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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I took over the management of a number of properties on behalf

Resolved Question:

I took over the management of a number of properties on behalf of a family that is well known to me. The previous agents had been negligent (a court case ensued) and I took over after a period of notice. I manage about 25 houses, and various other properties, but only the houses are relevant to my question.
The properties are all inherited properties and have been in the family since the 1950's. When I took over the management of the property I inherited tenants most of which have changed since 2007 (the date I took over). I have however got one tenant who has we believed lived at her current address since about 1995. Then she was a young mother with a son and a partner (who died in about 1998). In all her time as a resident she has been on housing benefit and we suspect that she is currently in the 49-55 age bracket. She has never worked, and has no obvious signs of incapacity. Our problem is that we cannot get the rent increased, and yet again we have written to advise her that the rent is increasing by £10 per week as from the 1st March 2015, and yet again the Housing Benefit Renting Officer says no it stays as £75 per week. We feel that we are subsidising her to a considerable amount. Earlier in the year we put the rent up on her wood shed (a former stable and a substantial building which rents out for £23 per month) and she ignored the request and insists that the payment comes within the remit of her housing benefit. The previous agents did pass over the majority of tenancy agreements and the deposits, but this particular tenant did not have a tenancy agreement passed over as it could not be found. In addition she requested that the deposit money that she had paid (a minimal sum) was left with the agent. Just to put you in the picture the property is sited at an old manner house with the main building demolished, but 9 properties were made from the buildings that were left on site. The properties are all supplied with a private water supply and consequently none of the tenants pay water rates.
As a matter of course we use the same Tenancy Agreement for all our new tenants and copied the tenancy agreement from the agents when we took over. In other words we are all using the same 6 month short hold tenancy agreement.
My question is can we evict her and how? Alternatively how do we get the rent increased to a more reasonable level?
Thanks
Esther
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Thank you for your detailed post. May I clarify one point with you. You mention that no tenancy agreement could be found for the lady in question but towards the end of your post you refer to using the same tenancy agreement for all your tenants and copying the tenancy the agents used. For the avoidance of doubt has the lady in question signed a new tenancy agreement so that you now have a signed agreement or has she refused to do so?

Customer: No because although we did write and suggest it when we took over the management for some reason it wasn't done.
Joshua :

Thanks for the above.

Joshua :

The position as you will likely be aware is that if the tenant was in situ in 1995, or in particular took occupation between 1989 and 27 Feb 1997 which based on what you say is the case, then she will be an assured tenant. This gives her security of tenure however it does not give her a right to subsidised rent, nor is it a regulated tenancy (often known as Rent Act tenancies) which allow housing officers to set rent. She is required to pay a market rent for the property under an assured tenancy.

Joshua :

In order to increase the rent it is necessary to give her one months notice of the new rent using a s13 notice. She may challenge the new proposed rent if she wishes and if you are unable to reach an agreement she can refer the increase to a property tribunal which has the power to set the rent for the next year. If you wish to increase the rent again in the future after that year you can repeat the process. If she falls behind in her rent based on the new rent then you can seek to evict her using a s8 notice.

Joshua :

You must use a prescribed form in order to propose an increase in rent for an assured tenancy otherwise she may ignore your proposal. You can find the form you need to use here:

Joshua :

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120919132719/www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/doc/tenancyform4b.doc

Joshua :

Otherwise generally in terms of evicting her other than for rent arrears of more than 8 weeks, this is far from straighforward. You would need to show substantive breaches of the tenancy agreement conditions which of course you do not have. In practice the only worthwhile attempt at eviction is likely to succeed is if she falls more than 8 weeks behind in rent though of course as above, you can increase the rent to a market level. It is also important to ensure any disrepair issues are attended to ideally before attempting eviction for rent arrears because she can counterclaim for any disrepair issues to offset against the rent. If she can reduce the net rent owed to under 8 weeks she will be able to delay and frustrate you application for possession.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** clarifies matters for me. I will write to her and see what response I get before taking further action. Again thanks

Joshua :

A pleasure. I am glad the above was of assistance. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

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