Complicated eviction situation
We have a tenant who came to us through the local council, and who is an absolute nightmare. Briefly, she and her partner moved in without paying the full deposit (expecting the council to provide it), and so we informed them that the part payment would not be used as a deposit (and therefore protected in the usual way) but as rent in advance, as they also hadn't applied for HB. They agreed to this. It took ages to get them to apply for HB, and when they did, there was hardly any of it. It was being clawed back for a previous debt and coming directly out of the HB. It didn't even cover the mortgage on the flat. The male partner also stole the first two (I think) payments, and the pair split up. The woman got hold of most of the amount stolen and paid it to us, but then as the male had left (and the HB claim was in his name only, for some reason...) we told her to start a replacement tenancy with only her name on it. This all occurred around the time of the Universal Credit cock-up, and it took us months to find out whether she even had a claim, or what she was doing about it, as she would not talk to us (then lied when she did), and we could not get either the council or DWP to discuss it. We issued a S21, hoping she would clear out, but she did not (advice from CAB told her to stay put). Meanwhile we had badgered the council link-worker who had landed us with her, and complained bitterly. He suggested a 'tenancy saver' arrangement whereby the council would pay off an amount of her arrears (several thousand pounds by then) if we rescinded the S21. The council let us down spectacularly by denying all knowledge of this, and not even contacting us for several months (whilst we waited for their decision and tried to get to grips with a dozen other things) then when we demanded that they do something, they said it was none of her business as the woman did not have a HB claim! Even though she HAD had a claim, that did not seem to be relevant. They told us, after further badgering and complaints, that we would have to see the DWP as Universal Credit had now taken the place of any new HB claims. We had a long-running battle with DWP (helpful but not prepared to discuss anything until we had given evidence of 'explicit consent to discuss' from the woman - which took some time to get). By the time all this had dragged on, and the woman had paid only an occasional few pounds, the S21 had expired anyway. When we finally managed to speak to the DWP directly about her, they informed us that she had not taken out a rent claim (she told us she had) but instead had walked out of the jobcentre when told it would take 5 weeks for the money to come through. Now about £5000 in arrears, we had enough, and filled out a new S21, and took it down to her, having arranged with the jobcentre/DWP to get her to the office if at all possible, where they would help her to begin making a rent claim. We had decided to use the S21 if she failed to co-operate, which is what happened. She and her daughter (not a tenant) were abusive and unco-operative. We also noticed that the former boyfriend was back again (although none of them knew that we had seen him go in, and he hid in the bedroom). So on her refusal to go and make a rent claim, we handed her the new S21, and showed her the Court Order forms that will be following it. What concerns us now, is that we have so little money left that we are waiting for an old deposit to be returned to us so that we can pay for the Court Order and Bailiff, and we can't afford to have the eviction go wrong. How are we affected by the original tenancy agreement (for which the deposit mentioned on the form was not paid in full, and therefore not treated as a deposit), would it be better to evict on the replacement tenancy (and can we do that, as the Court form mentions replacement tenancies and wants copies of the original), and at what precise time (always supposing the money arrives in time!) should we purchase the Court Order (eviction date due on January 1st)?
Greg Speed and Alexandra Hunter
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