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Ellieben

Tenant not paid rent

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My tenants have not paid their rent which was due on 22 October. This is the first time in the 5 years they have missed a payment. They are in a periodic contract and I visited them four weeks ago to ascertain that the property was in order as they have in the past changed doors without our knowledge installed a pond with an electric pump in the garden and various other things. The house was in good order. We only visit the premises once a year and last year they were not happy at all when we requested to see the property not having seen it for over 3 years due to a family bereavement. We always telephone to arrange a suitable time. However this time it was quite amicable. During the visit the tenant told us that she was ill. We have also been told my workman sent to reroof the property that her husband is unemployed. My daughter and I now own the property following my husbands death. Trust as gone as a few lies have been told but I guess people have to do what they need to do but not at my expense. What are my options now, should I seek legal help and issue a section 8 through solicitors once they are two weeks late. Your help would be appreciated.

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You can only issue s.8 when 2 months rent is owed - so on or after November 23rd.

The problem with s.8 is that the tenants could pay even £1 towards the arrears (and therefore no longer owe 2 months rent) and your s.8 would be invalid.

Also, they can claim disrepair and then the s.8 would be held up while this is looked into.

I'm guessing it would be better to issue a s. 21, which is statutory possession and when you have got a court order and possession of the property, claim the unpaid rent in the small claims court. However, if your tenants are unemployed, the chances of getting money owed from them are slim.

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Do issue the Section 21 notice now as if all turns out to be well you can activate it in the future if other problems arise.

With long tenancies such as this often tenants seem to think the place is theirs and they object to viewings etc.- sometimes the only way out it to evict and start again with new tenants.

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If I was the landlord here I would make an appointment to see the tenants and get more information about their circumstances. You need to be fully informed. Keep it low key, friendly but professional.

If they have gone on benefits then that is paid in arrears and may only pay part of the rent. Additionally your insurer needs to know if you have a change to benefit tenants.

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Update on this -

Last night my daughter phoned the tenant to arrange an appointment. She was told that they were in the process of boxing up and leaving, said they had lost our phone numbers therefore could not inform us, strange as they both have mobiles and It seems the amount paid of £150 was a weeks rent. They are not sure how long it will take for them to leave but intend paying another weeks rent if the move takes longer.

To be honest I am relieved that they are leaving as they do appear to have a problem telling the truth but I am afraid too as they have in the past threatened to take off the flooring they have put in the living room and take it with them and to substantiate this when they moved into our house brought a huge fire surround with them which they immediately installed in our tiny front room, of course taking the original surround without telling us. So I think they are quite capable of doing this.

Now I intend to use a letting agency as the last few years have been v.trying. Any help would be appreciated.

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When they made the 'alterations' you should have got tough and made them sign a document to say they will leave the items in place.

I take it there was no inventory? Get one done next time - then you are in a strong position. Make tenant pay for the inventory.

It would be well worth writing to them telling them that any damage done during the move will need to be paid for from their deposit.

Still go ahead and issue S21 as they may not find accommodation and sit it out. Don't sit back and wait. This is a crucial time.

Give them your contact details and also if they are going get them to sign a 'Deed of Surrender' which confirms they are ending the tenancy. Reason - they may move out then come back and say you illegally evicted them.

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