Writing off arrears

For personal reasons, we desperately need our AST tenant to leave by February. The tenant owes just under a year in rent arrears and we issued a Section 8 last year - we are awaiting a court date but realistically he won’t be leaving before then.

We are less concerned with the money owed - we just need the tenant out. So we wanted to ask whether it was possible to come to some kind of formal written agreement with the tenant to write off the arrears they owe, but only if they left by a certain date.

Assuming they would accept the offer:

  1. Would this possible/common to do?
  2. How would we go about doing this? Who would we need to speak to? (i.e. a solicitor?)
  3. Could this negatively impact the eviction process if the tenant was to reject the offer?

The tenant is AST. They have been claiming unemployment benefits for just over a year.

If its been 12 months since you served notice and you are still awaiting a court date are you sure that you have followed all the requirements? Reactivation notice if needed? That does seem excessive even by the current standards. You should probably check through everything with a specialist housing solicitor to make sure nothing is forgotten and to perhaps chivvy things along.

You can make a without prejudice offer to a tenant to surrender the tenancy on mutually acceptable terms. Again, I would do this through a solicitor to avoid a later claim of harassment. Your problem will be that the tenant may realistically have nowhere else to go. No other sensible landlord is going to accept them and in practice they can just carry on living at your property rent free for a bit longer yet. If they are not working and have not money, then they will probably know that you have no chance of getting any money from them anyway.

If you’re a member of the NRLA then give their advice team a call in the first instance. If you’re not, then join.

Thank you so much for your insight David - I fear you are right, in that they may well not accept. We will speak to a solicitor in the first instance.

Of they are unemployed they must be claiming Housing Costs which they should be passing onto you.
There’s a short form you can fill in online to have it paid directly to yourself.
I know this doesn’t get your property back but it might get you (some of ) your rent.