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Evict or not to evict


StevenC

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Hello there, 

 

Wanted some advice on my particular predicament. The situation is as follows: I currently have a 3 bed flat in Hackney which is let out to a housing association bringing in £1300 per month. The tenant currently residing in the property is a single mother with 6 children who has been in the property for almost 2 years. I realise that I could be getting a lot more by converting the flat into a 4 bed HMO. Similar flats in the same block are fetching £650 per room yielding a healthy £2600 gross monthly rent. I gave notice to the housing association 4 months ago informing them that I wish to take back my property. I was told that the tenant will only vacate the property once a suitable home has been found. I have not issued a formal section 21 notice and have been flexible in giving ample time for the tenant to find a new home given her circumstance. The question now is how much longer do I wait? It could be several more months until a 'suitable' home is found whilst I continue to wait. Do I proceed and go down the legal route ignoring the moral aspect of it? Or do I treat this as a business and detract feeling morally obligated to do the right thing by allowing the tenant to stay as long as possible?

 

Advice and insight appreciated!

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Steve

It sounds as if you have been more than reasonable already. I would write to the tenant and housing association giving them a formal deadline by which time they need to have found a replacement property. You can make the deadline as long as you wish but it's important to have a record that you have gone through due process and, at the same time, can be seen to have been reasonable. Once the deadline has elapsed then you should not feel guilty by serving notice. It's not a great situation I admit and the answer won't be the same for everybody.

andrew

 

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Hi Steve,  I would issue a section 21 immediately, it is my experience that most councils will tell the tenant not to leave the property until you have evicted her through the courts.  They won't act to find her somewhere until you have a baliff's order.  If she does not do this they will say she has made herself intentionally homeless and will be potentially taken of the housing list.

 

There are odd occasions when this is not the case but I wouldn't wait, start the ball rolling.  A section 21 is just a notice that you want possession on or after the date on the notice.  This way it shows you are serious.

 

Anthony

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Hi Steve,

 

I would say do what you would feel most comfortable doing. Like you said, there is an element of morality involved, which I don't think you should ignore (too many landlords do that), and only your conscious can determine what's best for you. You won't be doing the wrong thing in any case.

 

Also, if you decide to go down the Section 21 route, I would first ensure that you're eligible to serve a valid notice. With all the changes to the legislation recently, many landlords have found themselves in a position where they're unable to serve a valid one.

 

On a sidenote, I find HMO's a lot more work, because the tenant turnover is much higher, which also means more void periods. Something to bear in mind.

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Steve hi,

Reading your post I am intrigued to know what contract arrangement you have with the housing association.  Your problem could be that unless you have an AST contract direct with the tenant serving a Sect 21 will be entirely meaningless and unenforceable. Before you go to the expense of going to court check your legal paperwork and what type of tenancy agreement you are contracted to.

 

I suspect that you may have some form of company let with the HA and they then sub-let to the their tenant which could be either an AST or an Assured Tenancy which are entirely different beasts.  If this is the case ,hopefully your property is not mortgaged as your mortgage provider may take a dim view to such an arrangement as it is much harder for them to recover the property in extremis

 

Bear in mind that the HA will be experts and possibly tied/lured you into an arrangement that you may not have been completely aware of - unless you used a solicitor to check your contract and if my surmise is correct they will know that a S21 is not effective and play for time. I would book an appointment to visit the HA and discuss your desire to recover the property and hopefully they will be decent enough to at least give you their best guess of a timescale. I would not tell them your plans but say you want to live in it yourself following a refurb as they will be keen to retain it at all costs if they think you are going to try and leverage your income from the property. 

 

Unfortunately replacement equivalent properties are like rocking horse dung and so it may not be a quick process.  Hopefully you are at least getting a reasonable return from your current tenant and can plan your refurb.  What thelandlord has said is also true regarding HMOs.  The headline fully occupied rate are very attractive but the wear & tear is dramatically higher, the voids are often regular and you may find the HA tenant is a stable let that in the long term is not too dissimilar in overall ROI but with a lot less hassle.  Don't forget that HMO's often attract additional licensing fees and much higher standards of fittings/ safety features which all add to your costs

 

Good luck

 

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