Ask Lorraine – Letting Agent is asking for lots of information

ASK Lorraine

I was talking this weekend to a couple, I will call them Sandra & Jim. Apparently this couple were looking to move to Tamworth and had decided to try and rent through another private landlord, “Agents ask too many questions and charge too much in fees”.

So here is a little story………Parts of it are true other parts embelished to show that there are laws to renting out property!

Sandra went on to inform me that when they moved into their current property 3 months ago, they paid no fees to their kindly landlord and only 1 months rent as a deposit. The discounted council tax was paid in cash to the landlord. He ensured it was paid to the council, after all it was one less thing to have to think about, right!

What a shame that this kindly person is actually a rogue Landlord.

The landlord asked no questions and made no fuss! What he should have done was ask the right questions, carried out the Right to Rent checks as specified in the Immigration Act 2016.

So this rogue landlord had allowed the couple to rent a property. In actual fact if he had undertaken the correct checks, he would have found out the couple were not British citizens, nor citizens of a country in the EU or EEA, nor citizens of a country with no time limits on permission to live in the UK. Sandra and Jim should not have been allowed to rent a property.

The landlord did not provide his new tenants with the How to Rent booklet, annual gas safety inspection certificate, an energy performance certificate and a smoke alarm.

Sandra had found the new house very cold as the boiler was “waiting for a new part”. So the kindly landlord had given them an old coal fire and a big bag of coal as a temporary measure.

At least they would be warm in the living room with the coal fire blazing away and as the coal was cheap enough, they could easily leave the fire burning all night. It had been so nice of the landlord to offer this coal fire and weren’t they lucky they had a chimney place suitable for the coal fire.

They did not know that the landlord should have provided a carbon monoxide alarm.  (The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015). 

The Landlord asked for cash each week for the couple’s rent he never offered receipts or even a rent book. Sandra and Jim were unaware of their rights. The Landlord was either unaware or unwilling to comply with the 1988 Housing Act that if rent is paid weekly a rent book must be provided.

Sandra had set up a little nail business in the spare bedroom and was doing very well, she was hoping the business would be equally successsful in Tamworth.

The landlord was not happy when the elderly lady next door started complaining about lots of visitors coming at all hours of the day and night. The garden gate was often left to bang shut and this caused a nuisance to the elderly neighbour.

The landlord decided that he was going to evict using a Section 21 – but the tenancy must run at least 4 months before a notice could be served. What he has not realised, at the expiry of the notice, he will be expected to take them to Court, where his case would be thrown out because he did not serve the How to Rent booklet, or the Energy Performance Certificate, or the Gas Safety Certificate, nor did he protect the deposit. Had Jim and Sandra known more about the law and been in the property legally, they would have realized they could have visited the Citizens Advice Bureau and taken the landlord to Court for three times the deposit amount.

Legislation has a purpose; it seeks to provide a good standard of accommodation for all, to ensure that rent is paid for properties fit for purpose. Sandra and Jim may have had a low expectation of rental properties and did not know their rights however as Asylum Seekers, they needed to seek the assistance of the Home Office, not a landlord who risks a hefty fine or even a prison sentence. The landlord would also have HMRC chasing him for not declaring his rental income.

Hall & Thompson Tamworth  –  Estate/Property Lettings Agents.

From tenant find only, right through to a fully managed service, Hall & Thompson offer a personal property experience. We can be involved in letting a property and can take away the trials and tribulations that landlords often encounter when dealing with this themselves.

Residential lettings can provide attractive returns on investment and we can advise.

Our wide range of lettings services can help you to achieve your letting property investment goals, at a fraction of the cost of most high street letting agencies.

Call or message me today to have a natter. lorraine@hallandthompson.co.uk

or call 01827 425195

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Ask Lorraine – Abandoned items by my Tamworth tenant!

Ask Lorraine  – My tenant has vacated the property and left a single bed, a washing machine, a bicycle and a wardrobe full of mens clothes. I have tried to contact her but her phone number appears to have been disconnected!

Is the law on my side, can I dispose of everything at the local tip?

Ben

Lorraines Answer  – There are many scenarios :-

  • A tenant has left furniture or personal items.
  • A vehicle has been abandoned on your property.
  • Students have moved out of your property and items have been left behind and you aren’t sure who they belong to.

Should items be left on your land or in your property you cannot simply remove them unless you have given the owner reasonable notice of your intention to remove and dispose of the goods.  It may seem ridiculous, however, this also includes trespassers leaving items.

Make a list/inventory with lots of photographs of any items which have been left. Make contact with the person/s concerned providing the information below.  If you are unable to contact them, you should make a couple of signs with the following information:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A list of the items
  • Any fees  you intend to charge for storage upon collection of the goods
  • A reasonable timescale for collection, 14 days is the norm.
  • Where the items will be sold if this is your intention, and any storage cost incurred that will need to be repaid

Post the sign on the inside of a ground floor front window so that it can be seen and post the other sign on the rear access door (if appropriate)  and take photograph evidence of the signs in situ so that if you are asked you can provide evidence you have carried out the steps outlined.

Once the 14 days in either case has passed, you can now sell or dispose of the items.

Retain details – how you have disposed of the items.

Until next time.

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My Tamworth letting agent is unwilling to release deposit to me?

Ask Lorraine

confused
confused

I have two properties, one in Tamworth and the other in Hinckley.  The local one has always been managed by a letting agent and the Hinckley property, I manage myself due to a friend renting the flat.

I decided some time ago to take over the management myself and duly gave 3 months notice to the letting company that I wished to do so. At that time I also informed them that I would like to hold the deposit and put it into my own scheme.

This seemed fine at the time and they confirmed in email, their agreement to this, getting my tenant’s agreement that the deposit could be held in my scheme.

I received the last month’s rent from the letting agent yesterday, but no deposit monies. I have telephoned them to ask where it is and they say they will not release the money to me until I have registered the deposit with my own scheme and given them proof that I have done this.

Can anybody advise me whether this is right?

Lorraine’s Answer

The letting agent is responsible to the tenant for the deposit and as you are breaking all ties with the agent, I can understand they are unwilling to release the deposit directly to you without a guarantee that it will be protected.

Register the deposit with your scheme and send the agent  the details, they will then transfer the deposit into your account.

Until next week.

 

 

 

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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth Landlord has died, what happens now?

Ask Lorraine – Please can you help?  We have been told that our landlord has suddenly died, what does this mean for me and my family? Are we going to be thrown out of our home of nearly 6 years.

Thank you  Les & family

Lorraine’s Answer –  Hi, Les

For you the tenant, nothing changes in the short term,  you cannot be evicted as long as you keep paying the rent. So I would say “don’t panic” and rush along to the Citizens Advice Bureau, the law is already on your side.

rest in peace
rest in peace

The tenancy becomes part of the landlords estate with the  tenancy continuing. Once Probate has been granted then the tenancy passes to the landlords beneficiary/beneficiaries who will become the new landlords.

Granting Probate can take a considerable time, often months in fact, so even if the new landlord is not willing to renew the tenancy, the tenant will have plenty of time to look at their options.

The new landlord will look at his/her personal circumstances as to what happens once Probate has been granted. Should they continue to rent the property to the existing tenant nothing will change except that the new landlord must inform the tenant in writing of the change to the landlords details.

When the tenancy is up for renewal, the next agreement will be with the new landlord. Should the tenancy already be a periodic tenancy, the new landlord may leave as is – this is when neither party signs another agreement.

If the tenant wants to leave, they must give one months written notice, whereas the landlord must give at least two months written notice.

If there is more than one beneficiary, a property may need to be sold so that the proceeds can be divided between them. The tenant is still entitled to stay in the property until the end of the tenancy. As it can take  some time for Probate to be granted and then for the property to be put on the market and sold, the tenant has time to find a new home for when the tenancy ends.

It may be that the new owner would wish to purchase the property with a tenant in situ. A win win situation on both sides – the tenant keeps his home and the new owner has rental money coming in straight away.

Every case is different and flexibility is the key.

Until next time.

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My Tamworth tenant is claiming 3 times the deposit after he has moved out!

Ask Lorraine

My old tenant is trying to claim back 3 x his original deposit due to him stating that I was 22 days late in protecting it.

My annual family holiday happended to fall the following day  after the tenancy started and I had no time in which to lodge the deposit.

The tenancy ended 9 months ago, so how can he bring this claim against me now?

Any advice will be gratefully received.

Thanks Ron

Lorraine’s Answer 

Changes made by the Localism Act in 2012 did clarify that ex-tenants can make a claim for a deposit penalty. Unfortunately, they have 6 years to make a claim.

The penalty is between  1 and 3 times deposit, however this is at the discretion of the court. (The court must give at least 1 x deposit).

I cannot say how the judge will rule as there are no mitigating circumstances for not lodging a deposit within the 30 day timescale, so the 3 x deposit may be awarded to the tenant.

With over 200 pieces of legislation on renting property, if not already, you should join an organisation for example “The National Landlords Association” they offer advice and assistance to landlords. Or you may want to think about letting an agency manage the property!

Until next week.

⁉️ Why don’t you download your FREE Landlord eGuide ‘How To Avoid Tenants From Hell’ now by clicking the link below and then ‘Get Started’ & ‘Send it Now’

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Ask Lorraine – I need to trace a Tamworth Guarantor

Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth tenants moved out after leaving rent arrears of nearly three thousand pounds and I have decided to persue the tenant’s guarantor for the money.

Up to the point of the tenants doing a moonlight flit I had been in contact with the guarantor through Facebook. I had made him aware of the arrears situation and his obligations as guarantor.

Tracing a guarantor
Tracing a guarantor

The moment I found out that my tenants had vanished, I also found out that the guarantor had not only deleted his Facebook account but his mobile number had changed as well.

Would you credit it? The address given by him at the start of the tenancy is incorrect, they’ve never even heard of him there!

I would like to trace this gentleman, I think possibly that he is still living and working in the Tamworth area.

Can you  offer any advice?

Cheers Naz

Lorraine’s Answer – 

Hi, You do not say what steps you had taken with the tenants to recover the unpaid rent or if you had served a section 8 or section 21 on them.  Did you conduct checks on the tenants or the guarantor ? from you email,  it appears that you did not, on the guarantor.

Try Nationwide Tracing Services Limited to find your guarantor or missing tenants, their fee is £35 which is paid only when they have traced the named person/s.

Should you wish to continue to self manage the tenancy,  I would recommend joining an association – The National Landlords Association, they offer great advice.

I hope you have success in your search.

Until next week.

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Has my Tamworth lodger become my accidential tenant?

My best friend came to visit me nearly three years ago, she stayed on and rented one of my rooms.  With low rent and fully inclusive of all bills, she had a great deal.

After 6 months I went to live with my partner so rented out another room in my house. Shortly after I moved out  my best friends son came to stay and has been there ever since.

When I was  advised recently I had created a HMO, I told my friend that her son had to leave the property, she advised that she would be vacating when he did. I then gave them a polite written notice that I wanted them both the leave.

When the second tenant left  6 weeks ago I locked her room to prevent it being used.

My question is – As nothing was ever put down on paper, Is my friend to be treated as a tenant?

What happens if she decides not to move out voluntarily? And how do I handle her son?

Many thanks

 

game over
game over

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As they can only be a lodger while you live in the property it looks like you have created a tenancy.

Keep things as pleasant as possible and hope that things do not break down between all parties.  If your friend and her son do decide not to move out, I would recommend that you seek professional advice as soon as possible.

I hope all goes well.

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As Lorraine – My Tamworth tenants are getting married, will this change the tenancy?

Make out the tenancy agreement with the current names. Once the couple are married make a note of the change and when writing, use the new name. 

A new tenancy agreement will not be required after the name change as it is still the same person.

Ask Lorraine – I am a Tamworth landlord with an EPC dilema!

You may find this article helpful   https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-performance-certificates-for-the-construction-sale-and-let-of-dwellings

Ask Lorraine ; What Documents do I need for my Tamworth property before renting it out?

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Ask Lorraine – My Tamworth tenant has two dogs in the property, help!

Ask Lorraine – We have always stipulated that none of our tenants are allowed to keep pets in our properties. We are  not being unreasonable, my husband  has a pet allergy and suffers very badly with chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing whenever he comes in contact with them. We have always explained the reason for our no pets policy.

My husband called round to our latest tenants as they were  having an issue with the garage door. Imagine his response when he found the tenants had gone against our wishes and had two dogs in the property.

We now feel that we have lost all trust in our tenants and would like to know what are options are.

Thanks

B.W & S.W

Lorraines Answer – Landlords usually have a clause prohibiting pet ownership for  many reasons i.e potential damage to the property, noise, fleas, or even problems for future tenants if they have pet allergies.

Do you have a clause in your tenancy agreement prohibiting pet ownership at the property? If not then I would recommend that you include a clause for any future tenancies.

If you do have such a clause then the good news – you can give your tenants notice under section 8 clause 12 of the Housing Act 1988. This section covers a breach of the tenancy agreement.

No dogs or cats allowed
No dogs or cats allowed

Write to your tenants and ask them to remove the pets, ensure you refer to the clause in the tenancy agreement. I say write to your tenants as you should always document any correspondence with your tenants, if you have to take them to court you are able to supply any evidence requested by the courts.

If the pets are not removed, you will need to take the next step to seek possession of the property.  You can find form 3 plus lots of information on Eviction under section 8 clause 12 here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/as…

Should you not wish to get involved yourselves in the possession paperwork, then a solicitor or letting agent would be able to help.

Until next week.

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