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Kathleen Mellor

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Everything posted by Kathleen Mellor

  1. It sounds as though you may have given the section 21 notice too early, or it is invalid in some other way which is why the council is saying you need to serve it again. Tim’s advice is sound in my opinion. Serve a section 8 notice, and a new section 21 (belt and braces) & try and negotiate with the tenant to leave voluntarily using the leverage Tim mentioned. If the tenant agrees to leave early make sure you get a signed and witnessed Deed of Surrender for the property (again belt & braces) to show the tenancy was legally ended. That will make any court action quicker and easier (the tenant will be a squatter which is a criminal offence in a dwelling house) if the tenant say takes your cash and then re-enters the property. You can download this free from Landlordzone I think. (Make sure all signatures are properly witnessed.)
  2. This came directly verbatum from the TDS website, so should put your mind at rest: When does the prescribed information need to be re-issued? There are four situations in which a landlord/agent should reissue the prescribed information. Change of tenant (For example if one tenant moves out and is replaced) Change of landlord (For example if the landlord sells the property to another landlord) Change of scheme (For example if you were leaving the Insured scheme to join the Custodial scheme) Change of tenancy address (For example if the agent or landlord has an alternative property for the tenants to move to) There you go, you're all good...although they didn't mention the situation of the same tenants at the same property simply signing a new fixed term, which I understood would require the reissue of the prescribed info (although I personally think that is silly if nothing has changed!). Need to look into that one I suppose. Kate
  3. The agent was acting on your behalf, so by the agent issuing the PI it is the same as you issuing it! You have signed proof of receipt by the tenant. The only snag could be if you have since renewed the tenancy with a new fixed term. If not and the tenancy has simply become a monthly periodic tenancy there is no requirement to reissue the PI. The tenant may be confused by the fact that they may have received a notification of the deposit moving to your personal account, from the agents account, however there has been no change of landlord and no new tenancy created and therefore there is no requirement to reissue the PI. As an aside, IF the PI had not been served (which it has), your s21 would not be valid if it was issued prior to the serving of the PI, so this would be no good in any case. You would have to serve the PI first and then start again by issuing a new s21 notice. As the deposit was protected in time there should be no question of having to return the deposit. It is perfectly possible to issue the PI late and still use a s21 notice. Just explain to the tenant that your agent served them the PI on your behalf (as you paid him to do) and you have a signed proof of receipt which you can produce to the court should you need to. Make a copy of this and send it to him as proof that it was served, that he did in fact sign for it, and that you do in fact have the original copy as proof. Reiterate that you have served them with a valid s21 notice which is a no fault notice and is mandatory and not discretionary. It is worth noting that although you have issued a s21 notice, the expiry of the notice will not bring the tenancy to an end and so if the tenant is planning to abide by the notice and leave the property they still are required technically to give you one month's notice in writing. I would send them a Tenant's Notice to Quit template and explain that you will need them to notify you in writing if they are intending to surrender the tenancy in order for it to legally end (which will mean you do not have to apply to the court for a possession order). Explain that this is in their interest also as if they do not leave the property at the end of the notice period they will be in breach of their tenancy agreement and will be liable to you for your costs if you are forced to apply for a possession order, and a warrant of execution and bailiffs fees. In addition they will be forced to leave immediately once the bailiffs turn up with no time to secure another property, or pack up their possessions. Obviously try not to get their backs up and create any more animosity than necessary, (easier said than done!). If they have been decent tenants you could offer to provide a good written reference for them up front in order to assist them to quickly find somewhere else. Best of luck
  4. I've never done this myself, so hands up, it's not something I know much about, but in truth this would make me nervous. Where would you stand if the agent had control of your property, had it full of tenants you knew nothing about and had no input or decision making power over in terms of their suitability and you stopped receiving payment from the agent to boot. Not an unheard of outcome in rent to rent. As others have said, the agent is obviously pretty confident he can make a profit out of this or he wouldn't take it on. How is he proposing to do this? Emergency accommodation for housing benefits tenants? Subletting to the council? It's an interesting question. If you do decide to turn down his offer, you may have to accept you've missed the boat for this academic year. Most university courses have started now, or 'as near as damn-it'. It would be worth reviewing the letting approach to see if anything needs tweaking to help attract more tenants, you might want to ask an objective opinion on this. Do you feel confident the price reflects value for money in the area? It is often worth accepting a lower monthly rent to get tenants into the property. A small reduction can make all the difference. How are the photo's on the internet? Do they do the property justice, or would the property benefit from some better ones? Is there a large employer locally whose employee's you can target directly? Just a few ideas, no doubt you've already considered all these. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
  5. I completely agree with you Dave! This is an entirely new tenancy and firstly it is a legal requirement that the deposit be re-protected and prescribed information etc be reserved. If no signed inventory and photographs of the condition on the commencement of this specific tenancy exist it will be impossible for you to make any claims against the protected deposit to compensate you for any damage. In the event that the Lead Tenant does not agree to any claimed deductions you will have literally no recourse other than for rent arrears. Kate
  6. Gosh Joe, you've certainly had a baptism of fire there! One thing to bear in mind is that many of the legal requirements for residential letting are the legal responsibility of the landlord, regardless of whether or not you are paying an agent to take care of these things for you. So, it is really important to not only have a highly competent agent, but to do your homework and learn about the legal requirements yourself also. An added bonus of this is it will help you to differentiate between a good agent and a bad one. I would advise you to enroll in a Principals of Letting course to get a thorough overview of the basics. The RLA offer one which you can elect to do online in the comfort of your own home, or you can spend a day attending the course in person, which I would personally advise in your case because you can ask plenty of questions of the course instructor and get your money's worth. It's well worth the small investment. It really does sound like your agent was quite negligent in it's management with your last two tenants. I'm assuming from your post that you had a full management agreement with them. Personally I do accept tenants in receipt of housing benefits, but I not only meet and evaluate them myself, in addition to the usual searches, but I also insist on a home owning guarantor who meets the income test for housing benefits tenants, or tenants under 25 years old. This means that you have a guarantor who can meet any unpaid debts of the tenant, both for rent and any damage they may cause to the property. Additionally a tenant who can provide a willing guarantor is less likely to trash your property and default on the rent! It is worth knowing that if a tenant is in receipt of housing benefit you can apply to the housing benefits department to have the benefits paid directly to you as soon as the tenant is 8 weeks in arrears. If your tenancy agreement is like 99.9% of tenancy agreements and demands rent to be paid one month in advance the tenant will effectively be two months in arrears the day after the second missed rent payment, so you really don't have to wait till the end of month two to apply. It's pretty simple to do, there should be a form available online on your council's website with full instructions for you of the process. There really is no excuse for your agent not doing this for you once your previous tenants fell into arrears. The more knowledge you gain the more successful you will be. I wish you luck with your future agents and tenants. Kate
  7. Hi Christiana, as you can see from Obsessed Members reply this is a complex area and in order to give specific, useful advice we could really do with some more details about your tenancy. When did the tenancy commence (before or after October 2015)? Have the tenants breached their tenancy agreement and if so in which ways? If they are in rent arrears, how many months in arrears are they? Have you taken any action up to now, or are you still at the research stage? Kate
  8. Hi Andy, What an infuriating situation. It could be worth your son consulting a solicitor prepared to act on a 'no win, no fee basis', or if he had legal insurance on his contents policy at the time this occurred it would likely cover any legal costs, (it's usually a cheap add-on to home insurance). There could, depending on the ins and outs of the situation, be a claim for damages (ie the reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred by the last minute postponement of the sale). The solicitor can both assess whether there is a legal basis for a claim and who it should be made against. Try and find a large firm that has specialist departments experienced with contracts law. They won't take the case on unless they feel it has a good chance of success and even though your son will have to share any money awarded with the law firm it will be a consolation to know that the developer hasn't gotten away with this behaviour scott-free as it were. They've effectively had a double win out of him and his fiance thanks to their shoddy performance.
  9. Hi Justin, I can't see that anyone else has replied to this question, although you have probably already found the answer by now. If not, I believe that the defendant now has 28 days to pay you for the debt before the CCJ is registered against them. If no payment is made you have the option to enforce the judgement in a number of ways. In the case you describe I believe you would be looking at applying for a Third Party Debt order. The court will make an order for the TDS to pay the deposit money directly to you. This link http://www.aboutsmallclaims.co.uk/county-court-judgement-enforcement.html helpfully explains the different enforcement options available. Good luck, Kate
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