power to ya’

It is illegal for a Landlord to change the locks?

Just to clarify, yes, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or change the locks to prevent tenants from entering the property. Tenants have a statutory legal right of “Quiet Enjoyment”, which protects them from this kind of abuse. So before you go storming into a property with the intentions of taking the law into your own hands like a crazed wild-west lunatic, think of the consequences.

Acts of illegal evictions include

  • changing locks when tenants are out
  • physically throwing tenants out your home
  • physically stopping tenants from entering their home.

Landlords have to follow a legal procedure to evict tenants, by serving the correct sections. More on Evicting tenants legally. Illegal eviction is a serious civil and criminal offense, and a landlord can be prosecuted if guilty of doing so.

In most cases, the landlord must obtain a possession order from a county court after serving a valid Notice to Quit. The tenant doesn’t have to leave at this point, and a lot usually don’t. Only the court can decide whether the tenant has to leave the property. It will normally take several weeks before the case is decided in court.

Exceptions to the rules

The landlord does not need to obtain a court possession order to evict if:

  • you have a resident landlord with whom you share facilities, like the kitchen and bathroom
  • you are not paying any rent for your accommodation

In these cases, the landlord is only required to give reasonable notice to the tenant to leave the property. Once the notice has elapsed, the tenant becomes a trespasser and the landlord can legally change the locks at the property.

Are you a landlord that has been forced to change locks? Maybe you’re a tenant that has changed the locks. Tell me your story…

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283 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 233 - 283 comments (out of 283)
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claire 23rd May, 2015 @ 10:53

My freind was a tentet she let me live there for 2 years now she gone to live somewere else left me in the property can the landlord evict me and put my things in a scip to thouth away

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Nige 23rd May, 2015 @ 11:26

Claire
If your friend was the tenant and you were not listed on the tenancy agreement then technically she was subletting.
A lot of your situation depends upon your friends tenancy agreement.
If your friend ended the tenancy with appropriate notice then the tenancy has come to an end you may not have any rights to stay at all. You should have left when she did.
You do not give all facts so difficult to advise.
You should discuss things with your friend ASAP.
Personally I feel that you may now be squatting and new laws will affect you.
Have you talked to the landlord? Could you take on the tenancy alone with the help of benefits ?

If you are not on a tenancy agreement you have few rights and I personally would be salvaging my goods any way I could before the situation gets 'heavy' and bailiffs or police turn up.

For any help get advice from citizens advice or your local council ASAP.

Some friend you have !! Leaving you in a mess !!

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david 23rd May, 2015 @ 12:03

Speak to Shelter

Nige is right on, speak to the Landlord, pay them some rent, keep the place in good nick and you may have a tenancy yourself.

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Lundy 30th May, 2015 @ 15:24

Thanks for the advice Nige and David. I live in the house in the master besdroom and rent out the rest of the house to 3 other tenants who live in the house and have their own bathrooms. I could go to the police but he only seems to be verbally abusive when no one is around and I seriously doubt that he would behave un toward if the police were around. He may then just sue me for harassment for that. What is an ASBO Nige. His lease term is 7 months of which he has been here 3. Thanks again for all the information and feedback. It really helps...

Thank

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Nige 30th May, 2015 @ 17:52

An ASBO is an anti social behaviour order.
If you watch the treatment of police on the tv programmes you will see that although the police are used to abuse they can charge people for using threatening behaviour and bad language.
You don't have to put up with this. Go to the police.
There is no reason why you should put up with bad behaviour from any tenant.
Don't know what special terms you have in your lease but my contracts have no nuisance clauses.

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Lundy 31st May, 2015 @ 20:09

Thank You Nige, I have learnt the hard way and will definitely be putting that no nuisance clause into the new lease agreements drafted. Weather or not he will sign it is another story all together. I am also from South Africa so not too sure if we have something called ASBO but I will check it out. Thank You!

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Mick 15th August, 2015 @ 23:16

I have given my tenant a 3 year contract (with a 1 year clause) and also guaranteed no increase in rent over the 3 years. However, the tenant just started taking the Pi**. First change the toilet seat, then a new dining table, then a new washing machine, a new TV stand, a new carpet .
Now, I thought yes, maybe it will last for 3 years. But he got more greedy and then starting causing trouble - his living habits caused mice to get it (so I had to treat it) ; it started to get nasty when I told him that I would terminate after 12 months. He started to say the property was his (what planet are these people on ? yes - they are a sub species as far as im concerned). If it were his 'property' he wouldn't be paying me rent.

Now I'm not being nice anymore and will serve a section 21. The problem is there is disconnect between language too and expectation from European Tennants as to what renting a flat involves - I think they expect a sultan's palace or something !; I will think very very hard renting my flat to anyone from Eastern Europe or Armenia again if I can help it unless they have 4 or 5 impeccable references.

Regarding the deposit - I no longer plan to ask for a deposit but will ask for the last month's rent in advance - removing any word of "deposit" from the Tennancy agreement. This way I avoid paying the rip-off of tenancy deposit scheme and avoid fines. I may even think of short term-contracts where all the rent is paid upfront so need to worry about deposit

In short, some tenants are real scum, some are a nuisance, some are trouble causers and some are great whom id gladly let out to again.

The law is unjust against Landlords - it needs to be changed. The tenancy deposit scheme is a load of Bollocks written by politicians with a sticks up their arses when they were writing it ; it awards tenants upto 3x deposit for even 1 day late - even if you return the full deposit.

I think Landlords should lobby to kick tenants out faster and quicker when they are troublesome.

Mick

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JSS 16th August, 2015 @ 19:26

"Regarding the deposit - I no longer plan to ask for a deposit but will ask for the last month's rent in advance - removing any word of "deposit" from the Tennancy agreement. "

Not sure that would work to be honest. Housing Act 2004 s. 212-215 define a "deposit" as any monies or property that are held as security under the tenancy agreement for the tenant's performance of obligations under the tenancy agreement. Even if you don't use the word "deposit" it would still be held as that.

There were at least 2 cases on this also - Johnson -v- Old, and Piggott -v- Slaven. In the former, rent in advance was not held to be a deposit but only because the landlord could point to a specific period for which it was paid and the tenant hadn't made any payments during that period. However in the second one the landlord stated it was the last month's rent but then continued to accept rent throughout the whole of the tenancy, and the landlord simply saying "this is advance rent, not a deposit or any form of security" didn't entitle him to sidestep the legislation.

Saying "last month's rent" then not charging the last month's rent wouldn't be enough because you can't say with any certainly when the last month would be.

In any event, deposit protection is very easy, frankly, and you can do it entirely online via an insurance-based scheme. It is not onerous and even the prescribed information comes out pre-printed from the scheme. It would actually probably take more time and effort to come up with a dodge than it would to actually do it.

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David 18th August, 2015 @ 13:27

@mick

JSS is right, it would be deemed as a deposit, but if it were not you would lose the right to use it to offset it against any damages caused by a tenant.

You started off too soft but then you got too hard, if you treat people as scum they will behave as such.

Do not rent furnished, if you do then you do not have to replace things until they are worn out, if they have been damaged by a tenant then the tenant can pay for that.

I bought myself a brand new looking TV stand for £1.38 on ebay just by bidding in the lasrt few seconds on local items where there is no delivery and few bids.
I got a dining room and chairs for £30 that were in excellent condition and same guy (who was emigrating) sold me a bunch of other stuff.

I think you are at high risk renting to people who have no UK references, so ask for a higher deposit (2 months) and set your rent high, this will exclude those that can't afford it.
Most importantly you need to communicate well with your tenants, be help and considerate to reasonable requests but do not be a milksop when it comes to things that are unreasonable. Get a service contract on the washing machine, so you get it repaired, if a machine is fuctional and they become a pain complaining about everything then replace it with a second hand item in working condition but older.

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whatonearth 30th September, 2016 @ 20:12

My mortgage company recently contact met to say there had been a complaint about over occupancy in my buy to let property. If these claims were substantiated they may seek to repossess!!!!!

anyone out there had a similar experience? any advice most welcome

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David 1st October, 2016 @ 09:01

I would start by figuring out who made the complaint and where it was made (was it direct or via the Council).

You do not say how many rooms you have and how many people you let it to.

Is it possible that you let it to someone who is subletting? I know a EE guy who lives in the small room of a two bed flat and had 10 mattresses in the larger bedroom.

Could it be a prossy (probably one @landlord knows!!) who had men coming and going?

I would call the Council and ask if they have had any complaints, say you are very concerned and looking to gather evidence.

Start by parking up nearby but not too close, take some video of comings and goings.

Then armed with that you contact tenant for a random gas inspection as you have had reports of people smelling gas and you need to verify there is not a problem.

You will know if you ARE over occupying, in which case STOP.

Interesting tactic to contact your mortgage company, I suspect it is a Council, but why not contact you first?

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Nige 1st October, 2016 @ 10:07

Being a landlord is getting to be a harder game and regardless of how many controls you put in someone always puts a spanner in the works .
Recently I received a letter.
Basically said that the neighbour threatened to kill Darryl with an axe so they vacated 2 months ago and here was the door key.
??????????

The letter was addressed to my house, no name.The enclosed letter was signed by 2 people but did not give an indication of address and posted 100 miles away. ??????

It also indicated that I should stop pestering them with txts and emails ????

AS I didn't recognise the tenants I spent a couple of hours checking with police, current tenants etc but no clues whatsoever as to property etc.

So somewhere there is a house vacated by tenants 2 months ago and I have a key.

On another note I am selling a property (friendly eviction as tenants knew it was coming 2 years ago).
But due to council rules I have forked out £355 in court costs , had 2 hearings and just paid £121 for bailiff possession.

Who would be a landlord ???

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David 1st October, 2016 @ 14:43

Nige

What Council rules are you referring to, there is now a legal directive that says an S21 is enough and the tenant has to obey it because as an accelorated action it is enough.

Some Council advise tenants to stay as long as possible, some even gatekeep, but there is now a Gov minister you can report them to.

Of course if your tenant does not leave you have no option but to evict them, but you should put pressure on Council to follow guidance and take responsibility.

I can give you the link to PDF of guidance for this, a solicitors letter to the Council is cheaper than what you paid.

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Nige 1st October, 2016 @ 16:04

Hi David

And you have just pointed out the problem.

Yes a section 21 is sufficient to get your property back. Or is it? What happens if they refuse to budge. Do I send in the heavies with baseball bats or do I have to go through the process with bailiffs. Well you know the answer to that !!

As it stands at the moment help is not available to those who have made themselves homeless ie complied with the section 21 (or 8) so they sit there until the legal heavies (bailiffs) throw them out. Then the councils will act.

I am (but decreasingly so) in the business of letting a property for which I should get a return. Yes there are rules and regs to comply with but basically the process should be simple. Yes you can live in my property as long as you comply with the conditions and I will do the same. When you want to leave you can and I should be able to say I want to sell my property and get it back.

Now this scenario might work for people who have something to lose but there are many who have nothing to lose. Thus the fact that no landlords I know in the private sector that operate in my area will risk DHSS tenants on new tenancies.

Yes I might be able to report councils to a minister and spend my working days campaigning for my rights but that does not stop tenants from sitting tight until the court heavies move in. It can take 3 months to evict with the due processes and many will stop paying rent in that period and there is very little the average landlord can do unless they want to break the law and subsequently spend their days defending their actions.The chances of recovering debts from DHSS is very low and even attachment of earnings on working people has limits.

Its hard enough even drafting a section 21 these days with different forms and timescales that even an experienced landlord like me has to check and double check the latest round of changes to ensure that it is not going to be thrown out of court on a technicality. I have got a friend who works in lettings for a large company and in the absence of a newsletter from HMG stating changes we rely on bouncing info we have gleaned from trade magazines off each other and checking the internet for the latest form/rule/regulation etc.

Yes its part of the job if you want to be a landlord so we just have to accept it. A solicitors letter might be cheaper but it isn't going to change the situation of a tenant sitting tight knowing that the alternative is a bench in the bus station or even worse (as what tends to happen) a room in emergency accommodation in a dingy HMO.

As it happens my tenant (DHSS and been with me for 11 years) is semi cooperative and not putting obstacles in my way but they have access to FREE legal services to ensure that I play the process the right way so that I don't break the law. I am not in a great hurry to sell but tax laws on CGT , the time to update a property for sale and some uncertainty due to Britexit must all be taken into account and most landlords do not plan an exit strategy.

On a slightly different note my friends are selling up their rental properties and going in to buying and renovating for sale which shrinks the availability of rental in the private sector even further.

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David 1st October, 2016 @ 22:53

I hear you @Nige

What you say certainly WAS the case but things have changed, the Gov issued a directive that Councils must accept the end date if an S21 being the date their obligation to house starts.

Some Inner City Councils in their panic started to gatekeep by telling applicants bullshit to delay their application. Others found legal loopholes as detailed in link below/

Now all I can say is that most Councils are following guidance if they are reminded by a suitable 3rd party. Councils get their money from central Government so to an extent they have to do what they are told, but some have such huge lists of homeless that they fear their system will collapse if they do not.

It sounds as if your property may be in such an area

You can read more about the tactics here

http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2016/07/06/section-21-homelessness-code-guidance/

I can post links to the guidance and section numners (is a huge doc).

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Nige 1st October, 2016 @ 23:30

Thanks David but I have now got rid of my DHSS tenants who of course behaved as mentioned above.
Not that I had anything against DHSS but times have changed.

I won't go into the stupid mistake I made by NOT evicting a tenant at the end of a six month tenancy who subsequently announced she had cancer and died. Her family wrecked the house whilst she was in the last stages before she died but of course the tenancy was in her name and I still can't prove who did the damage. Police not interested. Insurance wont act without proof. Stalemate but as the dust clears there was interference by a council employee working outside her remit and its a case of watch this space.

Interestingly enough you cannot evict a dead person without going through accelerated possession !! And yes accelerated possession now costs £355 !! Rip off. {more if you don't do online).

Interestingly enough the building societies are playing the same game as landlords . ie one month and one day in arrears and in this case if a person loses their home they are deemed to have made themselves homeless.

As you say councils must try to accommodate but the reality here is the available stuff is rough to the extreme. A friend went into the HMO game and pulled out after 6 months due to trouble from tenants and despite being offered 4000 a month for 5 rooms by the council (thats 800 a month per room when housing benefit will only pay 595 for a 3 bed house ) refused to take anyone except working people.

I don't know about other areas (and Im no expert on getting a house) but here the homeless in temporary rooms have to bid on available houses. Ive seen the lists and all houses seem to be housing associations and zero private landlords.

Ah well only one property to sell after this one and then Im out sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Can't wait for retirement 3 years late.

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David 5th October, 2016 @ 12:28

@Nige

I totally get where you are coming from, I do feel that HA's should be enabled to provide accomodation for long term DHSS tenants. HA's have much better ways of dealing with "trouble" tenants. Although they offer very long tenancies their ASB clauses mean that the license can be revoked pretty damn quickly.

I have spent the last 2 years regularly visiting someone who was made homeless, I saw them in living their car, living in temp accomodation when their health finally got so bad that they became vulnerable and finally when they were housed a year later.

When you regularly visit temp accomodation places you get a real picture of what is going on, the different demographics of "residents", I also got talking to the staff. One saturday a family of 14 turned up, the first thing I noticed was the suits, these so called refugees were loaded, a separate van brought their cases which filled the large recention area. The classic bit was when the oldest man (a grandfather I suspect) asked the lady behind the counter something in Arabic and she responded in English saying "No this is NOT a hotel". I asked her what he had said and she said he asked if there was a porter to help them with their luggage. She was a sweet Muslim girl on mininum wage and she was spitting nails because that family were occupying 5 family units, including the ones they keep in reserve for medical emergencies. She told me on another visit that they had been housed. What I do not understand is that Council is one of the ones that have been slated for not taking any refugees, so I still do not know how they managed to get access to the place. What I do know is they were driving Mercedes within a few weeks of arrival, so they clearly had the ability to support themselves.

I do know that there are scum in our society, people that trash properties, drug addicts that play the rehab system, get housed and then make life hell for other tenants. I think the only way to win is to do up your property to a much higher standard and seek more affluent tenants.

I have posted the properties on the bidding lists and you are right, they are just HA's mostly, a few charitable trusts. Even on those there are two levels, those on a "social" rent and those on an "affordable rent" the latter is witin 1p of the LHA rate but may include a service charge for mantainting communal areas. These often make the property unaffordable because the benefits these people are on simply cannot budget it. So they become homeless and are told they made themselves homeless. They are not the crowd that have the latest iPhone, they are more like the heat or eat brigade. I always advise clients to try to bid on social rents, they also have a service charge but usually low if ex Council stock or HA new build in a big block.

I was talking to a guy at an HA a few months back, his told me his are technically insolvent after Government cut off their source for socal stock. They are refinancing their current stock to survive but desperately need to merge or they will go bust.

Enjoy your retirement!!

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Nige 5th October, 2016 @ 14:01

Thank you David.

After 20 years in the game there is little that anyone can tell me about tenants and their antics !! Some are so dumb that you wonder how they survive...dumb that is until their rights are involved.
I have nearly always housed DHSS but its a case of NO MORE.
My recent experience as follows.
I did a property up to sale standard but due to another property falling vacant sold that instead
Lady 3 kids thrown out of last property as rent went up to much. Nice lady as well .clean and with a degree of ambition.
She was taken on a 6 month tenancy which then ran periodic.
Then she got cancer so I rearranged other future lettings and sales of property to keep her in. MISTAKE BIG TIME. All inspections by my third party inspector had been good BUT
Every time the lady went into hospital there was damage to the house and this was done by her brats. For example the bathroom was trashed to the extent that the toilet was broken, sink off the wall, brand new flooring damaged so badly that it affected the chipboard floor underneath and the bath panel kicked in.The water also damaged the downstairs cloakroom wrecking the ceiling and floor.

Now this would not be so bad..I wasn't fixing it and told tenant to do so. THEN environmental health got involved !! I was accused of letting a substandard house . Apparently a slight leak under the kitchen sink at the other end of the house was causing damp in the cloakroom !! DUH ? What leak as nothing had been reported. That took weeks of letter writing and reports.

Sadly the tenant died. Was I informed. NOPE. I found out 2 weeks later when her brats started fiddling everything they could and phoned the council to say the boiler wasnt working.It wasnt working because they had smashed the flue off and taken off the casing. Cost one new boiler. By the time I got to the house the council were involved although they shouldn't have been and much of the property had been botch repaired.

I took back the keys from the executor but there was no money in the accounts. Housing benefit had been stopped even though her kids were still living there.(one was 19 by this stage)

I kid you not when I tell you the damage found.
There was not one single item in this house that had not been damaged. NOT ONE. Walls, ceilings, electrics rewired wrongly,kitchen wrecked, bathroom wrecked,cloakroom leaking sewage under the wooden floor, carpets wrecked, holes in doors.

Day one we went in and totally gutted the house from top to bottom to the point of it being a shell. It took 3 months to pull the property back to a state that it had been 40 months before.

Insurance ? Not interested unless I got police reports. Police..not interested as it would have been impossible to prove who did the damage. Nobody thought to ASK the little !!!!!!!!!!. Executors..no money in the pot.

So three months lost rent. Accounts for damage not all done yet but 5k for materials excluding labour.

Who loses. Well I do for one but will offset against tax. Thats 28% less tax I will pay in CGT.
So society pays for these tykes.
My time. Three months of my life gone and without pay or rent .

As said the matter is not closed yet as someone from the council was getting involved behind my back and this is going to cause the brown stuff to hit the fan.

This is an extreme case but I have spent my life in lettings ....as a friend says ...clearing up other peoples Cr--ap and repairing things that were broken.

Retirement? 67 years old and just evicting a tenant so I can cash in. I know what I will find when I get the house back. More work to rectify damage and UNFAIR wear and tear done by a 35 year old who has 3 kids by 3 different fathers and who has never worked in her life.

PS houses I have left are now let through an agent at high rents (well above DHSS) to working people with huge deposits.
Why didn't I do this before ? Well I did but my agent went rogue and never reported damage etc and let the tenants do what they wanted.

Ah well. Such is the life of a landlord !!

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Nige 7th October, 2016 @ 22:16

David and a warning to other landlords.
(Sorry copy/paste cut off part of article)
Notice its not just councils but also Shelter and CAB advising staying put until bailiffs.

All News
Press Releases
Campaigns
NLA Lobby
UK LANDLORD MAGAZINE

Revealed: the cost of bad eviction advice
Article Posted -
14 Sep 2016

The average cost to a landlord of their tenant being advised to ignore an eviction notice stands at nearly £7,000, according to a recent survey of landlords.*

Private tenants are often advised by local councils and agencies to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords – and to wait until evicted by bailiffs – in order to qualify as homeless and thus eligible for rehousing.

The latest findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA) reveal that the mean total cost of a tenant being advised to remain in a property is £6763.

In addition, half (47 per cent) of tenants who have been served a section 21 eviction notice by their landlord say they have been told to ignore it by their local council or an advice agency such as Shelter or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).**

The news comes as the National Landlords Association (NLA) is due to give evidence to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee today (Wednesday 14 September) on the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill, as introduced by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, amends the Housing Act 1996 to expand councils’ duties to prevent homelessness by:

· Providing that Section 21 Eviction Notices are proof an applicant is threatened with homelessness

· Doubling the definition of threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days

The NLA has long campaigned against councils advising tenants to ignore eviction notices and in March, 2016, the then Housing Minister Brandon Lewis wrote to all local councils in England to clarify homelessness guidance.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:

“We have consistently campaigned on this issue, but despite many warnings to councils and agencies, this damaging advice is still being given out to tenants.

“Possession cases can take a very long time to resolve, and aside from putting an unnecessary strain on everyone involved, not to mention the Courts, these findings demonstrate just how cost

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daljit dodd 22nd October, 2016 @ 01:33

Distressing to hear stories about bad tenants. LL should follow procedure.
there are very bad LL there especially those that make up story of damage to property to usurp the deposit it can be done is being done all you need is a decorator 2 witnesses that property left in bad state some photos. This is a cruel world
From the accounts above LL seemed to be the most hurt you have not seen the bad ones.

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Nige 22nd October, 2016 @ 09:31

As the landlords other post states you get good and bad.
Most landlords in this country are small businesses with only a few properties. I know a lot of people in the game and luckily I grew up with the multitude of changes to legislation.
Take section 21 for example. Its changed again and even experienced agents are having to double check forms to use.

Not every instance can be insured. How many landlords for example insure against the tenant dieing. Ive had 2 in my properties. One from cancer, one from suicide. There is no money in the estate and you have to follow the section 21 route to get the property back. In the meantime relatives seem to do what they like and trying to prove that they damaged it rather than the tenant is a nightmare.

Ive worked in drug dens..or should I say the aftermath of a drug factory. Totally wrecked top to bottom. A friend who was an agent had tenants who burnt everything ..doors, floorboards etc.

In this country there is no database available to allow prospective tenants to be checked out. Even if there was you get an unmarried couple where one takes the tenancy. ie unmarried mother who moves boyfriend in. The house is wrecked so the boyfriend takes the tenancy on another house for them.

Thats why checks, double checks, triple checks and big deposits are becoming the norm and the only place tenants can raise the sort of cash needed is from the official money lenders at 1000% .

Ah well there are those who win in the landlord game and there are those that lose.I know many who are cashing in now as there is more money in renovation than there is in renting and as usual the bad tenants spoil it for the good ones.

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mike 12th January, 2017 @ 20:42

can I change the locks in my house , I have a tenant he rents a room , no lease , no mail , pays in cash he is moving out but it is taking him 3 monts to move and I have other people interested in the room , he has a few items left in the room . ??

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Nige 13th January, 2017 @ 00:28

Basically no. If his things are still there he can come back and occupy the room. Why the rush if he is paying you?

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David 13th January, 2017 @ 08:27

Depends on the tenancy agreement.

If he has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy then as Nige says No and you are responsible for his shit.

If you live on the premises he is a lodger he has hardly any rights at all.

You say no lease but it depends what you promised him in the beginning, if you promise someone 6 months and say you are preparing an AST but do not do one then a Statutory Pediodic (month to month) tenancy is created and you still have to give a Section 21 with 2 months notice.

You do not say if he is paying the rent, I assume not otherwise why would you care.

Based on what you say, if he has no AST or anything that suggests he has a proper tenancy, I would collect his stuff, store it safely and change the locks.

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Nige 13th January, 2017 @ 11:59

David is correct but if there is no paperwork it can be one word against the other. Note to others...do some paperwork as there is no obligation to have a signed and sealed contract it does help in any dispute.
One small point. Although you say he paid cash you have an allowance under the 'rent a room scheme' and should declare the income. If not the tenant can use that against you.

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Tommy 20th January, 2017 @ 19:40

I have been a landlord 29 year,a good and fair landlord,even Lent Tennant's money let some move in without a deposit even...Soft I know.
As for rent not being paid...If a disagreement starts....I give them 5 day's to pay or move....On day 6 locks changed and belongings put under car ports.....What I have on every house.
Then I will take my chances never has a dispute gone day.....
What's the worst that can happen...Court a fine?
Sue me? ..... This can take forever to resolve....And they'd have as much trouble getting money out of me as I would my initial rent.....So sorry but my house my rules .... I'll take the consequence later......It has never come to court in 29 years so I strongly advise cut the crap out and boot them out if it can not be resolved amicably!

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David 21st January, 2017 @ 01:12

@Tenants wirh a landlord like Tommy who changed locks on you and did not issue proper s21 giving you 2 months to quit or Sec 8 legal action in court...

1. Go to the property
2. Call the Police explaining that your Landlord has changed your locks and is making threats and you fear public disorder, can they please attend.
3. Ask Police to have Landlord Tommy leave and not come back without a prior appointment which you will never give because of fear and anxiety he has caused.
4. Insist that all further inspections and gas safety etc now performed by agent and only when you are present.
5. Call locksmith, have them drill the locks and fit new ones, add an extra mortice lock for additional security.
6. Send invoice to Landlord tommy for Locksmith.
7. Call local authority and explain what Tommy has done and ask that they take action investigating whether he is a fit and proper person to be a Landlord.
8. Do a £3 land registry search on the property you live in, get details of Landlord tommy, then do search to identify all his other properties.
9. Write to the Council of every other property and inform them of what he has dome, ask them to revoke his licence if they have one or investigate whether his is a fit and proper person.
10. Call Lawyer, explain what has happened and ask them to start legal action under Housing Act, Harrasment Act and sue for all your belongings which now need to be replaced because they are damp and will never be the same again.
11.Having got the file for his properties, look for one with no mortgage or oldest mortgage, ask lawyer to issue a lien against property pending outcome of your court case for £50,000 or £100,000.
12. Seek an injunction preventing the Landlord coming within 500 yards of the property.
13. Ask Council to investigate repairs of your property.
14. Check whether Landlord Tommy has fully complied with Deposit protection scheme and prescribed information on your property. If not seek sanctions.
15. Write to the tenants at all other properties, ask them if they have had any issues with Landlord Tommy, give them your email and forward any negative emails to local authority.
16. Remain in property, pay your rent or don't, give rent to Lawyer and ask they hold it pending outcome of case.

What is the worse that can happen.

Sorry, UK Resident, UK Law.

Instant authority to have locks drilled, reenter property and sue the fuck out of you using your own money.

Best not to give advice if it is going to be so stupid.

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Nige 21st January, 2017 @ 01:57

@David

I agree 100% with the processes you describe.

Unfortunately reality is not always the same.

It easy to suggest on paper what you should do but in reality and living in some areas is somewhat different.

I refer to landlords who really don't give a flying fuck about the law.

Its easy to write the process of what we should do but when faced with 4 guys with a dog all of whom are known psychos with tentacles that spread throughout the area it becomes slightly different.

On your own can be a totally different proposition with nobody to hear you scream.

I know reasonably powerful people who have paid up relatively large sums of money for botched work in slightly different situations after the threat was made...
''we know where your kids go to school''.

I am sure there are many people who keep their mouths shut for fear of reprisals. ie immigrants ??

Yep sending in the heavies is something most landlords would ''like'' to do especially when...like me... they are faced with a tenant who is deliberately smashing your place up and having wild parties after you get a possession order in court. Yep waiting for the bailiffs who takes weeks.
(no I didn't send in the heavies!!)

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David 21st January, 2017 @ 21:13

I hear what you are saying Nige but in my experience these types are usually coward, they need the numbers or a drink to participate.

I always start with the law, then I find out what each one cares about and I go after that at a later date.

The Police will remove the four men and a dog, they will arrest them under public order offences, fingerprint them, take their DNA and keep the peace.

These people have the power you give them with your fear.

Don't care was made to care.

Someone may threaten my children but it would be a very foolish thing to do, but again I would start by reporting the threat. After that I would not make threats, I would do. Not immediately, not openly and not to them, but the things they care for.

There are nutters out there but chances are you are not the first they have broken the law with, they may be out on licence and just need your complaint to have that revoked.

I would never think you would use heavies, you have always shown yourself to be socially responsible even though you have had your good nature taken advangage of.

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Nige 24th January, 2017 @ 00:25

Oh I would have loved to put the heavies in on some cases !!

One of the problems is the usual ones. We all have to obey a set of rules designed to control a minority.

I have watched well built houses under local authority control degenerate and finally demolished as a result of a few people who push the boundaries and laugh in the face of authority.

Yes this naughty boy was clocked doing 34mph on an empty road and was subsequently ''fined'' 90 pounds by being given a driver awareness course. A bit galling really as outside one of my rental houses I used to listen to tyres screeching as idiots virtually drag raced outside the local shop.
Even more galling when you find that the cost of a drivers awareness course only costs 50 pounds !!

I use this as an example because the police used incorrect times on their paperwork and even said that their equipment was timed by the Rugby atomic clock. Yep. My investigation reveal that the Rugby atomic clock had shut down 7 years previously. So in fact spurious claims were made by law enforcers. But as a responsible citizen I am accountable

So why therefore cannot landlords include similar terms in contracts. Rent is for 30 days . After 34 days a 90 pound tenant retraining course must be attended. After 60 days you cannot live in that property or rent one for a year !!!
No ifs or buts .
I can quote cases where someone has exceeded the 30mph speed limit by a tiny margin a total of 4 times. Lost their job, lost their house, lost their marriage.

Unfortunately the laws only protect those who abide by the law. Those who don't want to will always get away with it.
The rest of the tenants pay higher rents, higher deposits and jump though hundreds of hoops to cater for those who flaunt the system.

One aspect never discussed is the loss not only to the landlord but to the tax system as a whole. Example.
A tenant does 3000 worth of damage. That means 3000 less (and probably more) of a loss to the landlord. But then the landlord claimed a tax loss on that amount. Thus less money in the public coffers.

Take a section 21 notice as a prime example of our stupid housing laws. Sounds simple. No fault. Just want the house back. 2 months notice. Then after 2 months the tenant can stay put , drag matters through the courts (at a cost of course which usually falls on the landlord). Even if the landlord wins the case the tenant usually gets another 14 days to ''organise'' themselves (as if the first 2 months was not enough). And so on it goes.

Compensation for lost time, often lost rent, legal costs etc can't be reclaimed easily. Maybe the landlord gets fined for not being able to pay the tax bill on time which he couldn't do because he couldn't sell the property.

Result. ?? The next tenant , however law abiding, has to jump through even higher hoops or even worse..the landlord removes the property from the rental market.

All very similar to my speeding situation.

Road humps, chicanes, road narrowing all designed to catch out those who do 60mph plus in a 30 area ..not the ones doing 34. Consequences ? slower journeys , lower productivity , higher bills from tradesmen and more pollution.

I hear what you are saying David but remember that if you live in one of these tough areas that they are virtually no go areas for police and as threats are one word against another then it takes quite a brave individual to remain in residence with the chance of an anonymous brick coming through the window in the middle of the night.
(Yes I have had a tenant have a paving slab thrown through the window at 11 o'clock at night. Only clue was another person upset by the tenant. Police action ..NIL until the next day and then nothing . All costs borne by me. I really enjoyed boarding up a window in a howling gale wearing the dress suit I went out in. Whoopee !!)

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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 08:04

Two years ago I bought a shop with an upper floor. It came with a quite new tenant who was renting the whole building, on a five year lease, paying a nice rent, with a yield of over 10%. He was only using the ground floor, and ran a food store.

What I didn't realize was that he was also selling counterfeit cigarettes. A couple of months after I bought the property the local Trading Standards officer contacted me and told me that he had seized a small amount of counterfeit cigarettes from the shop. My tenant however had claimed that they weren't his. The officer told me that I should evict the tenant immediately by changing the locks early one morning, and that he would be present, with police, when the tenant arrived to open up shop. The rent I was receiving, he said, is illegal and I could be prosecuted for accepting the Proceeds of Crime.

I talked to a local estate agent who told me that the rent was highly inflated, and that once I got rid of the tenant I would have to offer the property at half the rent that my tenant was paying. I was shocked and angry that I had been sold this property at an inflated price, with an inflated rent. Before I bought it I had asked a local trader if the price was right in his opinion, and he said that it was about 20% too high. Stupidly I didn't listen to him, and bought it, lured by the high rental that the counterfeit cigarette dealer was paying.
There were two more raids, which also found small amounts of illegal cigarettes and tobacco. And then most recently there was a test purchase where my tenant sold a packet of cigarettes to the officer's assistant. The small quantities found there made me assume that the illegal trade taking place was very small. Also I saw that the Trading Standards officer didn't prosecute my tenant. The small quantities found didn't justify any prosecution. So I didn't evict.

Recently though I have decided that I've had enough, and the Trading Standards officer is pressuring me strongly to evict. I recently took legal advice and was told:

"It might be too late for you to evict, as you have been accepting the proceeds of crime. In doing so, you may have effectively changed the lease, which forbids the tenant to do anything illegal. By your actions you may have effectively erased that section of the lease. This is called the Law of Waiver.

"You might never be able to get rid of him, because when the lease runs out he may very well be protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1954. Even if you try to evict him through the courts, the judge might rule against you because you have waivered the clause that forbids the tenant to act illegally. In which case you'd pay your own costs and the legal costs of the tenant. Could be several thousand pounds. If the judge ruled against you you'd be stuck with the tenant forever, and you'd be forbidden by law, as you already are, to receive rent from him."

I definitely shouldn't have bought the property. And I definitely should have got rid of the tenant the very first time that the Trading Standards officer contacted me. Not sure how to proceed after making such big mistakes.

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Nige 30th January, 2017 @ 10:13

I have never understood the obsession with fags and booze generally by customs especially in the fiasco of what we called the EU.
I could bring back a TV or car bought in France but fags were limited to a very low amount. But thats all in the name of tax tax tax.

Examining your situation I would make the following comments.

Maybe I am wrong but from what you said you never intended to fall into this trap. You bought a property. You rented it.
Obviously you never intended to get involved with crime.

Where for example would a landlord stand if they rented a property to someone who was fiddling the DHSS and the landlord was accepting the payments. Or a tenant of a property was selling drugs as a sideline.

Your biggest problem is that you did not listen to advice.
Those who are about to stomp on you from a big height advised you to evict/change locks etc. You didn't do this so this makes them assume that you were collaborating in the crime.

The next point is how the rent was paid. Was it cash or was it DD/cheque or any other modern method which you could account for on a bank statement.

Yes criminal proceeds funded your tenant but as it was a shop there was obviously a profit from the shop which could have paid the rent. So with that in mind and the fact that selling bogus fags would not be going through the accounts you could have assumed that the rent was being paid for by normal commercial activities. I would also assume that if you ''collaborated'' in crime that the local authority would also collaborate by collecting business rates .

Regards talking to an estate agent about you paying to much for the property or charging an inflated rent. If you bought a property in 2008 just before the recession would the agent say then that you paid to much? Rents are all to subjective. I know 2 houses side by side with a differential of 100 pounds per month rent. One is occupied by a single person. One has 3 people sharing the rent. Rent is often how much someone will pay. Estate agents only vale rents and property values by looking at similar properties in the area.

To put my 2 pennyworth into your equation. Go back to Customs and Excise and talk to them and do what they say. If you are indeed innocent its better for you to put your cards on the table and use their muscle rather than sit quietly listening to conflicting advice from people who guess values.

Remember if it all goes tits up the C.E. could seize your building and you could lose the lot if they could prove that you knew of the criminal activity and profited by it.
(Which technically you are now doing by not acting on their advice)

Im not legally trained but the C.E. have a lot of clout and I would rather have them on your side standing in court giving reasons why you evicted rather than a lawyer charging huge amounts trying to defend you for unlawful eviction.

Maybe others can advise better.

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David 30th January, 2017 @ 10:36

I think you need something in writing from the trading standards asking you to evict, just so you have a paper trail.

Your tenancy agreement should have all sorts of clauses that can be used (not carrying on a business).

You cannot be accused of being a party to a crime you are not aware of, suggestions are one thing, has he been convicted?

I very much doubt that a criminal is going to take you to Court but he may want outstanding rent back.

I would also suggest you work with the Police, find out his routine, when is property left empty, then let them in to confiscate cigs and change the locks. Call the tenant and tell him cops raided it and have secured the premises for evidence reasons and have asked you if you know of his whereabouts. Hopefully he will do a runner.

Speak to a solicitor.

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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 20:19

Thank you, David for your advice. Very helpful indeed.

1. Trading standards have been e-mailing me for a long time, asking me to evict. I guess that counts as "something in writing".

2. Over the last two years there have been three raids where small amounts of cigarettes and tobacco have been found (on one occasion they seized 160 cigs - that's 8 packets. On another occasion they seized 10 pouches of counterfeit Virginia and 10 pouches of counterfeit Amber. These are very small amounts in my view. They also made a test purchase from the tenant of one packet of counterfeits. No prosecutions.

3. The trading standards officer has promised that he will be present when the locks are changed, with the police. I am living overseas, so I would prefer to send in a professional bailiff, who hopefully would be able to pick/break the lock and replace it with another one. I could certainly phone the tenant immediately when the locks are changed. However the trading standards officer seems to assume that I'll send a notice first (probably referring to a section 146 notice).

4. "A criminal won't take me to court". Similarly to what you say, the trading standards officer also wrote that it's never happened (to him) that a cigarette-trading tenant took his landlord to court for evicting him illegally.

Nevertheless it does make me nervous, being vulnerable to a legal attack by my tenant after I evict him. Breaking into a property - even my own - exposes me to prosecution under criminal law. No lawyer has told me to do it, for two reasons: Firstly I've been accepting rent knowing about the seizures. And secondly there is the extra complication here that it's a mixed property, half commercial and half residential. In residential property it is always forbidden to change the locks, without first getting permission from a judge. And mixed property is apparently regarded as residential. Only in pure commercial is it correct to serve a section 146 notice and then storm in early on a morning. But if the trading standards officer is prepared to support the procedure, maybe what the hell I should take a deep breath and go ahead.

Thank you for your advice.

Michael

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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 20:19

Nigel,

Your comments have been very very helpful. Many thanks.
Your comment about rent coming from the profits of the shop rather the illegal sales of cigarettes is helpful. I have also considered this point.

The trading standards office is apparently not the same body as the Custom and Excise, but is a department of the County Council. However I take your point that having them at my side in court would be more effective than an expensive lawyer.

If they can't find enough tobacco and cigarettes to convict the tenant, and they may never find enough, it is possible that they wouldn't ever prosecute me.
Nevertheless I do want to get this tenant off my back.
Once again thank you.

Best regards,
Michael

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David 30th January, 2017 @ 20:55

That is tricky, you did not say that there were two leases (some shops have upstairs rooms for stock, even if used for residential.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy with a 5 year term and no break clauses your only hope is a breach of one of the terms that specifies a termination of the lease. Most come with a clause to prevent criminal activity, usually running a brothel but they are generic.

The difficulty is that if he is living there as a tenant you need to have a section 21 and to have protected his deposit, or you will face action.

For the shop you have the same issue, you need to find a term in the lease that is being breached and that allows for termination.

If he is paying rent there is nothing that says the rent comes from the illegal biz, the quantity seems to reflect personal use and he may be open to selling the odd pack if asked. I was in a corner shop the other day and an Eastern European was offering the shopkeeper cheap cigs, he saw I heard and told him to come back later if he could go below a certain price.

So one thing you might try is to call Customs and Excise, give them the bank account details of the account that is paying you. See if they have any interest in getting bank statements or better still freezing the accounts (they have more powers than anyone). Now if they freeze the accounts and he stops paying rent you have grounds for eviction. Of course he may have other accounts but otherwise you need evidence of a criminal act that is large enough to account for the rent.

It is their job to enforce laws, not yours. By all means cooperate but you are bound by contracts and must operate within the law.

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Michael 1st February, 2017 @ 11:30

Hello David,

Many thanks for taking an interest in my case. You have been very helpful indeed.

Regarding the mixed commercial/residential nature of my property: There is one commercial lease only for the whole building, and not two leases, one commercial and one residential. Is that significant?

Looking at some internet articles today I found that the landmark ruling for regarding peacable re-entry (entry into the property following delivery of a section 146 notice) into a mixed use property was the Patel v Pirabakaran case of 2006. (It is interesting that the 1977 Protection from Eviction Act which outlawed peacable re-entry for residential landlords remained unresolved on this point for nearly 30 years!) In this textbook case the tenant was occupying the shop and living in the upstairs flat, and the judge ruled that peacable re-entry without going through the courts was forbidden, In my case the upper (residential) floors have not been occupied by the tenant, and do not seem to have been in use by him at all. He has another address where he and his family live. It seems that as a result that ruling does not apply to me.

Customs and Excise: The body which is investigating here is the Trading Standards Division at the County Council, and not the CE.
My quarterly payment is a cash payment into my bank account. My tenant always pays on time.

"A term in the lease that is being breached": Section 5-10-1 of my lease: Not to use any part of the demised premises for...any illegal act or purpose.

On 5th September 2016 a test purchase was made by a team from the Trading Standards Division, and my tenant sold them one pack of cigarettes. they found no other packs on the premises. Seizures over the last 2 and a half years found small quantities of counterfeit cigarettes: 160 cigs (8 packets) on one raid. 20 personal sized pouches of counterfeit tobacco on another raid.

"The quantity seems to reflect personal use and he may be open to selling the odd pack if asked." You expressed that in a way that I've been trying to unsuccessfully for the last few weeks! I could certainly argue that at least if Trading Standards were to prosecute me for receiving the Proceeds of Crime.

What is becoming increasingly clear to me is yes I do have the legal power to deliver a section 146 (of the 1925 Law of Property Act) notice to my tenant and then make peacable re-entry. What do you think?

I have even thought this week that I might simply offer the tenant 1000 quid to go. He would have to leave and also to sign a statement that he agrees to terminate the lease. Then I'd pay him.

However it feels like getting ready to jump into a cold swimming pool. The property is in an area where there are a high percentage of vacant shops One in 10 perhaps. And the estate agent said, "Prepare yourself for a six month to a year wait for a new tenant, who would in all likelihood pay a half of what your current tenant is paying,. You'll be paying building insurance. And then rates after 3 months. And your building insurance will go up while the property is empty." Scary!

If you have any more comments/ideas I'd be very happy to hear from you.

Best regards,

Michael

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Duped 11th March, 2017 @ 19:39

Can somebody give some advice please, my flat which is about to be sold and has been empty for a couple of months has intruders in it, a Rumanian family has moved in alleging that they paid a gypsy 1,500 pounds but they have no contract and don't even know the name of the landlord! The police have been round but did not remove them and said the owner has to get a court order. I am disgusted as I thought the new law made this kind of thing a criminal offenceS144 of the 2012 Act, now I dont have the time or money to pursue a court process, any advice would be most welcome!Can I enter the flat and change the locks or something since I am the owner and they are not my tenants!

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Nige 11th March, 2017 @ 20:22

Take other advice but my advice is to wait until they all go out and change the locks. They are squatting and as you say they have no documentation as to a lease/tenancy and no proof that they paid money.
One problem is who actually gained the initial entry..the gypsy or the squatter.

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David 12th March, 2017 @ 18:52

I can see why it would be tempting to wait till you think they have all gone out, but they are wise to this and always leave people in there.

They usually massively over occupy. You will be committing a crime if you physically evict people without a court order. Also there is nothing stopping them breaking back in so you have to put security into the building.

Do you have a a valid tenancy agreement with anybody?

If yes and that person has sublet you need to go through the usual S8 process. You can then escalate the CCJ to the high court and as long as you are only going for possession (not for rent or damages) it is relatively easy ( I am sure you have see it on "Can't pay" on C5 or myC5 catch up).

If NOT (as it sounds) and if it is a residential property (not an commercial premises) then legally they are squatting.

Even if they "invent" a Gypsy, if that Gypsy never had a legally binding tenancy agreement they are squatting.

You need to serve them with an Interim Possession Order (IPO) within 28 days of becoming aware of the squatters.

Having served them with an IPO it switches around and it is the squatters who can be sent to prison if they don’t leave within 24 hours, they must also stay away for 12 months, so if they break back in they face jail.

There are links to the forms here

https://www.gov.uk/squatting-law/remove-squatters

The IPO claim is £355 (do not use PCOL it is for rent arrears or damages)

It is advisable to go early in the morning at 6am, you need "feet on the ground", so have a locksmith meet you and tell the local Police station that you will be evicting 24 hours after the IPO has been served.

They will block doors front and back to try to prevent you serving.

If you were evicting a family who did not leave after a CCJ the Judge may not agree escalation if they are vulnerable, but considering who is in there I would suggest you use HCEO's because of the number

Details here:

http://thesheriffsoffice.com/articles/transferring-possession-orders-to-the-high-court-for-enforcement

If you have sold the property with vacant possession and the buyer does not get it they may come after you for their costs.

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Kevin 17th April, 2017 @ 08:50

Accelerated Eviction & the UK Law is a JOKE
It is about time the Laws in this country protected honest tax paying people instead of free loading Non rent paying tenants.

Well here is my tale of wow:

1. I issued a section 21 on my Tenants in November after 12 months of iregular rent payment.

2. No surprise they wouldn’t leave or pay any more rent, so I approached the court and issued an Accelerated Eviction, for those whom may not know this can only be issued if you don’t intend to claim for any outstanding rent at this point!.

3. The court allows the tenants a further 2 weeks of free rent to respond, then they issue an eviction date.

4. Yet again this is ignored at the advise of our local council housing department, stating the tenants have a legal right to live in there home.

5. My next line of action was to get a judge to allow me to appoint a private bailiff but NO after seeking more legal advice I am told that this avenue has been more difficult following some recent ongoing cases and that I am best to go through the Courts Bailiff. Due to their workload this could be June.

So 7 Months with little or NO rent. All through the process I have been forced to seek legal advice which could be costly, paid the courts £476 to serve pointless paperwork and my lovely tenants have everything laid out free of charge. I feel stuck between the Court and the Council whilst the Tenants must be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Nige 17th April, 2017 @ 09:24

@Kevin

Yes a common tale I'm afraid.

Ive always used the court bailiff as it follows the process and I think you will find that the bailiff is a private bailiff sub contracted to the court.

Ignore the council. That matter is between the tenant and the council and you are not involved. What you might find is pressure from a community lawyer hanging around giving tenants free advice.

I have heard instances in our town of landlords being phoned up by the council offering to pay all arrears if you let the tenant stay. Nice to know where my council tax goes.

One consolation here is that our council has rules that a tenant may not go on the housing waiting list if there is damage or arrears. Thats why it is important to have all adults in the property as parties to the tenancy. Ive had couples living together (different surnames) who apply in the second surname which of course is not listed on court docs.

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David 17th April, 2017 @ 19:07

@Kevin

This sounds as if they have some vulnerability, could be mental health or disability.

You really should have issued the S21 two months before the end of the tenancy, lesson learnt!

One word of advice to anyone where the tenant stops paying the rent after S21 issues, write them a letter

Dear Tenant

Re: 17 Acacia Avenue

I am writing regarding your non payment of rent for the above property.

Unless this account is brought up to date with immediate effect I will be seeking a lien on your housing benefit via the Local Council

I would also like to inform you that once I do this you will NOT be eligible to join the waiting list for social housing nor for temporary housing UNTIL you have paid me the arrears. Under the Council's housing rules you will have made yourselves homeless by not maintaining rent payments.

Meanwhile I will of course be taking legal action against you and seeking my costs, once I get a CCJ it will affect your credit record and I will pay to have it taken to the High Court.

I really want to avoid all that and so I am giving you 7 days to pay the outstanding balance or contact me with your firm proposals.

Yours sincerely

K Landlord

----

As soon as 6 weeks had passed you were entitled to ask for their housing benefit to be paid direct to you.

Now just because you can't claim the money as the same time as the eviction it does not mean you can't go after them later.

There IS a new regulation coming that will stop local Councils telling tenants to stay put till evicted.

Normally you just want the judgement to evict then you accelerate it to the High Court Enforcement (Sheriffs Office et al)

These tenants are stupid because they can run but not hide, as soon as they use any credit the databases will alert the Credit Reference Database. You can get alerts for that by putting their debt with debt collectors, the tenant will end up paying for the HCEO's costs and Court costs.

I understand that you are very frustrated, you are effectively acting as their bank, but if they are on Housing Benefit you can at least mitigate your losses.

Usually a Judge is forced to give you Judgement if the paperwork is valid, it is just when the Tenant is considered vulnerable (e.g. disabled child) that they have to order social reports etc.

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Lis 16th June, 2017 @ 19:15

Hi, after some guidance/ advice please.

Tenant has tenancy until Oct 17 however we have mutually agreed to end this early as I can't commit to extending tenancy (tenant is about to start family and wanted security of a home).

Tenant hasn't been great at paying rent with me having to continually chase. Currently own me June rent. They have 'promised' to pay towards end of this month.

Issue I have is that neighbour has told me tenant has moved out and is no longer staying at property. However tenant had told me they plan to exit next month but not given me a definitive date. Neighbour has since told me that back door is wide open and tenant has not been back to property since Tuesday. Also been told back garden is a total mess with rubbish everywhere so God knows what the house looks like!! Makes me feel sick thinking what is going on.
I am concerned as house is open for anyone to rob or squat in.

What do I do?

Don't want to cause trouble for neighbour.

Is this classed as an emergency therefore allowing me to enter with my own keys.

Or should I do something else?

I don't believe I will get my rent as I don't understand why someone would move out but continue to keep property. Tenant has called for about 5 mins once a day but nothing since Tuesday.

Should i contact tenant to say I plan to attend property to check what mataince is needed ahead of them moving out and give 48hrs notice??

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David 16th June, 2017 @ 20:13

@Lis

First thing you need to do is secure your property, film it as you approach from back showing door open.

As door is open check to see if they have left any possessions.

I would just lock the back door and make sure property is secure and check for damage or signs of squatters/Homeless. Make sure all windows are locked. Then visit daily, on basis that you wanted to do an inventory/maintenance inspection but they have not been there.

You are OK to change the locks as long as you let them know and offer to give them new ones for remainder of their tenancy.

I hope your deposit was protected, clearly your tenant thinks you are a bank, so maybe looking for a payout. You will of course be able to ask DPS/TDS/MyDeposits for the deposit as it was held for performance of the contract and June rent not paid.

I would try to engage tenant, ask when they will be able to pay rent and say you need it by 21st if they want a reference.

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Lis 11th August, 2017 @ 15:23

Hi David thanks so much for your advice last time how rude of me not to say thanks - sorry about that. I'm looking for a bit more today!

Tenant handed over keys to a neighbour last night saying they where due to meet me today to hand back the keys but couldn't so asked them to pass to me (they  did not arrange this with me and had suggested they would be leaving next week). Anyway I have been told that handing over keys is a surrender of the property so I have been today to change locks and inspect. May be a bit premature but i wanted to get control of the Property.

Property is fine all be it messy and needs a good clean.

The question I have is there are items belonging to them  am i ok to give tenant 48hrs to arrange for items to be collected  or otherwise dispose of them?

Want to get rid asap. Planing to send below to them to bring everything to a close. If get the outstanding rent owed great but certainly not holding my breath

I understand u handed over keys to no ## last night confirming you had vacated #### road. To finalise everything see below and respond asap - by latest 14.08.17; 
1) Forwarding address for post addressed to you
2) Items that have been left -  arrange for items to be collected in next 48hrs (suggest a time and date) otherwise all items will be disposed of
3) Final meter readings have been taken  - Gas 6996  Electric 37105
4) Payment of outstanding rent. This equals £#### for # months

 

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David 11th August, 2017 @ 19:40

@Lis

No worries, happy to help.

I think you need to approach this is a slightly different way.

First of all abandonment cannot be assumed, even if they left the keys, the leaving of possessions is regarded as an indication of their intention to return. Changing the locks may not yet be a good idea.

The Protection from eviction act 1977 makes it is an offence to unlawfully deprive or attempt to deprive a tenant from the premises or any part thereof. The onus would then be on you to PROVE prove that good cause to believe the tenant had ceased to live in the premises. So you will need to write up a witness statement and get the neighbour to sign it NOW, it should be explicit about what the tenant said and not be at all ambiguous that it was her intention to surrender the property. If she decides to fight you later it will still be for a Court to decide and probably by a Jury in Crown Court!!

ALSO you can't just bin her stuff and there may be a dispute over the condition and value of what she left behind. If not handled right it could cost you thousands!

First of all open the following page in a new tab to find out your obligations regarding what was left behind.

http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/my-tenant-left-belongings-in-the-property/

Video the possessions as they were left so that you have evidence in case things turn bad.

Make an inventory and move them all to one room so you can decorate/clean the remainder of the property. You could rent a garage from your local Housing Association or Council if you think you can rent it quickly, it would be a way to mitigate your loss as a garage is only going to cost you £50 a month or so.

Giving the keys back does not end the contract unless specified in the contract, this gives you some leverage in getting the property back earning again. You would not get away with charging her rent for the remainder of the contract as you have to mitigate loss, but if she has so many possessions that you can't rent then it can make her position worse. You have a duty of care for her possession (read above link) so you need to just make sure you cross the t's and dot the i's.

This tenant is not going to want to have anything to do with you because they owe you money, so you need to find a way to put them at ease.

I would write her something like this:

============================

Dear Tenantina

I am sorry that you have seen fit to abandon, surrender and vacate the property at 24 Low Road by giving the keys to the neighbour at number 22 Low Road without any prior agreement to do so.

For your information meter readings have been taken, they are as follows

Gas 6996
Electric 37105
Water 01234

I am very concerned about the state you left the property in and that you have left some of your possessions. Although I accept that you have abandoned, surrendered and vacated the property, because you have left possessions it can be interpreted as you intending to return until October 2017.

So legally, I need you to tell me in writing that you wish to terminate the tenancy and confirm that you have vacated, abandoned and surrendered the property. Until I receive this the tenancy remains in force.

Unfortunately, I cannot just dispose of your possessions as the law dictates I follow a specific procedure. This procedure will delay my ability to re-rent the property and thus increase your legal debt to me.

I understand that you might find matters over facing, but I can assure you I would much rather reach an amicable agreement with you than take you to Court to obtain a CCJ which would seriously damage your credit record and may lead to debt collectors chasing you for the debt after they have increased it to pay for their collection.

I am prepared to enter into an arrangement for the debt which currently totals £#### for unpaid rent for June, July and August, but will continue to accrue until the property has been formerly vacated and let as your contract which runs till October, thus it is still in force until we both agree to terminate it, in accordance with the terms of the tenancy.

Of course I imagine you want this done as soon as possible and I can assure you that I will do all I can to mitigate your loss, but you need to help me to help you.

I have had to photograph your possessions and take an inventory, now I need you to collect them as soon as possible in order that I may redecorate and rent the property. I would like you to get this done in the next 7 days, otherwise I will be forced to pay a specialist company to inventory and remove them, then put them into storage AT YOUR COST, this will be added to the debt if it happens, but you can help avoid that.

Once I have the written confirmation above, I am prepared to terminate the tenancy as soon as these items are completely removed IF you collect them in the next 7 days; otherwise it will run until the next tenant takes occupancy in accordance with Office of Fair Trading Fair Guidance on such matters.

I would like us to meet at the property and enter into an agreement to pay the arrears at a reasonable and affordable rate. If you can collect your possessions in the next 48 hours I am prepared to NOT charge you interest on the arrears as long as the payment schedule we agree to is maintained continuously until the debt is cleared.

I will be needing a forwarding address for post addressed to you, if you wish I will agree to not passing this on to any 3rd parties. The agreement proposed above is conditional on this address being provided.

I think you will agree that I am being very reasonable and trying to reach an amicable solution. The alternative if we are not able to reach settlement is that I simply put this in the hands of Debt Collectors and Tracing agents, the latter has to be done because you left possessions and again it is at your cost.

My Solicitors will then issue legal proceedings and you will end up with a County Court Judgement, it will of course include the above, my legal and court fees as you will not have agreed an offer of settlement; if there is further delay I will need to instruct my Solicitor to make an alternative (Part 36) offer which will not be as generous and his involvement will increase your costs.

As I said, I understand that you will be finding this over facing, but I urge you to let me help you reduce your debt by working with me to minimise costs.

Please call me as soon as you read this so that we may arrange for you to collect your possessions, we can also discuss what amount you feel you can afford. I will then draw up a repayment agreement and schedule.

If you wish to discuss the fairness of my offer please seek professional advice.

If you are worried about debt the following organisations may be able to offer free advice:

https://www.stepchange.org or call 0800 138 1111

http://www.debtadvicefoundation.org or call 0800 043 40 50

https://www.nationaldebtline.org or call 0808 808 4000

Yours sincerely

Lis Landlord

==============

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Lis 11th August, 2017 @ 21:19

David once again fantastic advice and guidance!

The plot thickens!

Interestingly tenant has just txt me to confirm they have moved out of property and have passed keys to neighbour. They want to meet at the property. Unsure at this stage as to why I think it may be to either give me some of the monies owed or / and discuss rent arrears payment as their txt suggested a payment at end of month there after a weekly amount!! No mention of their belongings or state of the property but they have stated a new address will be provided....

I will establish the purpose of meeting for clarity however to make sure everything is above board should I get them.to sign something to confirm surrender of property and also if they are proposing a payment plan how should I formalise that?

Thanks in advance

First time landlord can you tell

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David 11th August, 2017 @ 21:42

My advice stands, adapt it to the proposed meeting.

I am guessing you already sent what you were considering.

She could go to the property, find locks changed, have the Police break back in and have you arrested.

It may be unlikely, but I am just concerned you are walking in blind.

It would be very easy to paint a picture of duress.

Understand, you have issued no S21, she is out and the locks have been changed!

The agreement is still in force until formerly agreed by both parties in writing recommended as anything else hard to prove.

She probably wants to discuss the deposit, in her mind she will not consider the arrears, just the state of the property.

For your financial agreement, keep it simple, even if you are getting £50 a month it is at least having the debt serviced. You want

Date
Parties
What is agreed
Consequences for non payment.

You need to set her mind where yours is, so amend my letter, meanwhile send her a letter and ask her from her point of view what does she want to discuss.

Then come back with modified version of letter above.

It is important that you follow the law and procedures, she can't absolve you of legal obligations.

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Leliah Hedges 14th August, 2017 @ 17:25

I am living in a home i own i had rented out a room to my father. He had not paid for a months worth of rent and half of the lg&e and water. I had told him he had 30 days but he would not leave. I went to court and filed an eviction 4 days before the court date he had moved out and took most of his property. I had changed the front lock sunday and still let him in to get his property. We went to court today and the case was dismissed. He is now demanding a key to the lock or else he will take me to court for landlord harassment and file for loss wages, inconvenience and loss if property. But he had set up a time to get the rest of his stuff tonight. What do i do? Am i in trouble? I need some advice

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David 15th August, 2017 @ 22:30

@Leliah Hedges

You did not say why the case was dismissed or what other order they made (e.g. to let him back in)?

Was it because he had gone already?

Really for a lodger or family member most obvious issue is giving reasonable notice.

You do NOT have to give him a key

You do NOT have to let him in to get his property if you do not feel safe. If at any time he forces his way in call the Police, explain the violence.

You have to take care of his property, you can give him an inventory

landlord harassment - You are not his landlord, there is no contract or obligation.

file for loss wages - You have no obligation

inconvenience - Under what law would that be?

loss of property, what his possessions or for being evicted?

Based on the little you say I would put his possessions in bags outside the door.

I can't imagine how hard this must be for you.

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