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Halloween Horror Stories: The Nightmare Tenant

It's coming up to Halloween, so what better time to share a horror story with you? We tell the story of how a seemingly perfect tenant can quickly become a nighmare tenant, in totally unforeseen circumstances.

It's coming up to Halloween, so what better time to share a horror story with you? We tell the story of how a seemingly perfect tenant can quickly become a nighmare tenant, in totally unforeseen circumstances. 

Note to reader: This story was written by Director, Michael and was inspired by a true story that one of Michael's contacts in the lettings industry had told to him - the purpose of this story is to highlight that situations like this are not uncommon, and it is best to be prepared for them. Happy reading!

Once, we had a dream tenant. Single, well-presented, long-term employment, paid on time, positive references, handyman, fastidious … ideal.

We had no problems during the tenancy until mid-June, when the tenant let us know that he may be a little behind on his rent due to being paid later this month.

We request that a contribution is made today with the difference is to be paid within 5 days. But the same thing happens the following month, except this time he is unable to make a contribution.Again, we request that the account is cleared within 5 days to avoid further action. After multiple attempts to contact the tenant we hear nothing for over 2 weeks and we find the rent is finally paid into our account at the beginning of July.

July’s rent becomes due and we call to see if there will be any delays with this month’s payment. We are palmed to voicemail. Michael attends the property to see if he can talk to the tenant face-to-face to get to the bottom of the situation.

There is no answer when he knocks.

Michael takes a look through the windows to find that there is a sofa overturned, clothes strewn around everywhere, a mountain of dishes piled in the sink plus broken blinds. He goes around the back of the property to see that the bins are full with incorrect waste, and the meters are in emergency credit.

Can we assume that the property had been abandoned? Michael knocks again to find no answer, and then enters the property to assess what the situation is, shouting to alert anyone.

After walking around downstairs he sees a drastic change from the last inspection 2 months ago, joint and cigarette nub ends litter the floor. He hears footsteps from the master bedroom which quickly come down the stairs.

Michael finds himself in front of a half-naked man with a cigarette in his mouth, dishevelled and mercurial. It was the tenant!.. but his physical appearance had changed, he was almost a shadow of his former self.

Being a sensitive situation, Michael did what he could to defuse it and find out exactly what had happened. The tenant angrily explained that his mother had tried to take over his life and that he had assaulted her for doing so. Not normal behaviour that is for sure! Delicately, Michael advised that given the rental situation and the state of property it would be best if he vacates in 2 weeks to avoid further increases in his debt.

A couple of days pass and we get a call from his mother explaining that her son has been admitted to the local psychiatric ward due to a violent mental breakdown. This was said to be a result of excessive drug use over the last couple of months, leading him to walk out on his job and subsequently attack his mother when she was trying to help.

The tenant had not surrendered the property, his arrears began to mount and the landlord is still out of pocket. Just because the tenant has been admitted to hospital, does not mean his tenancy has ended and we must follow the same procedure for formal eviction.

The tenant was in a periodic tenancy so we could serve a section 21 notice immediately. But surprise, surprise - the tenant does not hand his keys back or make any signs of vacating his property on the date required.

We then obtained a property possession order costing £355 which generally takes between 6-8 weeks for the judge to grant a possession order under a section 8/section 21 notice. The tenant had left the property by the date the tenant had been given to leave, but the financial impact on the landlord still remained.

- The end.

The facts:

It could have been a lot worse, as tenants sometimes ignore the possession order granted by the court, normally a 14 day order, and tenants are told to stay put by the council and encourage their landlord to go to eviction.

If the tenant does not vacate on the day given by the court, County Court Bailiffs are required to evict them incurring a further cost of £121. To speed up the eviction you apply to have the warrant transferred from the County Court to the High Court.

A high court enforcement officer will carry out the eviction at a cost of at least £500. It is not legally possible to evict a tenant within 7 days as they typically take around 4 to 6 weeks, but this is still the quickest way to get possession of your property.

Quite a lengthy process when you consider what you have lost in time and in rent, not to mention lost sleep! In total you could be looking at the eviction costs being in the region of £1500, and with a timeline of approximately 6 months, the lost rent (£550 average) could inflate these costs to almost £5,000! 

BUT WAIT - Belvoir have just the solution! With our Rent & Legal Expense Guarantee we cover all your legal costs that are required to regain possession of your property, your rent is paid in full and until vacant possession is obtained and not only that we do not require an excess to be paid. All this for only £216 incl. VAT a year and you can sleep in peace!   

Call us today on 01623 427 777 to enquire about our rent and legal expense guarantee

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