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Thanks, I will update soon about the situation for the last 2 weeks.
The advice you have been given is simply wrong and Garry Hodge is correct re Street v Mountford - the agreement has nothing to do with it, it's the situation that counts. See a decent property solicitor or I would consult Landlord Action
Apologies for any confusion caused during your phone call to the RLA. We always strive to provide the best advice based on the information provided to us at the time and we hope to investigate and clarify this with you.
In your case, based on the previous posts, your call should have been raised to myself, the Landlord Advice Team's Senior Advisor but this does not appear to have happened.
I would like to be able to discuss this matter with you over the phone so please call me. This will give me the opportunity to assess your situation properly and advise you accordingly. I can also then find your account and the phone records associated with it so I can assess whether or not the advice given was incorrect and whether the individual advisor needs any further training to increase their knowledge.
Thanks Mr James Wood. The call was made by the estate agent in front of me on loud speaker through his account with RLA. I asked him to contact you but he did not consider doing it again for me unfortunately
Oh no how horrible!! I hope you get this sorted out!
Updates from last 30 days:
On 16/12/18, (after his refusal to my all efforts to contact him and carry the work he needs) The tenant served me another notice accusing me again that since I did not carry the required work therefore he has complained the council and now willing to move out of property on 15/01/2019 on the basis that the property is inhabitable for him. He asked that his deposit money should be refunded back to him ASAP. He also stopped paying the rent from that time as well. I thanked God that he is willing to leave the property on his own and since he did not pay the rent so I thought that deposit money would cover that.
Few days passed and I received a letter from the local council housing licensing department instructing me to obtain the property renting license within two weeks to avoid any legal proceeding and also resolve issues with my tenants about the condition of the property. I had already applied for the license although the fee was not processed for some system error and I had written council about it and requested them to take the fee payment over the phone.
At the same time, I received a call from a lady from private housing department that she would like to visit the property and investigate issues the tenant has. I explained the situation to that lady but she said she would come and investigate herself. I was not available on the day of inspection therefore, I hired the estate agent, who had arranged this tenancy, to attend the visit on my behalf.
The tenant gave access to the council’s lady officer and to my agent on that day. The officer inspected the property and found issues of dampness, mould and mouse dropping which I was expecting because of tenant poor hygienically living style and then he was already planning something and that was obvious that he will try making the property as worst as possible. My agent told the officer that the tenant never mentioned these things before and after his written request, he did no give access to carry the work either.
The officer asked the tenant about it and tenant kept quiet. My agent looked at the officer asking for her suggestion but the officer kept quiet. The tenant then spoke to the officer that he wants council house since this property is not habitable for his family and he needs compensation from the landlord as well. To that the officer said this is not her department and he needs to contact the different department.
While inspecting the property the officer pointed another issue, which no one was expecting, not me, neither tenant nor the estate agent. The ground floor flat has one bedroom at the front of the house and then a big living area in the middle. The garden door is in the living area next to kitchen door. The kitchen has a bathroom inside and once we cross the kitchen, there is another door to the second bedroom and that room has a big window towards the garden. So actually the second bedroom is accessed through the kitchen. The officer said this room is not safe for living as in case of fire the exit is from the kitchen or through the window to the garden. But garden does not have an exit to some other safety place except going back to the living area.
I had no idea about this as either. As I had said previously I had been renting first floor flat for 8 years before I bought this house and another family was renting ground flat for 8 years with 2 kids in that rear room and council never had any issue even they had separate council tax bill and housing benefit etc. Anyway this another unexpected issue came up.
Few more days passed and I received a letter from that inspector to carry all the work the tenant required before 10/01/19 to avoid a penalty. She completely ignored the fact that the tenant does not give access to me for any work. She also mentioned that she would write separately about the rear bedroom. I sent an email to the inspector reminding her about the problem that the tenant does not give access, I also sent her all the emails, written notices and text messages sent to the tenant without a single response back from the him. I did not get any response for that email from the inspector but received a “Prohibition order” that the rear bedroom cannot be used as a living room and a fine for £550 is levied to issue that order on me. The tenant proudly affixed that Prohibition Order on his door as his big victory against me.
Just before I received the Prohibition order I called the property-licensing department. I wanted to inquire that they neither responded to my licensing application nor contacted my for the fee which was not processed at the time of submission of the application. The officer was so nice and while he was checking the application I told him the situation I was going through with this tenant. I told him that the tenant has now given me a notice that he will leave the property on 15/01/19 and he has already stopped paying the rent. The officer sympathised me and said he would see what he could do. He later sent an email saying,
“Dear Mr Al, Following our conversation, I can confirm that because the case has been closed you will not be required to apply for a licence”,
At least that part was covered. I contacted the “Tenant Deposit Scheme” TDS, and they wrote to me that since I live in the same building even in separate flats, I do not legally need to protect the tenant deposit in TDS. The tenant did not pay the rent so no more deposit protection issue was there anyway. I had got “Consent to Lease” from my lender as well so I believe I had secured few parts of my potential problems. I forgot to mention that on one occasion I faced the tenant at the door, when I was coming in and he was going out, and I asked him, “Your rent is due”. He said, ‘’Oh you want to rent, wait”. He took the phone out and called the police that few people have surrounded him and his life is in danger. It was when I was with my child and wife, Just wow! The police came and interviewed me. After realising the situation the police advised me to avoid this person as he can pose serious problems to me.
Anyway, I was eagerly waiting for 15th January, which was his eviction notice date, but just 2 days ago, on Sunday evening the tenant knocked my door. I went out and he greeted me with smiling face and asked me to come inside his apartment in extreme politeness. I was speechless looking at him because this was the person who put me in so many problems with his evil plans and actions and now he was talking to me as nothing happened and inviting me into his apartment as we are best friends! I said, “Why do you want me to go into your flat”. He said he wants to show something to me. Before I said something, another African guy came out of his flat and told me that he would like both of us to sit and solve our issues. I said “issues! He made my life measurable and now you want me to sit and discuss! Discuss what” I said, “I am sorry I won’t come in now and everything will now be done only by court”.
His friend started insisting me to just listen to him. After his great insistence I said, “Ok tell me what he want to say”. But they both said, “No we only want to talk inside flat”. I refused to go in persistently. Suddenly the friend of the tenant said that the shower glass is broken so at least see that. I said, “break the whole house but I will not come inside like this”. I kept saying that speak to me on the door or come inside my car but they did not accept it. I have no idea why the tenant and his friend suddenly wanted me to come inside their flat and just 2 days before they were leaving according to their notice.
I left them alone and went outside to sort some stuff inside my car in front of my house, the tenant’s friend came out and said, “I wanted to help you but you did not agree, now its up to you”, and he left. 5 minutes later, when I was still next to my car, the tenant came out and ran towards East looking at me. Same time his wife came out of house looked at her husband and then me and ran towards opposite direction of her husband. I was looking at them and got hugely confused what they were up to now. Their young girls were at home alone and I was so much concerned why they left the house at 8pm leaving their kids alone. I got some bad feeling and I straightaway called my 9 years old child to stay with me outside until they were back. The husband came back in 5-7 minutes followed by his wife. They were staring at me and then went in. I do not know what was that but since they are very unreliable people hence I was very scared. I wrote to the police about it that night that I am not comfortable with my tenant as he might do something that may put my family or myself in trouble, but police replied me that it is a civil matter and they can be no help in it. May be I am over scared but my anxiety and fear can be felt by this.
Anyway, now it’s 15th January passed while I am writing at midnight. They do not seem to be at home but they have not moved out and did not handed the keys over to me or taken their stuff. I do not know what shall I do and what action shall I take if they do not evict. I am thinking to change the locks since they did not tell me that they wish to extend their stay neither paid the second rent. But if I take the action by changing the locks, that might put me in more trouble. If I do not do anything and just go to court, what ground shall I use to seek the eviction orders from court? If legal eviction takes couple of months what shall I do to the property licensing for renting since I only got the exemption because the officer believed same as me that the tenant would leave. The property won't be licensed anyway because of the Prohibition Order. Also the inspector who had visited the property she has sent me the letter to carry the repair ignoring everything what I said that the tenant is not letting me do anything, so Shall I keep trying accessing the property to carry the work while tenant is enjoying freely without paying anything. Also the flat has Prohibition Order for usage of the rear bedroom, so legally this is only 1 bedroom flat now and not habitable for the tenant and his children. Please help. Many Thanks
Updates: the tenant suddenly left the property on his own)) Although the house and all furniture have become pieces of crap and atleast 5k is required to bring the flat back to its original condition but I am still happy that the evil is gone. I still need to sort out Council in regards to unlicensed Penality and prohibition order for the rear room. I was given examption for the license first but then another officer sent me £1000 fine 2 days ago. So need to sort these things out but atleast the tenant is gone and I’m so thankful to God. Thank you very to all of you for great support and very helpful pieces of advice
Wow, you've certainly had an intense few weeks! Glad it is now mostly over in that the tenant has gone.
Good luck addressing the other issues, but these seem minor compared with the others you've faced.
This sounds like every landlord's worst nightmare; made more difficult because you are in the same building. It sounds like he's trying to get a council house and using lots of tricks to do it. He might be finding it's not as easy as he thought.
You are quite right to follow your instincts and not allow yourself to be placed in a vulnerable situation. Keeping the police informed is a good idea. They may not be able to do anything but they should at least be keeping a record which may help you in the future. I sincerely hope it all gets sorted out quiuckly and you and your family can get on with living normal lives as soon as possible.
You need to join either the RLA or NLA yourself to take advantage of their Legal Helpline & then decide the best way forward.
It may be worth pointing out to your Tenant that if you start eviction proceedings for unpaid rent the Council will not give him a council house as they (tenants) will be deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless.
Also keep trying to get access to the property to do the repairs demanded by the council - copy them into your access requests.
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