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  • Problem Tenants

    Section 8 - Still applicable?

    Hello all,

    I have recently posted about a nightmare tenant. In short, stopped paying months ago, wouldn’t communicate by any means.

    A section 8 notice had been issued but, in order to potentially jolt the tenant into action I contacted a local debt collector to potentially collect on my behalf before issuing court proceedings.

    I then sent the tenant this email:

    Hi XXXXXXXXX,

    As you have made no effort to contact me

    your debt of £XXXXX has been passed onto XXXXXXXXX Security Ltd who will be in touch soon to make arrangements to collect this amount.

    If you want to get in touch please contact them directly at either:

    XXXXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXXXX

    Please note I have no interest in liaising any further directly with you because I don’t particularly enjoy being lied to. I would also suggest you may want to consider the viability of your existing tenancy.

    Regards,

    XXXXXXXXX

    My question...

    As the tenant in question still has not paid (anything, to anyone) or handed the keys back, despite actually moving out(!), can she argue that she no longer owes the debt to me and the Section 8 grounds (of more than 2 months) are invalid? My intention was obviously for the collector to collect on my behalf but I feel the wording may be ambiguous and I have set myself up.

    I have subsequently contacted a solicitor and this is listed for court next month but any advice would be warmly welcomed.

    Regards,

    Matt

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    Not sure what advise you can be given here given that you have a solicitor on it.

    I'd be careful though, your letter could be viewed as harassment  How do you know she's moved out? If no keys returned she could still claim tenancy exists. Best get possession notice.

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    If you still have contact with your tenant send her an email or text ( not a voice message ) tell her you would like to carry out an inspection of the property, you are happy for her to be there but if you do not hear back from her you will assume she is happy for you to carry out the inspection on your own. I have been in the same position as you and that is what i did then took photos which proved the tenant had abandonment the property. If the property has kard meters take pics of the arrears on the meter if any. Hope this helps   Malcolm

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    Any reason why you can't also serve a valid s21?   Safer to evict that route.

    But serve a new s8 (as a "hint"Wink to the tenant every time they are late or under paying rent.  Yes, s8 may be validly served if only 1p is underpaid only 1 day.

    I if you get a chance verbally explain to tenant about "intentionally homeless" and that you always copy s8's to council housing debt (so scarce council housing and help is not wasted).

    Your debt collector letter will have no legal effect (unless you already have court judgement for the debt against tenant).  MCoL  is a better option.

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    Hello all,


    Thanks for the feedback. A little more info...


    For all intents and purposes tenant has basically been a nightmare since she got the keys. Became aggressive, abusive, (generally a bit of a gobsh*te!) and has never, ever paid on time.


    The property is a flat, to which I am informed she has also changed the locks due boyfriend issues. It is obviously now next to impossible to ascertain access and condition (I have tried). She wont respond to inspection requests. Her neighbours have confirmed that they feel she no longer lives there. She has even confirmed this to me via email and also plastered it all over Facebook!! (I have the screenshots). she has also been made aware that she continue to run arrears until she returns them. Yet she still won’t return the keys? So what am I missing?


    She has, repeatedly during the tenancy refused to let tradesmen into perform basic duties, boiler checks etc despite being pre-arranged. Endless “dog ate my homework” excuses. Fortunately I was able to get the Gas Safety renewed. She has once, alleged unspecified disrepair and that she “spoke to the council”, to which I asked for specifics and none were obviously forthcoming. I attempted to verify this with the council who confirmed, in writing, that no such complaint existed. On the rare occasions tradesmen have been allowed in they have remarked it seems fine (it’s less than 10 years old!)


    She will very, very occasionally communicate via email but it is literally just an endless stream of lies. i.e “I will hand the keys back on XYZ” to which nothing ever comes. “I will make payment of X on Y” which never comes either. I have all of this documented.


    To stress, every last bit of the above can be verified via email, text, screenshot or independent statement.


    S21 will also be getting issues by the way.


    My issue is, at the risk of giving her too much credit for intelligence, is that she has had some advice somewhere and therefore has an angle to play which is not yet entirely transparent. My gut is she may allege she has paid the debt to the collector (she hasn’t) and therefore she no longer owes it, therefore S8 is invalid or similarly that she paid undocumented cash which again she hasn’t. (No references to it anywhere and a long history or sporadic bank transfers). I feel any disrepair can be easily refuted, as does her being made aware of the court hearing date (email/post) which leaves the money/collector issue as the potential elephant in the room. Given she really doesn’t live there I just cannot for the life of me see why she doesn’t give the keys back. There must be something!


    My solicitor doesn’t seem too concerned at this stage but any more feedback based on the above would be gratefully received. Whilst I respect their understanding of the law I have exeprienced council who turn up on the day with a limited understanding of the context of a case and I want to make sure they are well aware of what I feel her angle may be beforehand and to be able to plan accordingly.


    Fortunately, whilst this stings a little bit it wont ruin me and since buying subsequent properties I feel it has really led to me upping my game as a landlord. And, as a relatively young one that’s probably not a bad thing!


    Cheers!


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