Sick Tenant - advice please

I’m surprised that you took on a tenant with a zero hours contract to pay such a high rent, even with a guarantor. However, now you just have to look practically.

Her only option to getting rehoused is if you evict her which will cost £££s and take for ever.

Your other option is to start proceeding against the guarantor, they can’t opt out and they may not yet be officially bankrupt (although you can’t get blood from a stone and it they plan to go bankrupt a CCJ isn’t going to worry them).

Finally you can get the HB paid direct so that at least you have some income “guaranteed”.

Thinking completely out of the box - you could help her to find somewhere cheaper and “lend” her the deposit - you will probably never see it again, but she will be gone and your arrears will stop rising.

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What reason does she provide you with when she cancels the Housing payment directly to you? I think that’s a sure sign of insincerity and she is playing you like a good - un.

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Hi Geoff
She doesn’t need a reason . You obviously don’t understand the system. It’s her account . She can stop whenever. I have a portfolio of property. I’m no mug believe me. If you grow as a landlord. You will eventually understand the system.

Hi Melanie
If your tenant doesn’t move out when requested and this went to court the judge may not grant a repossession as the tenant has made a reasonable attempt to make some payment towards her rent. Their is also a lot of politician’s wanting to ban evictions for another year. Try and work with her if she has been a good tenant until she gets back on her feet.
I have not been so lucky as my tenant stopped paying in March and hasn’t made any attempt to make any payment. Due to the current legislation I cannot commence legal proceedings until after the 26th March ( unless the government move the goal posts again ) then the tenant has told me she will not move out until she is evicted. what makes it worst is that a £70000 Range Rover appeared on the drive last week but cannot pay the £600 rent ???

In addition to what others say, I would add that the guarantor doesn’t have an option to say they are no longer guarantor if they don’t have money. That obligation remains. Having no money doesn’t mean your debts get cancelled. Re the tenant, you are indeed being kind. If she has been a good tenant in the past and always paid it is difficult to be too hard. Look at what the market rates are and it may be now less than £1200 in which case you may want to consider accepting the £740.

I suggest you:

  • confirm the going rate for your place
  • consider reducing the rent to a level you can both agree on
  • encourage the tenant to get support to obtain more State Benefits if possible, recognising that this takes time, possibly by approaching local charities if any still exist that specialise in this field, otherwise Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau if she can get to talk to them.
  • discuss with her a house share if she has a spare room, as previously suggested. This can be a sublet, or by re-issuing the contract. I suggest you do full referencing and ensure she is happy with the person who signs an agreement with the tenant or you.
  • discuss with her if she wants to go into local housing or not, or a Housing Association place if feasable, or elsewhere that she can afford. If she is willing to move, can she find someone to help her find a place, or you help her do so if you have the time.
  • if she wants to move into council run properties, remind her it may be a rough ride, initially in a single room in a grotty hotel in my experience often with mental patients in other rooms, until they can find somewhere more suitable. If that is acceptable, you will have to issue a Sect 21, and on the day stated in it she must apply to the council as she is homeless, and put up with them insisting she stay until a court hearing agrees, and then the council has no choice but to put her up, but then the court might not agree, as I don’t know how they work. The tenant cannot usually get into council housing unless they become homeless. By being caring, you don’t physically have to have her leave, but it must be believed that she is homeless.
  • with your business hat on, unless you vary the rent, threatening both guarantor and tenant with court action unless they both come up with a payment plan might be effective, then after say two weeks let them know you have initiated court action if no payment plan is forthcoming.
  • if you can afford it, bearing in mind it is unlikely she can be removed from the property before mid 2021, accept that she can’t afford it and periodically check-in with her to see if she can increase her payments.

I apologise for referring to the tenant as ‘her /she’ as I did not check back to see what gender the tenant is.

Lots to think about. Good luck to you both.

I forgot to add: keep a record of the rent shortfalls. If the tenant luckily comes into money you can claim it as rent arrears. It also forms part of the payment plan, but if the tenant is stressed it may be nice of you to keep it to yourself until a time when she is back on her feet, if ever, otherwise accept it as a business loss.

Hi Melanie8, I can’t offer much advice that hasn’t already been said, except to say that I think you have been a very caring Landlord, I hope your tenant appreciates you and that a good outcome is found for you and your tenant.
All the best

We can all fall and graze our knees now and then. I ended up in court and lost, it only becomes a CCJ if you dont pay within a month, so if you loose pay, if you dont it becomes a CCJ which means you either didnt give a stuff or you couldnt pay.I paid so no CCJ.
I have a tenant with CCJ but his parents are guarantors, he has tried to take the piss twice, last time I just said I will go and knock on his parents door, never been a problem since.
Anyone with CCJ is going to be a problem.


Thank you all so much for advice, some 6 weeks on I have an update. Tenant has been in hospital for 5 weeks now, i have sent her an email or two asking whether she was speaking to council to arrange accommodation. She must’ve told the nurses/ social worker, as this week I’ve had a call from her support worker, I’ve explained the whole scenario that’s taken place since start of the year, case worked amazed it had gone on so long - so feeling like I’ve done over and above what was required. They are referring her for urgent housing, probably a few hoops to go through, doctors to confirm to council what ongoing health / treatment concerns. She’ll need some rehab I believe, just don’t think a private property is the right place for all this. Lovely case worker understood my pov. When I called Shelter some months ago they begged me not to make her homeless, I felt no one could understand the 9 months of stress I had gone through as well, and that’s not taking into consideration the lost rent. I haven’t received September rent yet, but hopeful that someone has intervened to help resolve this ongoing saga. Hoping all is sorted by the end of the year, then I am taking my property to a lettings agent… I can’t go through all this again!

spotted a mistake you made … You called Shelter, I am amazed you thought they would help you as a landlord … They only want to get in donations and funding, get their own good lifestyle and look after their jobs by pushing forward tenants and de basing landlords . You will never get help from them The council cannot cope with the amount of people who need social housing , they will leave her with you as long as they can… You are on your own sadly. Try to get her out as soon as possible.


Thanks for letting us know. I always wonder what the outcome was of these dilemmas!
Sounds like you did do all you could and agree that when there’s a situation to resolve it is handy to have an agent as a middle man - if you can find a decent one that is.
Hope the stress ends for you soon.

After nearly 2 years, I just recently won the court case for repossession from this sick tenant… after Mr T expressed some interest in knowing how these things ended up thought I’d share my news. I was awarded possession by the judge in October 21, tenant appealed and lost so I’ve now been awarded costs as well. Just waiting for my bailiff appointment! Had I not been so ‘nice’ during 2020 I reckon I could’ve shaved off a year to gaining possession but we live and learn!


Well done though must have been very stressful over such a long time frame. Doesn’t sound like the Council helped at all, but no surprise there. All the best.
Ms T

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Its because they are making it impossible for landlords that I am now selling one of my properties. I served an S21 and fortunately they moved before the date specified. It has cost in excess of £2000 to put the property back to its original condition. Obviously I cant get all that back but I did get their deposit payed back to me. I then decided not to relet as the tenants know now we are at their mercy and set to get worse. I feel the governnent is making a rod for its own back for their lack of support for good landlords.