My tenant has been arrested - what now?

Took on a tenant one month ago on a 6 month AST. She completely deceived me and the vetting process and it turns out she is on a suspended sentence and probation for beating a girl so badly she broke her eye sockets and jaw!!! She is also a drug user and I believe she is soliciting from the property as well with ‘clients’ coming and going in the early hours of the morning, each one staying around 20 - 30 min…
A week ago the police called to arrest her, she was not home. They called again and I am liasing with them to gain entry and get rid of her.
Seeingf as shes on a suspended 19 month sentence I am expecting her to go straight to jail without passing go.
So, my question is obviously what happens regarding her tenancy and the rubbish her flat is filled with???

The tenancy continues. You would need her to surrender the tenancy, which I would think she is unlikely to do. Failing that, you would probably have to serve notice and follow up with a court case and bailiffs, even though she’s not there.

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Problem is that she is cannot contact me and I cannot contact her!
Section 8 I am thinking.
Cheapest way to do that anyone?

I’m not a landlord so no experience here, but I would imagine that the period before being able to give notice would still be 4 months?

Out of curiosity, what and how was deceived on the referencing?

I would take legal advice. There is a backlog and it will take you about a year and the forms are more onerous than ever. You don’t want it to take longer than necessary.
You may be able to get it back in four months if there is no response.
Why can’t you serve a section 21 ?
Read your contract. It will advise you on how to serve the notice

Lied about un spent criminal record

I think the notice period for false statements is now 2-4 weeks, but you would need legal advice on whether this qualifies.

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Judging by my experience i just wish i’d changed the locks - any potential fine imposed would have been cheaper than the lost rent and legal costs i’ve incurred trying to do it the right way. There is a case for abandonment if she has done a runner - but you will still need a possession order My tenants have left - do I need a possession order to evict?.
Obviously courts have serious backlogs still - and this won’t be high profile case even if she could get access to legal aid.

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You make a good point about the fine being less than the lost rent Angela, although it would be a problem in a Selective Licensing area as you would also lose your fit and proper person status.

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Well I would 1st take legal; advice and question whether the contract is nul & void due to mis-information, whether you can change the locks to prevent others gaining access who she may have given a key to (whilst she is inside, if that happens) but make sure your legal council provides this in writing to you.

I don’t understand why landlords do not carry out credit referencing?
From the facts, it seems to me that you did not otherwise it would have revealed the criminal convictions.

Important thing is you must get Rent Guarantee and legal expenses insurance which cost no more than maximum £200 per year in normal times except during Covid pandemic.

The requirement for which is total annual income of all tenants should be 3 or 3.5 times annual rent.

It is a stark warning to all other landlords who try to save few pounds and not do proper checks in order to rent out the property ASAP.

I have come across many prospective tenants who wanted to pay 12 months upfront rent as they could not pass credit references or a couple with 1 child wanted to rent 4 bedroom house!

Stay away from unscrupulous estate agent who will try to persuade you
to rent out to tenant who is willing to give 6 months advance rental as they cannot pass credit checks. Think what will happen after 6 months when tenant stops paying rent!

So look behind the motive of renting, affordability, job security and do due diligence to weed out tenants who can create problem in future as housing act is in favour of tenants.

Get legal advise to follow proper process and get rid of tenant ASAP as rental loss will be far far greater than paying the lawyer fees.

Hi Mark, can I ask what area you’re in as I have just got rid of a tenant last month who sounds remarkably similar!

Hi Kevin,
I am in Plymouth - how about you?

Hi Mark,

Mine’s in Hampshire but uncannily similar scenario

All the best


I just wanted to say that there are tenants who can do anything to get into the property once they have signed tenancy contract.

Friend of mine who is a new landlord and used an agent recommended by a friend. That letting agent have a done a very bad job, I could tell so much in deceiving and false information about referencing etc and they broke into property by breaking double glazing door. Then threatening landlord for harassment etc even nothing wrong complaining about repairs etc just within 1month

Called police and said told civil matter. Not paid rent as it just 2nd month.

From my point of view of the law is not changed to keep the National or even local council register for tenants to register if they are looking for rent a place and their reference many landlords will suffer badly emotionally and financially.
Also this would help tenants to make sure they will get place to live with good landlords and letting agents.

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I’d concur it shows the importance of checks - in the current climate it can be a very costly mistake if you rely on this for income. My section 8 court case is starting and will report back how it goes - looking at a minimum of 8-10 weeks before i get to court.

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I am sure that the new legislation states that lying is a reason to give notice as is maximum 4 months loss of rent. Unlawful activity. Who did your referencing? If professionals there must be some come back on that. I assume you checked work history etc.

Also anti social behaviour which I assume criminal activity and prostitution is.

Totally agree with you I always get proper referencing and rent guarantee ins. As you say whats £200 per year for peace of mind. Property is a very valuable asset and should be fully protected.

The issue with criminal records is complicated.
You cannot simply ask anyone for a DBS check - only employers are allowed to do this. If you/letting agent insist you will find yourself in trouble.
You can request a basic disclosure via ‘Disclosure Scotland’ -
But this only gives info on unspent convictions…
All an individual has to do is change their name and thats that…