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gazza77

Landlord/tenant issues

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I currently own a house that I let out, that is a residual issue from when my now wife and I bought a house together in 2008 and I relocated to where we currently live (Hebden Bridge). SInce then, we've let the house out with mixed success: some good tenants, some not so and some periods of it being empty.

The current tenants missed a rental payment in May, and after discussions with them via the letting agent, we agreed to allow them to repay £50 per month in addition to the monthly rent to clear the arrears. We've received £100 of the arrears since. They didn't make a payment last month either (rent is due on 28th month), and have fobbed the agent off with unmet promises of payment every time they've been called and spoken to. 

Given the current financial climate, and the issues around universal credit, I'd have a level of understanding if they were financially struggling and would be prepared to work with them. What is hacking me off however is the fact that I'm having to spend a great deal of time chasing the agent up, who in turn are spending time chasing the tenant with no joy, other than broken promise after broken promise. 

Given the above, what would you do in my shoes? I have mortgage payments to make on the property, however I'm equally aware that having a non-paying tenant in is actually cheaper than having to fork out approx. £150 per month on council tax and utilities to heat the place if they move out...

Edited by gazza77
typo

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How likely is it the property will remain empty? are the tenants relying on you not wanting the property to be empty.

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Send them a “talk to us about your problems otherwise we have to start to evict” notice. Then remember that if they won’t talk then you can’t help them, there really is only so much you can do.

Send them links to places like PayPlan or CCCS and encourage them to talk to them if they won’t talk to you.  If they STILL won’t talk then you’re not left with too many choices.

I personally wouldn’t do anything severe until after Christmas but then I don’t have a mortgage to pay on it!

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2 minutes ago, ckn said:

Send them a “talk to us about your problems otherwise we have to start to evict” notice. Then remember that if they won’t talk then you can’t help them, there really is only so much you can do.

Send them links to places like PayPlan or CCCS and encourage them to talk to them if they won’t talk to you.  If they STILL won’t talk then you’re not left with too many choices.

I personally wouldn’t do anything severe until after Christmas but then I don’t have a mortgage to pay on it!

They've been told by the letting agent before not to just ignore things. There previous landlord's reference advised payments could be "erratic", so we do actually have a guarantor if required, although getting payment out of them could be just as difficult.

I don't know what the current market is like, so I don't know what the likelihood of it remaining empty is if I did resort to eviction. Part of the issue is that I now live about 40 miles away from the house, so keeping an eye on it can be difficult.

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48 minutes ago, gazza77 said:

I currently own a house that I let out, that is a residual issue from when my now wife and I bought a house together in 2008 and I relocated to where we currently live (Hebden Bridge). SInce then, we've let the house out with mixed success: some good tenants, some not so and some periods of it being empty.

The current tenants missed a rental payment in May, and after discussions with them via the letting agent, we agreed to allow them to repay £50 per month in addition to the monthly rent to clear the arrears. We've received £100 of the arrears since. They didn't make a payment last month either (rent is due on 28th month), and have fobbed the agent off with unmet promises of payment every time they've been called and spoken to. 

Given the current financial climate, and the issues around universal credit, I'd have a level of understanding if they were financially struggling and would be prepared to work with them. What is hacking me off however is the fact that I'm having to spend a great deal of time chasing the agent up, who in turn are spending time chasing the tenant with no joy, other than broken promise after broken promise. 

Given the above, what would you do in my shoes? I have mortgage payments to make on the property, however I'm equally aware that having a non-paying tenant in is actually cheaper than having to fork out approx. £150 per month on council tax and utilities to heat the place if they move out...

Do the tenants have children?

Are they old or young?

Are they in work?(Your comment regarding universal credit suggests not).

Are any agencies involved such as social services? 

These are the kind of things that would affect my thinking.

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5 minutes ago, Tongs ya bas said:

Do the tenants have children?

Are they old or young?

Are they in work?(Your comment regarding universal credit suggests not).

Are any agencies involved such as social services? 

These are the kind of things that would affect my thinking.

I wasn't aware they had children when they agreed the let, however it was mentioned by the letting agent that when they'd called round to discuss the arrears, their child had discussed it with them due to parents being in bed due to shift work. That indicates any children aren't that young, and they are both in work. As far as I'm aware, no other agencies are involved. I'm a bit remote to the tenancy, as I've used a letting agent to deal with it (due to previous issues with non-paying tenants), however I've not had any indication that there is a reason for non-payment, other than they've presumably spent their wages on other things.

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16 minutes ago, Bedford Roughyed said:

With you doing so much legwork I wonder what the agents are actually doing?

They are at least visiting the property to speak to the tenants, as they aren't returning calls. That itself is something I'd struggle to do myself.

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17 minutes ago, gazza77 said:

I wasn't aware they had children when they agreed the let, however it was mentioned by the letting agent that when they'd called round to discuss the arrears, their child had discussed it with them due to parents being in bed due to shift work. That indicates any children aren't that young, and they are both in work. As far as I'm aware, no other agencies are involved. I'm a bit remote to the tenancy, as I've used a letting agent to deal with it (due to previous issues with non-paying tenants), however I've not had any indication that there is a reason for non-payment, other than they've presumably spent their wages on other things.

It's a real dilemma for you.

Doesn't the letting agency have a responsibility? Aren't you paying them to manage your property?

When I retired I worked for a friend's landscaping business. A sideline was working for another friend's letting agency. We prepared properties, maintained them, cleaned up after tenants had left(some of the stuff they left behind was mind boggling). It was all dealt with by the letting agency. I imagined that it would be them that dealt with the tenants directly as well and not the property owner. 

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4 minutes ago, Tongs ya bas said:

It's a real dilemma for you.

Doesn't the letting agency have a responsibility? Aren't you paying them to manage your property?

When I retired I worked for a friend's landscaping business. A sideline was working for another friend's letting agency. We prepared properties, maintained them, cleaned up after tenants had left(some of the stuff they left behind was mind boggling). It was all dealt with by the letting agency. I imagined that it would be them that dealt with the tenants directly as well and not the property owner. 

I'm paying them to deal with the tenant,manage contracts, collect payments etc. If the tenant doesn't pay them, I don't get rent, they don't get their fee. They will also deal with issuing notice and chasing the guarantor if necessary. In the past, they've also dealt with cleaning up and redecoration before re-letting.

It is both a dilemma and a pain in the proverbial, especially as this is not the first tenant we've had issues with around non-payment.

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1 minute ago, ckn said:

Is it not worth selling up?

I've thought that before, and may consider again. The market around there seems fairly flat though. A quick look on Right Move earlier showed several similar houses in the area that have been up for sale for months. Part of the problem is that similar terraced houses in the area seem to fall into one of two groups, either immaculate or ready to renovate. Ours probably falls in between the two; it's decent enough and perfectly habitable, however it's not perfect. That means that those with more to spend want a better finish and those wanting to strip the place to refurbish offer below what we feel it's worth and paid for it.

The mortgage is roughly the same as the monthly rent, but we're fortunate we can cover it regardless of rent payments. Given it's only about 7 years left as well, unless things go seriously downhill or circumstances change, we've come to view it as a long term investment.

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52 minutes ago, gazza77 said:

I'm paying them to deal with the tenant,manage contracts, collect payments etc. If the tenant doesn't pay them, I don't get rent, they don't get their fee. They will also deal with issuing notice and chasing the guarantor if necessary. In the past, they've also dealt with cleaning up and redecoration before re-letting.

It is both a dilemma and a pain in the proverbial, especially as this is not the first tenant we've had issues with around non-payment.

I couldn't do it.

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8 minutes ago, Tongs ya bas said:

I couldn't do it.

I think we're what is usually termed "reluctant landlords". It suits...

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3 hours ago, gazza77 said:

They've been told by the letting agent before not to just ignore things. There previous landlord's reference advised payments could be "erratic", so we do actually have a guarantor if required, although getting payment out of them could be just as difficult.

If they have a history of "erratic" but eventually full payments then maybe your best bet is to sit tight, as long as you can stand the ups and downs in your income? I suspect you'll need to keep up the pressure via your agent though. If they are working, and you're not charging an extortionate rent it is reasonable to expect full payment.

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It may seem harsh but we were advised to evict after a few missed payments. We live around 200 miles from our reluctant property empire!

We do everything we can to keep tenants. We don't always put the rent up when we could as, as you say, its better to have a tenant. In the end the stress of worrying about payments and the associated hassle became too much so we let the management company earn their money and evicted them.

it was unoccupied for a month so in the meantime we had it painted etc

The management company said the tenants appeared like it was as much a blessing for them as it was for us as they clearly couldn't afford it. They lost their deposit (came to us for missed payments) and left the house in a reasonable state so perhaps we were lucky in that regard.

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You entered an agreement with "erratic" payers, however, "erratic" doesn't mean they get a pass to simply not pay. They also have a guarantor, so someone should have paid. 

It's a 2 way street, you provide, they pay. Forget universal credit, the time of year, or any other heartstring tugs that they may use. Issue an eviction notice. Things won't change. 

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