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Section 8 confusion

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Hello all 

I have a tenant who has only been in my property for 7 months and is already causing me a nightmare. I'll detail the issues and then explain what I'm trying to do to get him out via section 8. 

Rent arrears - always 100 or 200 short each month. From the minute he moved in. Always a sob story. Totalling around 1500 now 

Alcoholic and aggressive. 

Refused access to certain areas of the house, I'm fairly confident drugs are involved 

The police are involved due to hate crime. The tenant feels compelled to mock my disability and make threats based upon it 

House isn't wrecked but is fairly disgusting inside. Bits of cosmetic damage but nothing major 

Constant complaints of disturbance to the council - their housing officer is forever on the phone to me 

My marriage has broken down so I need the house to go back to. Pretty sure I read somewhere that can be one of the reasons for a section 8? 

Im confused around the process of issuing a section 8 with regards to the documentation I need to put in with it? Do I only have to provide the GSC and EPC with a section 21 or is it for the 8 too? 

Any help would be massively beneficial. Thank you. 

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From the details of your post it obvious you are a little green in being a landlord. (we all have to start somewhere) but I would seriously consider instructing a professional eviction company for this. You only need to get one small bit wrong with your application and/or have a missing or invalid document and the your claim will be struck out and you will be back to square one.

ONLY USE a solicitor who specialises in housing law and evictions or an company that solely deals with evictions.  Act fast otherwise these issues will drag out especially if you start believing all the sob stories

 

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1 hour ago, Grampa said:

From the details of your post it obvious you are a little green in being a landlord. (we all have to start somewhere) but I would seriously consider instructing a professional eviction company for this. You only need to get one small bit wrong with your application and/or have a missing or invalid document and the your claim will be struck out and you will be back to square one.

ONLY USE a solicitor who specialises in housing law and evictions or an company that solely deals with evictions.  Act fast otherwise these issues will drag out especially if you start believing all the sob stories

 

Thanks for the reply but other than suggesting I'm clueless, it doesn't really help me. I'm never going to be "seasoned" if I always hand over to the solicitor, am I? 

 

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My suggestion is to contact Landlord Action.....a specialist legal firm who deal with these types of issues.

You can find them and their scale of fees very easily on the web.

good luck.

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Is the tenant more than 2 months in arrears?

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Yes but only by 50 quid over. 

I have spoken with the solicitor who is going to issue the section 8 for me. 

Maybe this game isn't for everyone. 

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Just make sure your solicitor is on the ball and prompt. I find they dont have the sense of urgency as they should. He will probably be using grounds 8,10,11 but only ground 8 (2 month in arrears) is a mandatory possession if proven during the court hearing. Grounds 10 & 11 (late payment of rent) is discretionary  so ideally you dont want the tenant to pay enough rent to get the arrears below 2 month.

The below is based on pre COVID-19 days 

After service of the s8 on the tenant the solicitor can apply for a court hearing 14 days later and you should get a hearing date within 6 weeks  & if the tenant is still at least 2 months in arrears you should  get a possession order 14 days later. If the tenant hasn't vacated after those 14 days you need to apply for a court bailiff and depending how slow they are in your area that could be another 2-6 weeks approx. 

Ask your solicitor how fast the bailiffs are in your area and if there is a long wait your solicitor can ask at the court hearing you have the possession transferred to the high court so a high court sheriff (bailiff) can kick the tenant out which is a lot faster. This will cost more but if the rent isn't being paid at all it could be cheaper than waiting for normal court bailiffs.

With all the constant changes in laws to be a landlord you either have to be very switched on and join a landlord association such as the guild of residential landlords for guidance and docs or use a letting agent.    

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Thank you for your help. That's pretty much what I've read but it's nice to hear it from someone experienced. 

They said it's a 3 month process now because of covid. If they don't go in that time, we go to court, and then they clarified what you said about bailiff. I'll make sure to clarify the availability of them in this area. 

When we did the tenancy agreement I did also provide them with a letter of "grounds for possession". Stating that if after at least 2 months in to the tenancy I needed to sell the property or move back in myself, they agree to leave. Both signed and dated this. Solicitor said to use it as a back up if for whatever reason the s8 doesn't go our way. Apparently it's classed as ground 1 on the s8 but takes 6 months for the courts to decide. 

I never really intended to be a landlord. Tried to do a good deed and allow some friends to move into a vacant property I had. Never again. As soon as they're gone it's being sold. 

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You are not the first person to find renting to family or friends often doesnt work out. Mainly because the tenants think they can get away with paying late etc and for some reason they think the landlord hasnt the same bills and obligations as other landlords.

I aways say if you want to rent to friends or family THAT is the time to use a agent so you can distance yourself.

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Definitely a foolish mistake on my part. Thank you for your help. I appreciate it. 

Hopefully the endless emails and calls of abuse will stop soon. Even if that means riding it out until we instruct bailiffs

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The worse thing about Section 8 possession is that the tenant can claim 'disrepair' even if he has done damage himself and then the judge adjourns for reports and that takes months.

Also tenant can suddenly pay up rent owed and you have no case.   Get in touch with the council if you think persons are on benefit and remind them in writing that YOU are not responsible for council tax there. -- I bet he is not paying that either and council may try to saddle you with the bill when you get rid of them.

If you think he is drug dealing ask a friendly neighbour to watch who visits the property and when.  Dealing is pretty obvious once you get the hang of watching.  Then report to police and keep reporting if they are slow to re-act.  Also look at the tenant on social media - often gives a clue on what they are up to or just google their name.  I've learn how to track lots of scammers this way.   Don't bury your head fight back in small ways - you will feel better for it.

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Thanks for you reply 😊

We have had some damage to the property and when we asked to come in to repair, they refused entry. We do have that on a signed document when an inspection was done so hopefully that will be enough to prove they won't let us rectify the situation. Despite it not being our doing. 

You're correct that council tax is not being paid. I'm going to have a conversation with the council on Monday and make them aware that the section 8 is going in next week. 

Already have 4 neighbours on board who have all clarified there is a lot of "footfall" through the door and the front garden is frequently covered in beer cans and peculiar individuals. 

The police will be attending next week regarding the attempted assault and hate crime. 

I guess now we wait...

I paid for the sol to issue the section 8 and hopefully they leave before it goes to court but that's just wishful thinking

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I would look to create evidence of occupancy so that council tax doesn't revert to you as owners as and when the council are led to believe they have left. A willingness by neighbours to make statements to that effect might be useful.

Confirm with the utilities that their name is still associated to the property, and check again as time passes.

Complaints by neighbours to the police and council environmental health, with you having record of these, might well help in court come a hearing to hoof 'em.

I'm led to believe that courts are in furlough, some if not all. Interesting might be your location and what progress you make with getting court action.

With that in mind it would be interesting to know what advice toward repossession you might get from environmental health regarding their removal for the benefit of the neighbours and resolution of any nuisance activities.

Are the neighbours losing sleep at all?

Is there any threatening behaviour?

Is there evidence that rubbish could be a health risk, be cautious though as this becomes commercial waste with an expense to you for removal ( that should be documented by the certified company).

Btw, feel free to carry out your own research and ignore my input. I'm sure the path to becoming a seasoned landlord can be a rewarding one, but my experience is that it's a feasibly dangerous and expensive learning curve.

Good luck, we all need it.

 

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