Hi there, I have a query regarding a prospective tenant both my wife and I have deep reservations about and where we stand in terms of our tenancy agreement. Our property, a 3 bedroomed terraced house in Slough was advertised in a local paper and on a property website which indicated that one month rent in advance would be required and one month's deposit. A man called Mr Beach phoned to register his interest two weeks ago and explained that the local authority (DSS) would be paying his rent and that he would like the property on 1st September. I explained I was ok with this (verbally) and also provided him a letter at his request which stated that I required six weeks worth of rent in advance in order to accept his tenancy. The tenancy form (a DIY kit obtained from WH Smith) was signed with Mr Beach and his wife as the main joint tenants, and their three children, a boy aged 13, a girl aged 4, and a baby aged 2). This was based on the need for the rent in advance and the deposit, he explained that he would then try his best to make made up any shortfall in funds personally. Both my wife and I explained that we would not be prepared to let the tenancy commence unless the funds had cleared. Each day when we asked about the shortfall in funds, we were told the Council/DSS had not resolved the Housing Benefit and that this might not be sorted out until the tenancy would commence after 1st September. Both my wife and I were not happy about this and were very concerned that this did not sound secure. I was shown a piece of paper by the man's wife dated 27th August from the local Benefits office stating that the claimant had been approved to receive £1020 from the local council/DSS. However, the period this award was for 1st August until 27th August, even though the letter was dated 27th August. When I spoke to the man again on Friday 28th he explained he was at the local Housing Benefit office and put me on the phone to the a Housing Officer who explained that the award of £1020 had been approved and this would be sent as a BACS payment which would take 3-5 working days. Due to the Bank Holiday, she explained the funds would not clear before Wednesday/Thursday this week, which would be after the tenancy was due to start. When I expressed my concerns to Mr Beach about not having had any rent in advance or any deposit, he continued to make excuses and asked if we could let him into the property and that he would try to pay us on a weekly basis for any shortfall in the rent advance/deposit. Early on today whilst I was cleaning the property to be rented, a police officer visited the address asked if this man, Mr Beach lived her. I explained he is scheduled to move in on 1st Sept. The police officer did not disclose why he was looking for Mr Beach or his son, but this now makes me feel deeply uncomfortable about letting the property to this man and his family as I am certain he is involved in criminal activity. Mr Beach also has not provided me with any references which I asked him for verbally during our first phone conversation. Given the above situation and that he has not provided the required advance rent/deposit, (despite a payment that is allegedly been processed by the local DSS), and my concerns about his criminal character, am within my rights to cancel the tenancy agreement and not let him into the property on 1st September ? Thank you for clarifying this. Mr Beach, (the prospective tenant), has previously mentioned that if we attempt to cancel the contract, he will initiate legal proceedings; do we run the risk of being prosecuted for an illegal eviction, as this is the only response we keep on getting back from him. We have advised him of our decision by SMS text message last night and have a written copy of a more detailed version explaining this. Due to the Bank Holiday, we are unable to post this, will it still suffice if we were to hand deliver the written copy to his current address ? Would the local authorities have any grounds to intervene and act against us in this situation ? I am mindful that he has young children and would want to ensure the local authorities are able to provide his family. Could you suggest what legal action we can take, as his only response is he will seek to arrive at the property on Tuesday (tomorrow) at 8am with the police in tow. I have spoken to the police and they have mentioned they will only be present to prevent a breach of the peace, however, could they assist him in trying to gain access to the property ? From some advice that I have already received, we are within out rights to anticipatorily repudiate the contract as he has not acted in good faith; we have suspicions about his criminal character and he has not provided the 1 month rent in advance/1 month deposit.
Also, what are my immediate options if he turns up at the property ?
Hi Alex. He signed the tenancy agreement about 7-10 days ago, as did I. We have not given him any keys. The proposal was to meet at the property tomorrow at 8am for a handover of the keys.
If you wish to contact me by phone, my home number is ***** 538203.