Today was a relaxing day – well until 9pm.
Then I get a call from a distressed tenant who has come home to open a letter from the court – the bailiffs are coming to repossess the house in 10 days time.
I am suddenly not relaxed any more.
“Sorry, what did you say – get the letter and read it to me” I ask
“It’s from the court, it says the court has issued a warrant for the property and that bailiffs will be attending on X day at 11.45am and will repossess the property and any belongings within it”
“Right” I say trying to sound professional and calm. But, inside I am gobsmacked. This is a property which is owned by a landlord who has been with us for quite a long time. This is not something I had expected – he had only put new carpets in the property 7 months ago – are those the actions of a landlord who is struggling to pay the mortgage?
“OK read exactly to me the reference numbers, telephone numbers and everything else on the letter” I ask
The tenant reads me everything and I write everything down.
It is now 9.30pm on a Sunday night. But, I cannot wait I have to call the landlord to find out what is going on. If this is true, we have only days to try and re-house the tenants. I cannot risk them being in the property when the bailiffs come or that any of their belongings may get caught up in this mess.
I call the landlord – we’ll call him John.
I start ringing and after 3 rings John picks up
“John, it’s Sam from Gorgeous Homes, I’m sorry to call you so late but I have a rather urgent matter which your tenants have just called me about”
“OK” he replies
“They have called me because they have received a letter from the court that the house is being repossessed and a warrant date for the bailiffs has been set 10 days from now”
“There must be some mistake” he replies “they should’ve recieved the money by now”
He is calm and collected. I try and work out from his tone and reaction if this is a mistake – and if this will be sorted. But it is difficult to tell. In a way he is too calm – I can’t work out if it is resigned calmness – that he has been expecting this call from me any day now. Or maybe he is calm because he knows it’s a mistake which he can sort.
We talk a little more – he asks if any other post had arrived for him, because if they had been trying to get hold of him then maybe he would not know about it.
I reply that I will get the tenants to check if any other mail has come for him and to dig it out.
I recount all the details from the letter and he assures me that he will call them first thing in the morning and sort it out.
I ask him to call me when he knows and I urge him to be honest with me. I say to him:
“Shit happens, but please just be honest with me so I can at least get these tenants sorted out and re-housed if necessary”
He assures me he will…now time will tell what will happen
UPDATE @ 3.16PM MONDAY
Landlord has called me to assure me all is a huge mistake and the bank have messed up the reference numbers and all will be OK
Tenant has called since then to say he has spoken to the court and the repossession is still going ahead.
I have called the court to be told no application to suspend has been recieved and the repossession order is still going ahead
I have called the landlord who has told me it will take the bank a couple of days to get the necessary paperwork across to the court to lift the repossession order.
I have spoken to the tenant who, while understanding that this now appears to be a big mix up, is obviously worried given the imminent date of eviction and has organised to view our available properties tomorrow.
He has also gone through all the mail and no other letters have been recieved for the landlord. Which is odd – why have no other letters not been sent to the landlord at the address?
Landlord has told me all should be OK by Thursday….in the meantime we have a back up plan in case plan A does not come off!
Fingers crossed for all concerned that this has been a mix up!
UPDATE @ 16.34 THURSDAY 21 OCT
I am pleased to say this does appear to have been an almighty mix up. I have phoned the courts and they have advised me that the bank have told them the action has been withdrawn and the property will not be repossessed. The court have also emailed confirmation:
Dear Sir or madam
I can confirm that the eviction due to take place on X October 2010 at 11.45 am at X has been cancelled, this is because we have today received a request from the Claimant’s solicitors to withdraw the warrant.
If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the post-judgment section at this Court.
I have also spoken to the landlord who is still so calm and collected – but as he assured me if he had time to get wound up and feel hard done by – he would – but right now he is just too busy with work!
I am pleased to report a good result on this – but this has been a wake up call!