Forum Home Search Login Register
+  Landlord Forum
|-+  General Category
| |-+  Landlord Advice & Help
| | |-+  Eviction, new tenancies, selling and COVID

Eviction, new tenancies, selling and COVID

Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Eviction, new tenancies, selling and COVID  (Read 169 times)
Newbie
Posts: 3

I like property

« on: June 19, 2020, 03:59:46 PM »

Hello all,

My first time posting on this or any other blog, I hoped that I might be able to seek some help from anyone more experienced in these areas.

I manage a tenanted flat for my parents and we have decided as a family that it is time to sell and move on from rental.

The flat has been tenanted by one person since 2012, the local council sourced the tenant and provided tenancy documentation and a deposit agreement. Aside from that, the relationship is a direct one between the tenant and us. We've had an excellent relationship with the tenant over the last 8 years.

Earlier this year we served a section 21 (in person) on the tenant to facilitate the sale. They appeared happy to comply etc. We marketed the property, the tenant facilitated photos and we arranged an open-house viewing. We had to cancel the viewing however as we were unable to get hold of the tenant.

Then along came Covid-19.

With the backdrop of the pandemic we decided it was best to rethink the sale, whilst also offering a new tenancy agreement to the tenant if they wanted it. This made sense on 2 counts:

1) It provided an option of security to the tenant in these uncertain times
2) The agreement had been rolling on a periodic tenancy for 7 years at the same rent and we thought it reasonable to bring the rent up to current LHA rates at the same time within a new agreement.

The tenant confirmed they were happy with this proposition and we asked the council to prepare a new tenancy agreement.
A couple of weeks later we were alerted to a confrontation between the tenant and a neighbouring flat, likely related to repeated noise complaints. An assault occurred (to our tenant) and the police were called. I cannot vouch for who did what and who is to blame - but obviously a very stressful time for our tenant.

The tenant feels they cannot live there any more as they feel unsafe. They have indicated they wish to end the tenancy, but they wouldn't respond to a request for a leaving date. The complication for them as I see it that the council will not rehouse them if they voluntarily end the tenancy. The tenant, I sense, would prefer it now if we evicted her so that she is in a better position to find a new place. The issue I see there is we would then have the cost of going to court for an eviction order - and I don't see why we should have to do that.

So...... we want what is best for the tenant and support them as much as we can but we also have to think about our own interests. I'd appreciate your views on the following:

1) If we want the tenant to sign a new tenancy agreement - are they obligated to do so or are they entitled to just carry on with the current periodic tenancy at the 7 year old rent rate?

2) What are our rights if we chose to go back down the sec 21 route? From what the tenant has told us previously, the council won't entertain re-housing until a baliff turns up to the front door with a court order to remove them. To me, this is wrong - both for the tenant in terms of uncertainty and stress - and for the landlord in terms of cost. Surely a council can't advocate the approach of 'we do nothing until the landlord has gone to the cost and effort of enforcing the sec 21 through a court order' - i.e. if you leave before the baliffs arrive then you don't go back on the housing list.

Any thoughts you have would be great - thanks in advance.
Hero Member
Posts: 865

I like property

« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 04:50:11 PM »

You say you all decided to rethink the sale in the light of Covid.Did you envisage just putting things on hold for the duration of the problem,or were you going to carry on letting it longterm? If the latter,then I think it is up to the tenant to be realistic about what can be achieved.They can't just dump this problem on you,and then go silent.If the assault resulted in criminal charges,then the council may be more sympathetic regarding rehousing them.It is up to them to approach the council. If,as is often the case,it was just a bit of pushing and swearing,the tenant may come to realise that they may as well stay put for now.Spats between neighbours are commonplace. Given the  expected fall in house prices,this is not a good time for you to sell either.

I don't know if you would be able to add 7 years of rent increase in one move by the way. You should have made small increases every couple of years or so.
Councils can,and do,wait until the bailiffs arrive before rehousing tenants. Good Luck!
 
Newbie
Posts: 3

I like property

« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 05:21:23 PM »

Thanks HEAVYKARMA, yes, we had envisaged just putting it off sale until the market is more certain - whenever that might be. So if they chose to stay put where would I stand with wanting to draw up a new agreement (regardless of any rent increase)? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Hero Member
Posts: 865

I like property

« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 07:49:02 PM »

I have always gone onto periodic tenancies if tenants stay on.It is generally considered the sensible thing for landlord and tenant.Is there some reason why you feel you need to do this? You mention giving the tenant some security,but you want rid of them eventually and this will tie you down.I would just carry on as you are,and watch the trends locally.You can ask the tenant/council to sign a new agreement,but it sounds as if you did that anyway.Did they refuse?
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 3460

I like lots of things

« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2020, 12:48:21 PM »

Thanks HEAVYKARMA, yes, we had envisaged just putting it off sale until the market is more certain - whenever that might be. So if they chose to stay put where would I stand with wanting to draw up a new agreement (regardless of any rent increase)? Thanks for taking the time to reply.

You cannot oblige a current Tenant to sign a new agreement. If they're happy with the current - regardless of rent increase, or not - but you want a new one then they don't to sign it.

Isn't your bigger problem, though, that the actual Tenant wants to leave now?

For them a new tenancy would introduce a new fixed term... and this seems like something they do not desire right now?

I personally would leave it on SPT... not serve any Section 21 etc. and sit back and wait... I'd try to introduce a reasonable rent increase, but via agreement... if the Tenant takes it, great, if not... no great shakes as it's not a major money-maker for you and you want to get rid of it anyway.
Newbie
Posts: 3

I like property

« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 07:08:45 AM »

Thanks again heavykarma and Hippogriff, That's helped clarify things for me further. Apols for the late response also.

In answer to your questions:

I'm fine with the periodic tenancy. They haven't refused the new one as such, but it's obvious they want out of the property, but feel perhaps backed into a corner with the council and their onward housing eligibility. My thinking was that if we were going to stick with rental in the medium to short term and there is a degree of uncertainty with covid then why not bring the rent up in line with the current LHA rate, which would be approx 20% above the current rental income - the council said we can only effect this with a new tenancy agreement. On balance, we would rather just keep things uncomplicated and let them run their natural course. The uncertainty has been introduced by tenant saying they wish to leave, but they are are hesitant to name a date because I guess they know that leaving voluntarily puts then in worse position.

I understand that the council is asking the tenant to prepare a report on the current issues they are faced with so that they can assess their needs and I guess see if they can be re-housed, so as you say perhaps best to sit and wait. A rent increase is not a deciding factor for us at all - but rental income ceasing would be an issue longer term unless the market supported a sale. The market issue is complicated a little more by the fact that the property sits over commercial so potentially trickier in terms of mortgage options.

Thanks again for all your help
Pages: [1]
Print