OpenRent Community

Best way to remove dangerous Tenant?

Dear helpful Community, I’m a retired person, a novice (but careful) Landlord. I own just one property (my own house).
I rented out my house 3 months ago, I found a Tenant through Open Rent. The rental income from the Tenant was supposed to pay my own rent (I wanted a flat, no steep stairs). Unfortunately the Open Rent Tenant is abusing and vandalising my home in multiple ways, he seems to be living somewhere else and using my house for drugs (there’s proof). The Tenant is also allowing his son to use my house (without my permission), and his son is being investigated for possession of drugs… etc etc. Horrible situation for me.
The Tenant is refusing to pay rent (he’s put this in writing). He refuses to communicate with me. He’s also shown himself to be a violent person. The neighbours are frightened of him and last week they had to call 999 when he attacked my back door and broke the lock. The Police have asked people to keep an eye out and call 999 so they can “get a car out” ASAP…
I am currently homeless because I am not receiving this Tenant’s rental income and therefore I can’t pay my own rent.
How can I remove him swiftly and legally? There are still 3 months of the fixed term to go. The longer he stays in the house, the more damage he will do, and I don’t want my nice home wrecked. The Tenant is refusing to co-operate and is trying to enlist the assistance of a young Housing Officer to fight back against my (and my neighbours’) attempts to report his antisocial behaviour. It’s a frightening situation.
Have you had a similar experience? How did you solve it? Please give suggestions for strategies, I am very grateful.

I would contact the council and the police and ask for their help in advising you.
From my understanding I think you can now (after 29th August) within a fixed term tenancy issue a Section 8 Ground 14 (illegal behaviour) and apply for court proceedings straight after issuing notice.
You have other grounds too. You could also phone specialist eviction companies such as Landlord Action. They too will advise over the phone. Or ask a solicitor as it’s urgent.
What a terrible situation.

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Mr T, thank you for responding. Thank you for your sympathy.
Yes I believe there are multiple grounds for evicting this Tenant, however it has been suggested that even when a Section 8 is used, he is currently entitled to this new long 6-month notice period, which would be very damaging, both to (homeless) me and my little house. So I am needing to find out if there is anything faster which could be put in place??

The Tenant is being investigated by Police for dangerous driving in July 2020 (hitting a pedestrian and a wall, and possibly also being involved in a fight/affray). He seems to be a lawless individual who presented himself online, and in person, as a clean professional person (which it turns out he is not). He signed the Contract just to get hold of my house, but he is not prepared to abide by any of the Contract at all, and he makes his own rules and gives orders.

I am also having a lot of trouble because of what he is telling the Housing Officer. (The Tenant refuses to speak to me, won’t discuss, won’t negotiate.) I am being told that the attempts to ‘monitor’ the house [for its safety] are a breach of his rights to quiet enjoyment, and constitute intimidation!! The fact is that it’s the Police who have asked neighbours to keep a sharp look-out, but [via the Council] the Tenant is accusing me, as Landlord, of the harassment, which I find terrifying.

What can I do to protect myself? What can I do to protect my house from further abuse from this man and his family?

Hi Rosie

Anti social behaviour currently has a 4 weeks notice period. If he made false statements it could be as short as 2 weeks. As Mr T suggests I would recommend getting eviction specialists involved.

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Keep as good a record as you can of events ,enlist the neighbours help >Would one of them rig up a camera if you pay for it.? Monitoring your own property is not harrasment. Eviction specialist definitely

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Hi Richard19, a 4 week notice period would definitely help. However I am being told that “antisocial behaviour” takes a lot of proving… is this correct?

A difficulty is that this Tenant is secretive, and he defends himself by citing “data protection” and by trying to frighten me into doing nothing. He’s threatened me if I tell his employer, so I can’t go there. In fact my [terraced] house was thought to be abandoned, but it seems the man is leaving the back door open (the back door’s in the yard), and climbing over the back wall and using the house in the dark, to prepare + smoke drugs with his son (and/or others). He has barricaded the back gate (which is a fire exit) so that I can’t get in from the lane behind. The Police tell me he’s now “put a screw” into the back door lock (whatever that means) so I can never open it for access.

This behaviour is all out of my experience! I’m very glad to hear that monitoring a house is not harassment. I would have thought it’s essential, given what’s happening?

Do you know how long the Courts are taking to handle cases for possession, once they are able to get started?

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Colin3, thank you, yes I have begun to keep a full record. The lady next door says she is ‘brave’ and she will help.

I think that unless you’ve had years of renting out properties, it’s tough to know exactly what you can and can’t do, as Landlord. The instinct (at least, MY instinct as a 63-year old lady) is to back off very quickly when a male Tenant goes to the authorities/Council and reports you. This man even thinks it’s wrong that I should ask him for his unpaid rent! Fear stops you from acting as you need. So anything you can tell me about what I should (and can) lawfully do, is really helpful.

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Bulys only can be treated by doing the same to them . Story…many years ago as a kid of 14 or so I was hit and bullied by a lad in our street.month after month ,one day he hit me and I belted him back with a great wallop. I was never bothered again. I understand you cant do that. You need to be proactive see local council, get a body worn camera,. enlist neighbours quietly, keep a record . Always report any drug use to police. In a court you have that letter saying he will not pay rent. Do not lose it ! Do not give it to to the council !

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When this is over I would recommend to you sell the property and buy yourself a decent apartment somewhere. The rental market is no place for an “accidental landlord” as you have sadly discovered.

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Hi Rosie. I’ve never had to evict so not an expert on what evidence is needed. The anti social rules are there to protect neighbours so if several neighbours are making frequent complaints to council/police I would have thought that would be sufficient but you really need to speak to eviction specialists to see if you already have sufficient to issue a section 8. I know you could do without the cost but it should save you a lot of money and time in long run as by all accounts evicting is a slow and painful process and if you make a minor mistake in paperwork you could be back at square one

There will be a large backlog of court cases, anti social cases are being prioritised but could still be a long wait. Specialists would be able to give you a more accurate picture.

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You need to get through to the Anti-Social Behaviour Team at your Council and the Police. Obviously report everything to both.
Ask both the Police and Council about a Closure Order. Obviously the Police are open now!

Anti-Social Behaviour is prioritised by the Courts.

According to Gov.uk notice can be served immediately for a Ground 14 offence of illegal behaviour and a Court application made straight away after serving the notice.
There is no notice period according to the link below. And quite rightly. I will try and post link.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/technical-guidance-on-eviction-notices

I don’t have the nightmare problems you are experiencing but do have bullying behaviour by tenants and it is fear inducing however much you try and fight your corner as the law is on their side regardless. We have just sold up as it’s not worth the ill-health.
Ms. T.

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Hi Colin, you’re a kind individual. Thank you for your time. And I’m ever so sorry you were bullied.

Proactive - yes, I somehow need to get the upper hand, but I only have the Law to assist me and the Law (at the moment) is incredibly slow.

I’ve approached 3 eviction agencies to ask their fees, and to ask what they can do. People seem to believe that an “agency” (as opposed to an individual) is a super-hero and will do marvellous things for you, however I can confirm that all they are able to do is fill in forms, post them 1st class, and charge you a fee of hundreds of £££s per form . One lawyer at one agency is giving me her advice for free, bless her, but she seems as powerless as I am to DO anything here.

Thing is, Colin, the checking process seems so inadequate. A person (like this Tenant) can show up ‘clean’, and with a full-time adequately paid job and funds, but his personal life and behaviour is invisible to a Landlord. Even the Police wouldn’t be able to tell us if a person is being investigated for crime - you don’t find out till you’ve handed over your key. My appalling tenant could apply to rent your property today via Open Rent, and you wouldn’t know he was going to refuse to pay rent and would bash up your home… why would you think this?

The antisocial laws are there to protect neighbours, you rightly say… and the Council is there to protect Tenants against bad Landlords - but who protects good Landlords like you and me?

As it is, I am condemned to live in an ancient motorhome in a field for maybe 12 months or more while I wait for the Courts to help; and meanwhile the Tenant can just carry on as he is doing, ouch. Doesn’t seem right to me…?

HI David, many thanks for your thoughts.
I rented out a different home about 10 years ago and had a very good experience, it worked well. I’m careful to find out, and follow, the Rules - but big problems seem to arise when the Tenant ignores the rules and he apparently can’t be stopped.

I can’t even sell my home till this man is gone, no Estate Agent will touch it (I’ve tried). He doesn’t need the house, he appears to be living & working elsewhere, but he won’t give it up and is now targeting me in any way he can find. I guess there are bad people in every community, but as a nice Landlord I don’t seem to be being given enough power to fight back…

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it isnt right Shelter and local councils are to blame for this situation for various resons which I have posted before… the eviction specialists will get the paperwork right and it will be slow… if you get a CCJ on him it will show up for years and spoil his future chances… As a matter of course i dont take males under 30 as a group I have not found them reliable enough

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Dear Ms T (and Mr T?) … are you a couple?

I’m really upset to hear that you felt a need to sell up. That’s awful. And the more I investigate, the more stories I hear about bullying from tenants - it’s really shocking. Forgive my ignorance, but why are people who refuse to pay rent given any rights at all?
My Tenant couldn’t go and smash up a high-street shop, could he (he’d be arrested), but because he’s signed An Agreement To Rent, apparently he can carry on injuring my home (and me) and there’s no penalty. And he can just disappear at any point, without paying the bills. Or the rent.
The deposit he gave (£400) won’t begin to cover the harm.
I don’t appreciate being hurt, and neither do you. What can we do to change this?

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only a millionaire Landlord can do anything. us smaller landlords have no power as the goverment and local councils want to screw us down. Thats why I am very careful who I choose as a tenant and some “groups” I just wont entertain , no matter what the law says

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Colin3
Thanks for your advice, it’s useful to everybody.

This man is 40, and his public image is clean. He behaves impeccably at work. It’s like there are 2 different people, and he’s a monster in private.

OK it will be slow, but maybe the eviction (if it has to happen) is a good thing because it WILL spoil his future chances. In the meantime I am hoping that enough pressure can be put on him (by the community etc) that he will quit of his own accord because it gets too ‘hot’.

I will have a look at your past posts, thanks so much for your comments, they are really helping.

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Hi Richard, thanks again, and yes I agree that an eviction agency needs to act for me - I think they are insured against any mistakes they make?
It says online that you can do a DIY job and post the Section 8 through the door yourself, but I can’t go near the house for my own safety and it’s necessary to engage professional help. Seems so wrong, though, that a Landlord has to pay so much money to get a criminally-behaving person to leave their home… I’m being hurt from every angle here…

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Hi Rosie

Just curious what your lawyer has done or advised?

Link below for information on Closure Orders. Could ban your tenant immediately for three months and time frame could then be extended.

Police or Local Authority can do this. I assume premises means private rental accommodation as it refers to a tenant.

My son is the landlord I am Mum (I can’t change profile name) who does the managing and gets all the abuse and hassle from the tenants.

It’s wrong as you say, our property is licensed (for a fee to the tune of £700) and still can’t get help from the council but the tenants have just about everyone running around after them!

The housing officer told me to get a solicitor. It’s simply income to them. Probably aimed at the bad landlord but no insight that they should be retaining good landlords with well maintained properties or they are only dealing with part of the problem. But what do we landlords know?!

The government website says you can serve notice by first class post. Get a certificate of posting. I served two copies of the notice on separate days to cover myself.

According to the link I posted earlier you could then immediately get a court notice issued but obviously you would have to check all this.

Specialist Eviction Agencies told me that from instruction the Notice would be delivered in two weeks. I didn’t want to wait two weeks so i did it myself but I did find one agency who said they would issue it the same day.

If you have a solicitor you could write the notices yourself and have your solicitor check them. That would be quicker. But as someone said they have to be correct.

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