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Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 70711
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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This is a long note, as theres quite a lot going on! I own

Customer Question

This is a long note, as there's quite a lot going on!
I own one flat in a block of 15. Ten are in one block, the one my flat is in, and the other 5 is in the other. I am in contact with the owners of most of the other flats – the majority of us are party to a RTM. When we first purchased the flats after conversion it was quite an OK area. Over the years it’s gone down and down, with drug dealing/taking openly on the street, people loitering around and some generally unpleasant people. Despite this we have been trying to keep a reasonably level of maintenance and doing the best we can, given the circumstances, for our tenants.

Having encouraged the eviction of one bad tenant, we now have another. I think this chap has been in the building for some time but he’s mentally ill (a schizophrenic, who it appears has decided to stop his medication – but generally was quite an unpleasant man).

I have just had my tenant leave as he has felt threatened and bullied by this man. Turns out this tenant has done the same to others in the building – one landlord has lost two of his tenants. The landlord of the ‘rogue’ tenant lives in New Zealand and is not part of the RTM (his choice). We’re told that his managing agent has served a section 8 notice which has now expired. I’ve actually been told that they’ve tried to evict this tenant for the past eight months. Quite frankly I don’t believe them and the NZ landlord is not communicative. I would like to know when the agent served the notice, on what grounds, when it expired and what action they’ve taken. But they won’t tell us – as we’re not their client.

None of the other tenants will report their neighbour to the police as they are all scared of him. Despite the Section 8, he has not left the building and is continuing to menace the tenants and destroy communal areas of the property. We’re told that we’ll have to wait until the courts hear the case and then if he doesn’t leave it’ll be the bailiffs. Which could all take months. Meanwhile my managing agent refuses to show anyone around my flat (understandably) as this tenant is abusive and violent. There’s been a few incidents over the past three days: 1) standing naked on the balcony and urinating on passers-by, 2) tying up a neighbour, stripping him naked and threatening him with a knife (neighbour told his letting agent but won’t tell the police as he’s scared and from previous experience the police won’t take action), and 3) just forcing the door on another flat (of a single mum with young child) and helping himself to her food (whilst she’s there!).

We all feel let down by the police, and by Thanet Council. Thanet Council have a selective licensing scheme, to ensure that landlords keep their properties in good order for their tenants, yet they won’t help us with this one (and will probably fine us when they do their inspection because of his behaviour). What’s more, to add salt to the wound, I’ll have to pay Council Tax (including funding a police force who will do nothing)! We need help – both legal and practical! It’s a financial nightmare for the landlords – and we feel helpless to provide a safe block for our tenants to live in. We’re not professional landlords – all thinking it would be a good way to boost the pension and, at the same time, being reasonable with our tenants.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The main thing I want to know is how we, the other landlords, can expedite the removal of this man from the block. And, what we can do to prevent him coming back (eg restraining order or similar)?


 

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Is this person your tenant?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I realise my initial note was long but I thought I'd been clear that no, he isn't. The landlord of this tenant lives in NZ; he knows how dissatisfied the other landlords are with the slow action of removing him (all the time the tenant continues to menace the other tenants and destroy the property). He has supposedly instructed his letting agent to evict him.

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
The reason the police can't act is that the neighbours will not support an allegation. The police can't do anything without witnesses in the UK. People have to be proven to be guity in the UK rather than just suspected.

There are clearly grounds for arrest here and if the police received an allegation that had any merit they would have acted. That would certainly resolve the problem in the short term as they would probaby give him bail with conditions of non contact and living elsewhere.

The way of dealing with this is for the management company to serve notice on the landlord giving notice that you intend to foreclose on the lease for breach of covenant in his lease for allowing nuisance.

You can bet that if you serve the notice on the agent something will happen. It would be better if that notice came from a solicitor.

If there is no response, you make the application to court.

In relation to the police, the other on the block cannot expect them to act if they will not support an allegation.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. The situation all feels a bit desperate - for the landlords and tenants alike. It looks like this could be months that I will go without rent and this man will run riot. The tenants cannot go to the police as they do not trust nor feel protected by them. And the council are next to useless also.


 


The building does not have a management company in the sense that the freeholder has appointed one. The previous freeholder was unscrupulous (tried to charge each landlord £24k each to do work on the building that didn't need doing or had previously been done for 10% of the costs being quoted) and we applied for right to manage. There is a new freeholder (an unknown quantity on the integrity front) who so far has had nothing to do with the block. Ref our RTM (properly incorporated) - does that count as the managing agent in the sense that the RTM can serve (through a solicitor if necessary) notice about lease foreclosure? And to whom do we serve it? Presumably the landlord in NZ but do we do that via his letting agent (with a copy to them)?


 


I'm not sure if the tenant has been served a section 8 or a section 21 notice. I think the latter as we were told he was being served it months ago. We've been told it's expired and the landlord will go to court to have him evicted. How can we check this is in motion, since the letting agent won't divulge this information. Once a request for a eviction has been lodged with the court is it public record?


 


Finally, for the moment at least, I am thinking about seeing if I can have someone live in my flat, rent-free if necessary, to protect my property. Not sure if I'll get someone - but what are my options with regard to a rent/tenancy agreement to do this for a short period of time (ie until the other tenant has finally gone)? I don't want to be having trouble getting someone out myself! Yet I am fearful for the safeguarding of my property as this man will break in (and likely bring his mates in as he's done before). Thanks

Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
The police cannot do anything unless the tenants make a complaint! The tenants need to speak to a senior officer and explain exactly what their concerns are.

You serve documentation on the managing agent at the last known address and also to the agent.

If the agent will not disclose the information then the chances are that it has not been done which is why he is not giving the information. Get a solicitor to write to the agent threatening an application to court for pre-action disclosure and legal costs unless he discloses this information.

The application for eviction only becomes public record once the order has been granted

You can never guarantee that you cannot get a tenant out, but they have less rights if they occupy the property by way of licence than they do if they have a Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If you want the maximum protection, do not try to do it yourself or get a solicitor to draft of the licence for you.
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Expert:  Remus2004 replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JO C’. You can also bookmark my profile http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-remus2004/