SMF - Just Installed!

Advice Needed

Started by krsmsom, January 07, 2024, 08:47:32 PM

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I have come across this forum via google and I thought I would post on here to seek assistance.

I have a property which I rent out (which used to main our main home till 2020).

Since 2020, its been let. Its located in Rotherham and under Councils' selective licensing scheme so its has always been kept in good state of repair.

Due to adverse weather 2 weeks ago, the property has suffered a damage on the roof where a section of roof tiles got damaged due to extreme storm.

The tenant wasn't in and was away at her brother's in Manchester.

She came in at midnight and as per her, she asked her son to go upstairs to turn light on in main bedroom.
She heard her son scream and the whole house's electricity tripped. She went upstairs and found out that her son got electric shock.

Upon checking she found out the whole room was full of water due to damaged roof. She tried to ring us at 1AM however couldn't get through.

She then went back to Manchester with her brother. We tried to call her 2/3 times first thing in the morning but she didn't pick our calls up and didn't return our calls so we thought nothing of this.

At 2PM in the afternoon, I had a call from Rotherham council officer telling me that she is sat there seeking emergency accommodation.
Upon enquiring the council officer advised me of above.
He also said that our inspector is going to the property to investigate.

I then attended the property in the evening and I could see roof tiles missing in certain area and this explains where the water would have gone in and went into electrics in bedroom.

Council officer then visited the property again with me the next day and checked all of the property thoroughly and informed me that he thinks that other than the bedroom, the property is habitable however I will need to get an electric safety test done and certificate provided to them. He also said, he would need to speak to his manager to confirm the next steps.

I advised that it may be or may not be feasible to get the tests done before the roof is fixed which he also agreed with.

The next day (friday afternoon), they emailed me to say the property is inhabitable due to damaged roof and faulty electrics so they are putting the tenant in an emergency housing till Wednesday next week. By this time, I have spoken to my insurance who are sending a surveyor out on Tuesday to check up on this.

My question is, the council officer has since told me that because we are putting her in emergency housing, that I am responsible for covering the expense of that as I am in breach of contract.

The contract I have doesn't say anything about alternative accommodation and since the damage that occurred was a natural disaster and something I wasn't aware of, I am finding it strange. I told the officer that I won't be covering any as it isn't something I have budget for etc.

My question is, where do I stand with this. I have checked my insurance which is with AXA and it does have alternative cover however I presume they will only make a decision on this after the survey.

I have had a couple of local roofers come in to check and advise and they have told me it may take a couple of days to fix however I don't want to do anything before insurance surveyor has been out.

Also, the tenant has today rung me up to say that she has always been trying to get a council house so she says to me that can I send her an email to say that I will not be renting the house after repairs so that she can show it to council homeless team to get a council house. I haven't said anything to her. She is on a rolling contract. What would be best advise on this.

thanks in advance.
an accidental landlord


You're in breach of contract because you've agreed to rent property x to someone for an amount of money each month and you can't supply the property. You need to compensate the tenant for that, which is likely to be the reasonable cost of an alternative. Your lack of budget isn't an issue.

You also have a duty to provide a safe property, so the tenant (and council) seem to be being quite reasonable about things.

Your tenant's idea about an email is deluded.


thanks jpkeates.

With regards to wanting a council housing (for a long time), does she stand a ground that she will get one?

I have spoken to insurers this morning and they will update on this once they have been to assess the damage tomorrow.


Even if the tenant passes the criteria for a council home, most local authorities have very limited stock, and what there is isn't attractive. But a council will require a lot more than an email from you to consider an application, the tenant would have to be homeless and you can't end the tenancy simply because you don't want to carry on letting the property.


Quote from: jpkeates on January 08, 2024, 01:02:33 PMEven if the tenant passes the criteria for a council home, most local authorities have very limited stock, and what there is isn't attractive. But a council will require a lot more than an email from you to consider an application, the tenant would have to be homeless and you can't end the tenancy simply because you don't want to carry on letting the property.

this was the answer I was expecting.

I am not ending a tenancy and the house is getting fixed for her to move back into however if she wants to end tenancy and move on then she is most welcome to.

She told me that council homeless team has told her that they have put in her band B which means she is likely to get housing. If thats the case then I don't understand why she isn't being given one and why does she need me to help her in that.


Because if the tenant makes themselves homeless deliberately, by moving out voluntarily, they will probably cease to be eligible for social housing from the council. 


Quote from: jpkeates on January 08, 2024, 02:44:44 PMBecause if the tenant makes themselves homeless deliberately, by moving out voluntarily, they will probably cease to be eligible for social housing from the council. 

Ahh, so she was trying to play me. Crafty.
Thanks for your prompt replies @jpkeates


I suspect she's trying to play the council, rather than you. Because you don't really lose out.

Or, more than likely, has no idea what she's doing or the consequences of it - which I've found true of most dodgy sounding tenant's suggestions.


She has previously asked me to write a similar email which I refused because she said she wanted to get a council house.
I refused as I told her that if she wants to do that then she's on her own.

When the council officer came to inspect the house and I mentioned that tenant wants a council house, he told me the she's not eligible.

Although, I understand the house is now damaged and that I should have got this news from her however I kind of think that the reason she ran straight to council and not inform me for nearly half a day was to get a council accommodation somehow.and now she thinks that she's got it as she has already started moving her stuff there :). She will be shocked when she will be told to vacate that upon completion of works and move back at mine.

Irony is her husband lives in a 4 bed semi with his mother only 10 houses down on same street and the reason she's got this is she can't stand her mother in law. suss that out.
Good luck to her as I am not playing dodgy games.


A bit of an update.
Insurance has been pretty quick and all work has been completed.

Council inspected the house and she's back in. She was out of house for 10 days in total.

She has told me the she has been advised by council to not pay next months rent? How does that work?
She has also told me that when she went to seek emergency accommodation, she had to sign some paperwork and they told her that they will automatically deduct rent off her month benefit payment.

I have not any comms from council on this and I do have alternative accommodation cover so would it be best that I ask council to provide me the invoice of what they charged her for 10 days.



also if someone can advise me.

I have received a council tax bill from council for the tenanted property? Which is unusual.

Why would that be?




I'd guess the tenant told the council they were moving out when they moved somewhere else (or someone from the council did). I'd tell them that the tenant has moved back in (you can usually do all or most of that online).


thanks @jpkeates, would you have any advise on above query regarding rent? thank you


Just sounded like nonsense to me. I can't imagine the council advising that, and, even if they did, you'd take legal action to recover the missing payment.


I'd advise the tenant that the council don't have the power to waive rent payments and that any underpayment will be regarded as rent arrears.


Thanks @Riptide and @jpkeates, I have seen her bank statement for this month and she has received less payment from the benefit she received so this means they have deducted payment wrongly from her?

also, as house was inhabitable for 9 days (lets call it 10) then if Council were to send me the bill, it would be for those 10 days?
and if they were to charge her then it should be for 10 days too?


I suspect that whoever pays her benefit has deducted the element of housing benefit for the time she was living in council accommodation, so she doesn't get both a place to live and rent to pay for another place to live. I don't think they're billing her for the other place (although I could be wrong).

I'd reduce the tenant's rent as compensation, rather than worrying about paying the council. Someone got a nasty electric shock and there's been a lot of disruption. You owe the tenant something to compensate.


thanks @jpkeates, I have reduced the rent for next month anyway before hand however I wasn't sure that I was getting done by Council as well as tenant. thanks for your assistance


some further assistance needed please.

The tenant is now refusing to pay rent for next month saying that council has already deducted the monies off them.
Apparently, they have rung up council asking whether they should pay the rent to me and council has advised them that because they deducted the money off tenant, to sort the bedding, duvets and usable stuff at emergency housing, the tenant shouldn't pay any rent to me.

The tenant has also said that council has said that they can give them the money but if they do so then they will be sending me (landlord) the invoice for her 9 day stay at emergency accommodation.

What's actual truth on above please?


I think that you are responsible for compensating the tenant for the costs of their accommodation while you were in breach of contract. Exactly how you do that seems to be an issue.

It seems that I was wrong about the reason for at least some of the deduction, the costs of bedding etc have to come from somewhere.
If the cost of the bedding and accommodation and the rent are about the same amount, I'd suggest what the council are suggesting is about right - it does seem a bit of a weird way to do it, though.

Just suggesting a tenant doesn't pay rent is a terrible idea, and something the tenant would need help with. Rent doesn't work like that. The council can't unilaterally decide to offset costs like that without getting the tenant into a real mess.

On the other hand, it would sort out the mess once and for all.


they aren't same amount.
the rent is 550 and the deduction is 480 and the amount was deducted before she was even offered accommodation by council.

I suppose the only way is to ask council or tenant to get me an itemised costings to help me understand.

If they have charged tenant 480 then she still has remainder of £70?

on another note, I spoke to my insurers and mentioned about breach of contract and they have told me for a natural disaster as it was, I can't be held responsible and therefore not in breach of contract?

hopefully this mystery will unfold as I am unsure why aren't council communicating with me.



Whether you are in breach of contract or not pretty much depends on your contract, I guess.

You'll need some kind of invoice from someone, because these would be business expenses you'll want to include in your tax return.


Yes definitely, an invoice of some kind is definitely needed be it council or tenant who claims its from council as without any invoices their claims to live rent-free are baseless.

thanks @jpkeates from prompt messages.


Just want to chip in.

The council can't inform the tenant not to pay rent.

If you agree the tenant is owed some kind of compensation then make that payment seperatly to her & send her a letter breaking it all down.
I presume your insured so any late rent needs to be logged with your insurance company.

I mean her best bet to get a council house is to stop paying you & play the eviction game. I do hope your insured.


Thanks @SteveB

Both the tenant and her brother who has been helping her have been playing silly games.
They have been trying to scare me that Council has said this about this and said that about the damage bla di bla.

The rent was due on 10th and the tenant has not paid the rent. I spoke to her brother yesterday who is her guarantor and I have explained it to him. He told me that he will be speaking to council who will call to explain to me that why they aren't paying rent for this month.

I have advised him that I have nothing to do with council, my house is rented out privately to them and they have contract with me.

I have already not charged them rent for the 10 days where they were out of the house.

I have advised him that I will start legal proceedings in writing once the rent overdue time frame reaches.

Unfortunately, my insurance doesn't cover for "rent arrears" so I will have to bite the bullet if it comes to that.

It looks like it may get messy and I will have to go eviction route.

Her end game is a free council house which her/ her brother have always said they wanted, however, I can't see how they will get one when they aren't falling behind on rent.

On another note, to prove that she didn't get the rent payment from HMRC or whereever, she showed me her bank statement, she gets about £1800 / month in benefits ... I am still trying to digest that in. whilst, I pay taxes for having 2 arms, 2 legs , breathing air, and working hard.


I'd tell her (or her brother) that if she's evicted for unpaid rent, she'll have made herself "intentionally homeless", and she should ask the council what that will do for her chances of getting help from the council.

Is the tenant on Universal Credit?


thanks @jpkeates, I am not sure. When she rented the house from me in 2020 via her husband who lives about 10 houses down (she moved out only because she doesn't get along very well with her mother in law), I wasn't told that she is on any kind of universal credit or on benefits.

So I think during that time, they must have made credit claims and has since been getting the monies.

I have already advised them about the consequences previously and I think council also knows a little bit about it due to her history.

The fact that council officer told me on 2nd visit to house (when it was damaged) that the house being 3 bed only has 1 room which can't be used however due to her pressing council on the basis of being unsafe then, he had no choice but to escalate to his manager to make decision, makes it more fishy for me.

I am not giving her any advise and will follow legal route to evict her as and when although I understand it may not be easy.

I also understand, council's normally don't house tenants who are defaults on rent.


My thinking was more that I'm not sure how the council are involved at all. I'd have thought that most tenants would have switched over to Universal Credit, particularly if they've started receiving benefits more recently. And in that case, their payments come from the DWP not the council.

If you serve notice for rent arrears, they'll almost certainly claim disrepair, which doesn't sound too hard to prove. Section 21 would be a more sensible option, unless the council sends you a formal safety related improvement notice.

If this isn't something you've done before or feel comfortable about, use a specialist eviction service if you can, one cocked up possession claim will cost you more than they will if you include stress and (most likely) lost rent. I'd decided to go that route if I ever needed to. Possession claims are harder than they've ever been.



Actually, council are out today at some point to check the house under Landlord Selective Licensing scheme.

I will know more at some point today from Council Officer.

How can they claim disrepair if you don't mind elaborating please.


The aim is to offset the rent that owed by making a claim for compensation for the poor state of repair of the property.

And given that it's the tenant's word against yours (and there is some evidence here), the tenant can claim that the rent wasn't paid to compel you to get your act together, "landlords" have some previous in this and the court doesn't really want to remove someone from their home just because they owe some money (it's probably disproportionate in most cases), they often succeed. And the amount owed only has to be below two month's owed to allow the court to deny the possession claim.