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Carryon Regardless

Story Time of Welsh Origin

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A Lady has been a T for over a year, from the off rents were unreliable.

Unusual for me but I took a deposit of £500 (protected, and all that, of course).

Covid has given some T's the belief that they don't need to pay, a top up of HB in her case. Realising the courts are having nice break I have attempted to manage these situations and gain as much from them as possible. Last month her arrears approaching £1K I tried to call, no joy so a text.

"Your giving me so much stress I'm leaving in a couple of weeks"

"And the arrears?"

"Take it from my deposit."

"If you want to serve notice the last page of your tenancy pack has a form for you to use."

"What are you on about?" That being the last comm's.

I am led to believe she has absconded, but not returning calls and no notice this is all informal. With Covid, possibly, other methods of learning of the departure are not so reliable. I wait to see if HB will be reclaimed from me, the online account shows 'Active Tenancy', but maybe they haven't processed her new claim for where ever she is now.

So tomorrow I go to inspect. My expectation is a flat in ok state but with many black bags. A short while ago a square of carpet was disposed of so maybe a carpet has a hole in it.

The black bags are considered by Wales to be commercial waste. I should employ a specialist contractor, and with vain hope recover the cost from the ex T.

To take possession always has risk of later claim of unlawful repossession. I should post a note on the front door informing of how to gain keys for the new lock. Anything still inside, and that would include the black bags, should be stored should the ex T require the property to be returned. Then I should hope for recovery of the cost of storage.

To reduce risk of an unlawful possession claim, but not remove such risk, I should apply to the court for said repossession. But the courts are only hearing cases of social disorder by T's, eventually. So if lucky a court might programme a case in 6 months or what ever. Can anyone see a court awarding me the lost rents for that period? And we are in blood from a stone territory, this makes recovery of losses some what fantasy.

She and another T, that verbally ganged up on my chap that cuts the grass there, believe that I am unreasonable to chase rents because of the pandemic. Nice of him to point out that they are HB and their financial situation hasn't changed.

What would you do?

 

 

 

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 I sympathise with you, I'd hate this sort of thing to happen to me.

* Try to attract a better kind of tenant. Stick to professional people.......doctors, teachers, engineers etc.

* Avoid applicants on benefits.

* Take rent guarantee insurance or insist on a home owning guarantor.

* Above all else.....follow the rules, even if the courts are closed.

It's always more difficult to design a satisfactory outcome after the event. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Richlist said:

* Try to attract a better kind of tenant. Stick to professional people.......doctors, teachers, engineers etc.

If you remember the activities over these many, many years, it is because the area has declined, the flats have a reputation difficult to reverse, and such people aren't typical of those that would have interest. Flippin' lucky if they have a job. Lucky if it isn't just seasonal. These days more so, lucky if still employed and not furloughed / laid off.

* Avoid applicants on benefits.

I will leave it empty long enough to see if I can attract such. But there comes a time where lost rents would be more than the penalty of waiting for the right sort.

 

7 minutes ago, Richlist said:

* Take rent guarantee insurance or insist on a home owning guarantor.

If a T were able to qualify there isn't a guarantee they will have maintained their status come claim time.

* Above all else.....follow the rules, even if the courts are closed.

Of course I wouldn't dream of anything other. But the rules are heavily weighted and unworkable here. I should 'ideally' wait for a court to grant repossession. But later it could still be claimed that my claim for repossession was faulty.

It's always more difficult to design a satisfactory outcome after the event. 

Or before.

 

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Go there and attempt entry.  If she is there then you are stuffed for time being.  If she has left then you need to get a Deed of Surrender.  Inform the council (who should be aware she is at another address).  If council are aware then start looking for new Tenant.  With 6 months notice now needed in Wales what will be your strategy?

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Hi

We had this year for the first time a tenant abandon a flat, we changed the lock, put notice on the door, waited a month, decided to do a complete refurb, took approx 4 weeks, just finished then she turned up asking where all her stuff had gone and wanted to move back into the flat, said due to covid she had been living with her mum, so, no contact for months, no rent, and she just expects to walk into a refurbished flat, the law needs to change, its to easy for these people to abuse the system and property then move on.

 

 

 

 

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Surely she had left the bulk of her belongings and that would have indicated that she had not abandoned the property ?

 

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On 9/8/2020 at 11:50 PM, Richlist said:

 I sympathise with you, I'd hate this sort of thing to happen to me.

* Try to attract a better kind of tenant. Stick to professional people.......doctors, teachers, engineers etc.

* Avoid applicants on benefits.

* Take rent guarantee insurance or insist on a home owning guarantor.

* Above all else.....follow the rules, even if the courts are closed.

It's always more difficult to design a satisfactory outcome after the event. 

 

As a general rule professional tenants are better but not always my last tenant was a loss adjuster for insurance companies owed rent moved out with telling me, lied to the neibours about where he was moving to, stole everything in the house including the carpets and trashed the place before leaving. 

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Having had a few years of dealing with both ends of the tenant spectrum once you have done your normal weeding out at the referencing stage I would say it is fairly equal the amount of problems/work you would get from either working or non-working tenants. 

But the problems can different. Working/professional tenants are more likely to be more needy during the tenancy (the more powerful the job they are in the more issues raised) and take up time then but benefit tenants can be more labour intensive at the end of tenancies.   

Rent collection is another issue and that needs more managing with benefit tenants (only some)

I will always steer clear of a potential tenant if they show difficult tendencies at referencing stage.

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Some areas, or even properties due to style, state or / and reputation will have difficulty attracting working T's.

A bad rep is hard to reverse, and might take many years for history to be forgotten. More so in smaller communities.

I will hold out for a while for a better class of T, but there comes a point where the lost rents in the void would have paid fore the 'likely' downside.

She's gone, flat in reasonable order, not much left behind. some repairs but not extensive. I caught up with her as a present T, who can't decide if I should be friend or foe these days, provided her new address. She complied in signing a surrender notice. I then took down the abandonment notice from the front door. I now have the address to send the final account, but 1st need to understand the HB account (if some is clawed back or not) and the electric final bill.

So all in all a relatively easy outcome. My starting this thread was more about, sarcastically, pointing out the bl**dy silly ways legislation has and is developing. As LL's we are under an ever increasing threat, where our risks continually increase (along with responsibilities for others in a very Socialist design) and our rewards are reduced. I see that will continue until the state take it too far (although I feel that was a while ago) and there is an exodus of LL investors leaving the state with a greater housing problem. But the properties will still be there and some one will be living in them. Maybe the housing problem will remain ours, individually, till we sell??

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I've been selling off my properties for a few years now, usually one property per tax year. But what I find is that almost everything I sell is bought by another landlord.......sometimes a new landlord, sometimes an experienced one.

Sales are......71% to landlords and 29% to private buyers.

So, however much we all moan about the landlords situation there are p!entry of newcomers with money to buy.....which is good news for those of us that want to sell and the Agents we instruct.

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21 hours ago, Richlist said:

 

Surely she had left the bulk of her belongings and that would have indicated that she had not abandoned the property ?

 

Yes all her belongings were in the flat, but the fact remains that she stopped paying rent, made no effort to contact us, had not been seen at the flat in months, so in my opinion she had abandoned the flat, the fact that she choose to leave her belongings was her choice.

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Well, surely all of those decisions were her choice, not just the bit about leaving her belongings ?

It seems to me that you made a very bad judgement call. Given the same set of circumstances, I doubt very much that I would draw the same conclusion as you. Surely you can see that if the bulk of a tenants belongings remain then there is, not just a chance but, a very good chance that they have not abandoned the property.

Abandonment has only happened to me once in 20 years.

 

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so richlist, how long would you allow a tenant to not pay rent, not make contact, and leave all her belongings in one of your properties, before you come to the conclusion that she has abandoned the property.

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 I like to think that I put the bulk of my efforts into choosing the most suitable tenants. Then I always ensure that I have rent guarantee insurance or a home owning guarantor. New tenants never get more than a 6 month AST......so we can part company sooner rather than later if things go wrong. Regular inspections......initially every 3 months. My agents, who I have worked with for 20 years deal with referencing and all the legal necessities. Maybe you do those things to. As a result of all that effort, I rarely have anything other than minor issues to deal with.

Your missing rent payments are only one indicator of abandonment......the other two are the keys left at the property and the tenants possessions being removed. As the keys had not been left and the possessions not removed its probable that the tenant was away as a result of mitigating circumstances. As it turned out, you discovered that is exactly the situation.

What was it about the tenants belongings remaining in the property that led you to believe she had abandoned the property ?

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The rules of when is a property abandoned or not abandoned are weighted against the landlord when it comes to taking back the property on an assumption it has been abandoned in the first place.  As far as I am aware you cannot just change the locks although to me it would make sense to change the locks and place a notice on the front door with a contact number to regain entry by the tenant.  Often common sense and landlord / tenant law do not go hand in hand though.

 

 

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I agree Melboy.....the rules do seem to be weighted against the landlord where abandonment is concerned.......and often against the landlord in many other aspects of renting & letting.  But the rules are aimed at protecting vulnerable tenants and situations where there are mitigating circumstances.....such as the one described by bil8999.

As I understand it it's often quite difficult to determine if permanent abandonment has taken p!ace. However, in this case the tenant had left their belongings in the property which would have been an indication that they intended to return.

The only safe way to regain possession is by obtaining a possession order.

Edit......or written confirmation by the tenant that they have ended their tenancy.

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I would argue that a possession order isn't totally safe. We make a claim for such, it is likely granted, but does allow for a claim by the T that the claim for possession was faulty.

A surrender document is the safe way, but how when the T is unavailable?

A G'tor can (and has for me) been valuable. Contacting them with 'reminders' of their responsibility can cause the T to re appear.

Otherwise build evidence to support your belief. Unpaid rents is a very small part of that cos in truth the only person to care about that is the LL. So Council Tax registration being changed from the T, utility companies being given a final date by the T (they then reverting to the LL), neighbours witnessing removal operations might have some value.

As illegal eviction, that being your restricting access for the T can be very serious. The Notice of Abandonment, dated and with your contact details, becomes good practice. Photo that.

Video your entering the property. Demonstrate the lack of furniture (or if no lack of you've increased your risks here), be cautious I had a T who left a scabby seat, newspaper and mug (it was a set up). Video mt cupboards.

I believe I do as I can to head off a claim of illegal eviction. I would generally also have a claim greater than any claim of the T for stuff I had removed. They claim I had removed something of value, which would look unlikely in an mt property, I have a greater claim for unpaid rents, damage, and costs so as to offset their claim.

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We all know as landlords that tenants only take what they want to take when they move out, leaving us to dispose of there unwanted items.

Lets not kid ourselves, yes there are people in our society that need help, generally speaking tenants are clued up, in all of my years as a landlord, i have met some really nice tenants, but now and again you get the one who thinks the world owes them something, this girl in particular was nice, it was when the boyfriend was out of prison he would get her hooked on drugs, we helped her get sorted on a couple of occasions, but on the last occasion she simply disappeared, so in my opinion she had abandoned the property, after several months she turned up to see if her flat was still available, since heard that the boyfriend had od on drugs, lets hope that she gets sorted and goes on to live a normal and happy life.

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While helping T's in need is honourable I believe, from much experience, that we are the wrong one's to offer it.

The charity gratitude soon becomes resentment if / when we are caused to take it away. The view by most, and not only T's, is that we are so well shod it is of no consequence what we give, lose or have taken from us.

About the biggest thing a T needs help with is the rent, and that's the primary reason for us being here.

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