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tenant won't pay and avoids us


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A question from another inexperienced landlord. We rented a flat to a young guy who seemed very serious and mature. Now (in two months) he e-mailed us, saying that his working hours have been cut and he can't afford renting the flat anymore. He is paid weekly, and said that now he could pay us a quater of the rent each week. The problem is he e-mailed us on a day the rent was due, and we didn't receive a quater or any money at all. He doesn't pick up the phone, and it's hard to get in touch iwth him because they don't call him at work, saying that "he's busy and will call later". He doesn't.

What is our course of action? I heard that we need to serve him a notice to leave. Where do I get one? Is it a special form?

We did put his deposit into the DPS scheme. We'll try to pop in tonight (surprise visit) but if he doesn't have the money, then we can't get a blood out of the stone. How can we get his deposit back, so that it would at least pay for a month's rent? I know that deposit schemes favour the tenant, and usually just give the deposit back to him, regardless. How do we contact them?

If you could explain everything in simple terms and in detail, I'd be very grateful. And from now on, no young people, even serious and mature ones. I did want to make his mom a garantor, but my husband refused because "it's not done nowdays", so we have nothing to fall back on. Plus, for £400 a month, you wouldn't go to courts.

Thank you for any advice.

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Hi Irina,

Always go for the guarantor with under 21's or anyone who seems a bit iffy. It is done these days and has paid me back a couple of times. Although some young tenants are quite responsible at that age this one isn't.

You can't get his deposit back immediately to pay the rent so forget that and accepting a quarter rent is not a good idea either.

He can't afford the rent and he needs to go You need to get shot.

Be careful on the 'suprise visit' that he does not accuse you of harrassment. If you can reason with him just tell him that to save running up further debt which could affect his credit rating for life, blah blah the door is open and he should go now. He might agree to go or you could contact the parent and say what has happened asking them to make up the rent so far - but he has to go. The fact that he is not responding suggests he does not want to confront the situation.

If this fails you have not choice but to issue a section 21 notice. Look at this site for details or get a specialist landlord and tenant solicitor to do it on a fixed price. Should be around £500. This could take you 12 weeks as it has to go to court and then if he does not go you will have to evict. You could then take out a County Court Judgement for any rent owed - he is working so will have to pay it back in drips.

Reasoning with him has to be the best and quickest way out of this before any more debt is run up.

Good luck


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Thank you Mortitia,

Where can I get s21 and s8 forms, apart from going to the solicitor? Is there anywhere I can get them for free? If I lose the rent, I really wouldn't like to lose any more money than that.

Thank you.

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You can download the forms that you may need from this site.

You need to read up about eviction procedure - you don't have to use a solicitor if you follow what to do to obtain a court order.

I agree with Mortitia.

I would first write a letter making quite clear about your intended action, that is that you will give two months legal notice to quit and take eviction proceedings if the correct rent is not paid on time according to your agreement.

Unless you are in the habit of 'popping in' it would be better to post it by recorded delivery to avoid risk of harrassment. If you know a parent's address, send them a copy and of course keep one yourself.

This may be sufficient to persuade the tenant to depart and avoid the need for a court order.

You cannot recover the tenant's deposit without his agreement. Read the information on the DPS website.

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  • 2 weeks later...
accepting a quarter rent is not a good idea either.

You must accept rent if offered, even if it is short payment, courts take a dim view of a landlord that refuses rent. It can be seen as manipulating the tenant into a position where you can issue a S8 early. Otherwise I agree, get rid of this tenant.

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