Can anyone help?
My tenants ( 2 sisters) pay their rent on time every month, but I suspect they are overcrowding the property & not looking after it.
Before they signed the tenancy agreement, I was told the occupants would be the 2 sisters and 1 of their children. After signing the TA, and during the Inventry, one of the sisters told me that she has a big family.
They moved in September 2020. They had lived in their previous address for 15 years and passed references. In April 2021, I did an inspection and found the box room to be black with condensation/ mould. The window and net curtain ( the nets were brand new ) were black. I have had the rental property for over 10 years and never before experienced this problem.
Their defence was: (1) the window is too small,(2) it’s too cold,(3) when the window is open, it makes the door bang & (4) there’s a leak from the loft.
They got a builder/ handyman to examine the loft for any leaks. He found none. I asked them to fix the condensation problem at their own cost which they did.
In August 2021, I arranged for another inspection. On getting there, they got very angry, accusing me of disturbing their peace, doing inspections too often and knowing of the condensation problem and simply painting over it. In short it turned into a full blown argument between me and one of the sisters.
To keep the peace, I agreed to do future inspections every 6 months.
Next month (Feb) will make 6 months since my last inspection. I have email them for their availabilities for next month. They responded by asking me to give them MY availabilities! I did this a week ago and they have not come back to me.
I don’t know what to do if they do not respond.
I think they fear the inspection because they are hiding something or some people.
I do inspections every 6 months as a routine and issue a new agreement once I’m satisfied that they are indeed looking after MY house. It not about how tidy/untidy they are, afterall it is their home, but for me it is checking they are respecting fixtures and fittings. It also gives me chance to highlight any potential problems and check on my hard earned investment
Oh dear. Its sounds like you’ve been conned by tenants who know the game. You need to stay on top of the damp problems and arrange for the mould to be removed. If not, you won’t have a hope of evicting them as they will involve the Council, who will invalidate your notice and you won’t be able to serve another notice for a further six months.
I don’t care about how tidy or untidy they are, I just want them to air the property and not to overcrowd it with extended family members.
To get on top of the mould problem I need the tenants to allow me access to inspect the property.
Thank you so much Per.
I was trying to make things easy for them by asking for their availabilities.
Which is fine - I do too. But when they start behaving like this it’s important to do things “by the book”, i.e. give formal notice. That you can show to the judge at the eviction hearing to show you have not been allowed access to remedy.
I will bear that in mind Per. Thanks again for the advise.
It’s your house so if you feel you need to inspect every three months do so. Especially with the mould situation it’s important for your investment and if they report you to the Council (as they sound the type who would) I would have thought it would go in your favour as the inspection process is meant to be a two way thing.
We had tenants who created a bathroom full of mould in what was a new, clean dry room with opening windows, trickle vents and extractor fan.
They admitted to the builder that they hadn’t been heating and ventilating so if you involve a third party for reports/remedial work get a written report from them before you pay as they might not do it afterwards.
Thanks MS T.
That’s very helpful advice.
I have explained to them that I’m within my right to do quarterly inspections.
They said where they lived for 15 years, no inspection was done. That the landlord only sent people round to check the gas yearly.
tell them you are a better landlord than that and for their safety you need to do regular checks
They seem to be unaware of the health and safety implications of living in a damp, condensation and mould infested property!
Good luck and i hope it all goes smoothly.
I notice here in Wales the AST is changing to a personal contract type of thing and on paper looks harder to evict people
Thank you Martyn.
Even though they don’t seem to mind living in a damp/moulded property, I need to make sure that the property is fit for human habitation at all times and to preserve my investment.
Once relationships deteriorate there is no way back. Get section 21 started and dont engage in disagreements. Get a damp person to investigate and get a report. It may be a long haul getting them out.
I had a woman saying it was just her and a friend , she sub let the rooms , bred dogs, cost me five to six thousand for all the damage. Disgusting people. Regrettably the law is weak regardless of what the law says you rarely get recompense
Dont upset your tenants unnecessarily just stay professional else it will cost you
I had a similar situation with a tenant who wasn’t looking after the place and had (unbeknownst to me) lots of people coming and going. When I eventually got the property back after a struggle I had a lot of work to do and it cost a lot of money to get it back into shape.
I agree with the advice you have had here and I’m going to echo it. Don’t ask, tell them that you will be doing a property inspection on X date. Give reasonable notice, be reasonable about adjusting the date/time a little but don’t take no for an answer. In a situation where they have experienced mould in one of the rooms it is a safety issue that you need to monitor because as landlord you are responsible and so there is nothing unreasonable at all about you having routine inspections.
Take a lot of pictures. Sort out any issues in the property. Make sure you have all your paperwork, gas certs etc in order. Ideally inspect with someone there as a witness.
Create a paper trail e.g. over email with contractors to record what they are doing on the property and why they are having to do it. Keep your comms up with the tenants too. Serve a s21 notice as soon as you can having addressed all the above. Do not hesitate, the longer you keep tenants like this, the more opportunity they have to wreck your property and to get you a fine because they are operating your house as a HMO. If you have legal cover with your landlord insurance call the helpline, they really helped me.
Move on and be very fussy about who you rent to next. If you are getting issues like a room being ruined with damp for no apparent reason, if you suspect that your property is over occupied and there are people there not on the tenancy agreement you need to move on asap and find a new tenant.
Thanks to every one for their advice.
The tenants think that if they go down the intimidation route, I will stop inspecting my property.
I’m seriously thinking of S21, and then brace myself for the long halt.
Also make sure your that your 24 hr notice is in written form, ie email and not just a phone call. It’s easy to deny a phone call happened, not so that they received an email.
Better both? Emails are not always read. I once rented from an agency that wrote their emails in a format that usually falls victim to a spam filter. No text and the actual letter as an attachment with a suspicious-sounding name.