No AST, No Payment, What next?

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I am seeking some advice for the unfortunate predicament I have found myself in.

I have recently purchased a property in Cardiff (I live in the North West), the owners were about to be evicted and I agreed to purchase the property below market value and rent back to them for a fixed monthly amount of £500.

The property purchase completed in mid December and to win the deal I agreed to give them one month’s free rent as they said they would not need to stay that long.

On the 14th December I issued a letter to the tenants (previous owners) along with a standing order mandate and 3 month AST, I wanted to play “good cop” so I also sent a Christmas card (in the same envelope) and gave them some advice on contents insurance within the letter.

Yesterday, I called the tenants to see if they received the Christmas card which they did, I also asked if they had received the AST which they said they didn’t. This is not possible as the Christmas card was within the AST; this has now aroused my suspicions (further) that they are going to be problem tenants. I am sending another copy of the AST today along with a standing order mandate and original letter; I shall be sending this recorded delivery.

Whether they sign for the document, or not, I really need some advice and guidance on the following, incidentally, this is all assuming they are not going to pay the rent for months two and three (first month free):

1. Where do I stand if there is not AST in place due to the tenants not signing it? How could I serve notice 21 and 8? Can I serve notice 21 &8? Do I need to serve these notices to evict them if there is no AST? They are currently in the property obviously with the 1st month rent free, this will take them until the 14th January.
2. If by some miracle they sign the AST and return it to me, are 3 month AST legal/valid? Is it still advisable to serve notice 21 and/or 8?

Other info:

- I have sent a letter before property purchase confirming purchase price as well as monthly rent; they signed a copy of this and posted back to me last year. I still have a copy of this.
- The tenant does not work, nor does his partner.
- The tenant is partially deaf as well as having an extreme liking to alcohol which means I cannot get hold of him until after midday (sometimes not at all) as he has no landline and his mobile is constantly off.
- All of this is no real surprise as they have already been to court twice with their previous mortgage provider and were 1 day away from eviction at one point. If legal proceedings/eviction process start is this taken into consideration?

I read on some websites that If there is no AST in place then it is classed as verbal acceptance should the tenants currently be in possession, which I also believe means that I cannot follow the accelerated eviction procedure as there is no signed AST in place?

Due to the tenants experience with the eviction procedure I actually believe they are more crafty than I gave them credit for initially and I believe there overall aim is to stay in the property for as long as possible without paying. Obviously my aim is to have them in the property for short as possible without paying, hence the reason for this post.

At this moment in time he has done nothing wrong, but confident that my gut reactions will be correct I want to be in the position to follow the correct procedure. Also, if there is still a 1% chance of him paying his monthly rental and not being a problem tenant I still want to give him as much chance as possible. The reason I say that is that I do not want to antagonise him from possibly paying into definitely not paying.

Finally, could anyone provide any advice or recommend professional people that could help in this situation? I.e. serve notices in Cardiff, etc due to me being based in the North West? As well as recommended solicitors who come with a good reputation and experience in the North West?

Incidentally, I have also sent a copy of this post to the CAB.

Thanks in advance, Paul

07/01/2008 00:00

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