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Tenant Stops Paying PT 2

Many of you have read my last article about what happens when the tenant stops paying.

This is an update on what’s going on with my little tenant spat and what I’m doing to make sure I get my money.

After the initial flurry of action; the tenant and I have entered a cat and mouse phase. Interesting!

Submitting the N5B

I mentioned in my previous article that I was going to submit a N5B.

This form, available from the Court Service allows a landlord to obtain non fault based possession.

I decided to take the completed form down to the appropriate County Court. Remember the Court you will need is the one that covers the rental property and not necessarily the nearest one to you.

That was an experience. Talk about entering a world inhabited by the dispossessed, repossessed and manically depressed. Having found the counter of the County Court and then managing to attract the attention of one of the assistants she seemed strangely pleased to see a normal semi middle class individual in amongst the ghostly Dickensian characters.

She helpfully reminded me that the Court needed three copies of the documents, one for the court, one for the tenant, one which should have been returned to me. She also pointed out that I had to make sure that both myself and the tenant were correctly ‘sexed’ i.e. showing whether we were Mr or Mrs. She kindly helped me out with this.

For more details about filling out the N5B have a look at the Landlords Bible.

For those wishing to miss out on the tour of modern day Britain’s underbelly then it’s possible to submit the N5B by post. I’d make sure it’s sent recorded so you know it arrives.

My N5B was hand delivered on the 29th of October and then issued the following day which meant that it was sent out to the Defendant, the tenant on the 30th. The Court allows several days for delivery and therefore the N5B was deemed served on the 4th November.

The tenant responds

Despite hand delivering a ‘non payment of rent’ letter to the tenant in the middle of October urging them to contact me; the radio silence from the tenant continued.

Then suddenly, I receive an email from the tenant on the 30th of October. A coincidence!? This was the day that the claim for possession was issued to the tenant. Maybe? Or perhaps the fright of receiving a notice for possession prompted them into action.

The tenants email on the 30th October offers to make the November payment of rent and half of the outstanding October rent and repeat this in December to bring his rent account up to date before Christmas.

This, as you can imagine filled me with a modicum of Christmas cheer and although I was initially sceptical; the tenant did deliver on his first payment.

Next steps……

As I mentioned earlier I am now playing a waiting game.

The tenant has e-mailed me to request that there are several items that need looking into. A storage heater and the door bell. I have made several attempts over a number of months to get the tenant to respond to the electrician’s phone call but to no avail. I suspects he thinks he might be a bit clever and try to argue that he hasn’t paid the rent because I haven’t kept the property in good repair and thereby fulfilled my repairing obligations under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act and the Tenancy Agreement.

Legally though this fact isn’t a defence against a possession order under the accelerated possession procedure. The courts should grant a landlord possession as a right just as long as they can prove that the tenancy has ended and that they have correctly served the Section 21 Notice.

A little bit of research has revealed that the tenant is still employed and what’s more I know where. This means that if they do a runner I should be able to get a money order and an attachment of earning order which means that any rent or costs will be payable directly from the tenants salary. So I’m fairly relaxed.

I’m still obviously hoping that the tenant does what he promised, which was to make a further additional payment at the beginning of December. If he doesn’t I still have the lever of having an issued notice of possession ready to go.

This gives me the option of requesting the Court to make a Possession Order.

The tenant can file a defence. He had 14 days from the date of service (4 November) or I decide to request the Court to make a possession order then the claim will be referred by the court staff to make an order without a hearing.

If no defence is filed by the Tenant I have 3 months from the date the Tenant (Defendant) should have filed the request for an order.

If by then the court has not received either a defence or my request for a Possession Order then the claim will be stayed.

To be continued……………..

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