I’m sure some of you reading this have been through the infuriating, drawn out and sometimes ludicrously expensive process of having to regain possession of your Nuneaton Buy-to-let, I know I have as a private landlord in the past.
A landlord who had experienced the rigmarole of regaining possession quite recently came into our office the other day. He wanted us to fully manage his portfolio because he had had enough of the problems and grief that he was having with his Nuneaton buy-to-lets.
When discussing what issues he was experiencing, amongst a few, he told us of his recent debacle in regaining possession of one of his flats.He had a model tenant who paid the rent on time each month, kept the place clean and tidy and was always cooperative and respectful to Mr Landlord. What’s the problem? I hear you ask. Well, said model tenant lost his job due to personal issues and stopped paying the rent and while he was at home not paying the rent, he thought he’d annoy all the neighbours as well. So Mr Landlord is out of pocket, doing his best to pay his own mortgage as well as his buy-to-let mortgage and, to top it off, starts receiving complaints from the council.
The landlord went through all the correct procedures and served the tenant with a Section 8 and Section 21 (as backup). The tenant didn’t budge. After paying £355 to the courts, he was eventually given a hearing date and was granted possession. The tenant was given 14 days to give up possession of the flat.
Fourteen days passed and the tenant was still there, not paying rent and still annoying all the neighbours. The landlord went to speak to the tenant and ask why he was refusing to move out and guess what response he got “I’m waiting for the bailiffs to come because the council won’t give me a council house until I’m technically homeless”.
The landlord couldn’t believe that after doing everything by the book, paying for the courts to grant possession, he still had no leg to stand on. He had no option but to pay an additional £121 to the court bailiffs to evict the tenant. The eviction took another 8 weeks because the bailiffs were so busy (well they would be if the councils are telling tenants to hold out for the bailiffs!). By the time the tenant had been evicted the landlord had to take nearly 6 months in rent arrears on the chin as well as having to fork out £476 to evict his tenant (He can try to get it back but, let’s be honest, he won’t see a penny of that money!). OUCH! All because the Councils do not accept that a person is homeless until they are literally turfed out on the street with their belongings and camping out in the council reception. Ludicrous!
According to the Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics (released by the Ministry of Justice earlier this year) this is a growing problem in the private rented sector. Over the past 12 months in the UK, 40% of possession claims from private landlords have had to go all the way to repossession by bailiff with the average time of this process taking 45 weeks. This is a massively obvious rise from just 25% of claims in the same period 5 years ago.
Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Nuneaton landlords wanting to regain possession of their buy-to-lets thanks to a new Bill titled “The homelessness reduction bill”. On 28th October 2016 Mp’s will debate the bill and decide whether it goes through parliament. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that this Bill gets passed because it could be the end of lengthy and costly repossessions as Councils will have to accept a valid Section 21 Notice as evidence of homelessness and start proceedings to find alternative accommodation.
If you would like to discuss any matters relating to this article in more detail, or how we can help with your buy-to-lets to prevent the above scenario happening to you, please feel free to give us a call on 02477 674 545 or pop into our office on Bond Street for a chat.