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Landlord by mistake.!


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In march a ''friend'' and his family had to leave their rental property as it was being sold. At that time I'd renovated a small cottage and offered to them as I wasn;t moving in myself and would probably sell it. They paid me rent from the first month and so on. Last month we sold the property quite quickly and told our friends it would take 10-12 weeks to go through. NOW I find out they had ccj's and cannot get another rental property.! As such they are demanding they stay at my property for 6 months minimum, seems on checking this myself we have become landlords by mistake as we were only helping a so-called friend out of a scrape they were in. Today I have checked my bank and received no rent? What can I do just to get them out soonest please? Many thanks

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You have fallen into the age old landlord trap of letting to friends and family. They become ex-friends very quickly when it all goes wrong.

Have you got a signed tenancy contract in place?  If you have then yes, they have possession for 6 months but you can start the process for legal eviction. It will probably be a drawn out process as these people already have a collection of CCJ's to their names and having another one added won't trouble them too much.

In the business of being a landlord you trust no one and it is essential to follow the set legal paperwork/documentation process of ensuring you check thoroughly who will be occupying your property to avoid situations you currently now find yourself in.

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As you are in the process of selling the property, time is of the essence and you have little experience of dealing with these matters I'd be inclined to recommend you use one of the company's that specialise in these kinds of things.

Landlord Action is one such company......do a web search for their contact details and get them to start the process immediately.

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6 hours ago, Melboy said:

You have fallen into the age old landlord trap of letting to friends and family. They become ex-friends very quickly when it all goes wrong.

Have you got a signed tenancy contract in place?  If you have then yes, they have possession for 6 months but you can start the process for legal eviction. It will probably be a drawn out process as these people already have a collection of CCJ's to their names and having another one added won't trouble them too much.

In the business of being a landlord you trust no one and it is essential to follow the set legal paperwork/documentation process of ensuring you check thoroughly who will be occupying your property to avoid situations you currently now find yourself in.

We have no signed agreement, it was a ''favour'' in the first place, but now seems to ''favour'' them as tenants and not me as the owner of the property?? Does it make a difference if they haven't signed a contract or letting agreement? Many thanks

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I am sorry to tell you that is does make a difference. I do agree with Richlist that you really do need to consult now with Landlord Action for professional advice and for them to to guide you through the process of eviction where no tenancy contract was issued.

Once you have accepted rent in payment it does alter the balance in the tenant's favour because they now have a verbal and monetry contract with you.

There is a basic rule when it comes to being a landlord which many 1st time (and beyond) landlord's fail to understand and that is you no longer actually own your property once you have passed it over to a rent paying tenant which is the principle reason why you have to go to a court of law and through the legal process to get your property back from a defaulting tenant. Yes, everything favours the defaulting tenant which we all know is totally wrong.  Successive governments, over decades, seem totally unprepared to take any action that favours the landlord.

https://www.landlordaction.co.uk/

Good luck and please come back and tell us all how you are getting on with this matter.

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Many thanks for your advice, as I've alluded to earlier there was never any intention of becoming a landlord (you lot must be crazy lol) but that said it's a massive lesson learned at this stage. I'll take all your advice on board which is appreciated. I'll speak to my solicitor in Monday. Lastly, the tenant said they require 6 months notice which the council is leading them, which means September the 1st. Does that mean they have to leave on the 2nd? Many thanks

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Don't forget that a lot of solicitors are not landlord/tenant savvy when it comes to the process of eviction. This we all know too well which is why we are saying you really need a solicitor that knows this business inside out to avoid simple mistakes which could delay things in the Courts. 

"Grampa" is probably the best forum member who could guide you on this matter as he runs his own letting agency and deals with problems such as this all the time.

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You wont be the first first landlords who has got them selves into a situation like this and i have had to resolve a few similar problems for landlords who have either inherited a property or tried to self manage without the skills needed.

As Melboy has mentioned you need specialised legal help as a lot of high st solicitors arent as knowledgeable and they will infer.  They will muddle through the process without any sense of urgency. 

But to start the process and save some legal costs you can put the ground work in and get some documentation sent to the tenants with an accompanying letter clarifying the rent etc. 

Was a deposit taken? I will assume at this stage there wasnt so you need to collate the following docs.

1. EPC https://www.epcregister.com/reportSearchAddressTerms.html?redirect=reportSearchAddressByPostcode

2. How to rent guide  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/674299/How_to_Rent_Jan_18.pdf

3. Copy of the gas certificate if applicable. 

4. Section 48 notice https://landlords.org.uk/sites/default/files/Section%2048%20Notice_1.pdf

Then post 2 copies to all the tenants one by recorded and one by proof of postage with a letter on long the lines of:

Dear xxxx

For your records please find attached replacement copies/latest versions of the below documentation relating to your tenancy:

1. EPC 

2. How to rent guide 

3. Copy of the gas certificate

4. Section 48 notice

Also for clarification I need to remind you your tenancy started xx/xx/xx and the rent is £xxxx per calendar month payable in advance on the xx day of each month.

I also need to inform you your current rent arrears amount to £xxx which is calculated up to the xx of xxxxx 2018. see rent schedule attached.

Once you have the above letter in place you can look at serving either or both of a s21 or s8.

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Grampa

I don't have copy of gas certs or anything you imply as it was never going to be a tenant/landlord type of rent.! It was a property I renovated for sale and my ''friend'' was desperate for a short while, as such I didn't take a deposit/bond or anything, It was only when I told them that I'd sold it that they went to the council for a council hours, all amicable etc, then the council got involved and told them everything they could do..!! the council basically have advocated them to basically lose our friendship and in the process cause me as much problems as possible.

We had a good relationship even after I sold the property until the council got involved..!!!!

 

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Allan you say you’ve sold the property but I take it that in reality that is just an offer as you are still trying to sort out the problem? If you’d sold it then surely the problem is now the new owner’s? 

Sorry but if I was the prospective buyer I’d be likely to walk away and feeling rather aggrieved at wasted costs. (Don’t shoot the messenger!)

It is very unfair that your ex-friends have taken advantage but as others have said renting to friends even as a favour makes you a landlord and without doing it by the book, issuing the right documents etc then you are on very uncharted territory and will need professional advice. I hope it doesn’t work out how someone I read about on a property forum years ago and it was deemed they’d created a verbal agreement to rent to the individual for their lifetime on a rent that could never be increased and the landlord was stuck with a property that was worth a fifth of its vacant possession value. Don’t want to scare you but terrible things can happen and the sooner you sort it out the better. 

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