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Letting Agency

The Bailiffs are Coming to Repossess the House….

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.

Regards

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!

17 comments
  1. Sue

    It would be interesting to know who that letter was addressed to! It could be that either he has a residential mortgage w no consent to let, and therefore the lenders think that they ars writing to their residential borrower, or that he has not provided his current address to the lenders (or both). Only an examination of Court judgments would reveal the truth….

    I completely understand your natural need to protect the tenants but it entirely a matter for the lenders, the borrower and the Court.

    I read recently that if he has NOT sought leave to let, the tenants CANNOT be evicted. Anyone else read that or been told that?

    Sue

  2. Johnny Debt

    I am starting to see this sort of thing on a regular basis. There are a lot of Landlords out there who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.

    In some cases the mortgage companies are appointing receivers. The appointed receivers have sole responsibility for the management of the property and solely entitled to receipt of the rent and any other income.

    When a receiver takes over they often inform the tenant(s) and takeover receiving the monthly rental.

    However this is not always the case, although some properties are passed over to receivers, tenants can still be evicted. There are many properties that have been passed over to receivers, but no effort is being made to let these properties. I personally do not understand the sense behind this sort of action, as any income is better than no income??

    Then of course there are the cases where the mortgage company seeks an eviction direct. Of course the last person to hear about this is the poor old tenant.

    1. Sam

      I agree. I feel desperately sorry for the tenants as they are up to date on rent and look after the property. Although I have to say I am very surprised with this landlord as it really doesn’t sound right. I don’t know what a “deperate landlord profile is” but I have to be honest he really doesn’t fit it (well not in my mind).

    2. Teresa Ravenscroft

      Teresa Ravenscroft How common is this? Unfortuneately tenants are usually the last to know that the property is being repossessed. Basically most investment properties don’t even end up going through the courts. A Receiver is appointed once the mortgage isn’t paid for a number of months and often a notice is slapped on the property for the tenants and all to see. Chances are if this is happening to one of a landlords properties , it is happeneing to them all. Time for the landlord to ask for help!!!!!!!

  3. Lisa Orme

    My understanding is that if permission to let has been granted then the tenants now have more rights of occupation; at the very least to be given fair notice.

    If however the landlord did not get permission to let then they have no rights at all.

    Tenants and letting agents are now being encouraged (even instructed) to ask for proof a buy to let mortgage is in place or permission to let has been agreed in writing.

    Good advice!

      1. Teresa Ravenscroft

        Unfortuneately even if it is a buy to let mortgage, if the landlord doesn’t pay the mortgage the Receivers are in. They are usually able to remain for the term although some are encouraged to seek alternative accommodation as the Receivers at that stage don’t know if the property will be sold or not by the lender.

        I lost over 20 properties this way. Believe me this won’t be the only property the landlord is in trouble with!

        1. Sam

          Yes Teresa, you are right, we do not know if a mortgage is being paid.

          I’m sorry if this is too personal (and don’t feel you have to answer) but how did you lose 20 properties?

          1. Teresa Ravenscroft

            I lost absolutely everything. I was an investor and had a large portfolio of about 36 properties. I ended up involved in a scam when I purchased 16 HMO properties in Sheffield and Liverpool with a company called Shevell Pimlico.The properties were bought from, refurbished and managed by the company The whole deal was a con, the result being I ended up with no rents coming in from the properties and not then being able to pay the mortgages. This meant I was then unable to obtain cash from my other properties to service those as I could no longer remortgage and within the space of 8 months my whole house of cards crashed.

            Like your tenant – my tenants were notified without my knowledge – although I hadn’t paid the mortgage so it was no surprise really. In all cases my tenants were asked to vacate by the Receivers that went in. In most cases the properties were then left empty – some still are 2 years later – and I still have to pay council tax and my debt to the lender still increases every month until they decide to sell.

            It was and I suppose still is a nightmare!

            I have managed to keep my own home. But I certainly know the pressure that your landlords go through when the same thing happens to them.

  4. Sam

    Teresa what a terrible chain of events. What happened to the other company? I don’t understand why the recievers have asked the tenants to vacate the properties and then leave them empty for such a long time. That seems crazy! I can’t begin to imagine the stress and pressure that must put you under.

  5. Lisa Orme

    Hi Teresa,

    so sorry to hear of your losses and experience.

    Please note that new laws to protect tenants came in on 1st October this year so while your tenants would not have benefitted, new ones will.

    Kind regards, Lisa

    1. Teresa Ravenscroft

      I agree with you both why do they insist on leaving properties vacant – it is absolutely daft. In one case the mortgage went down to £13 pcm. There were no tenants in the property and they wouldn’t give me the property back to put tenants in. So the debt increased each month and to be honest over a year the arrears would have been paid off if tenanted and probably paid the arreras on another property taken by the same lender. Infact the council tax I had to pay each month was considerably higher!!! If tenants were in they would have paid it!

      1. Jo King

        Thanks Teresa for sharing your personal experiences which sounds very traumatic. By sharing, you are hopefully helping others learn.

        Sam – thanks also for posting this blog and glad you’ve got it sorted … for now.

        Jo

  6. Sam

    Teresa, I just find it so awful that they have taken control off you and yet hold you liable. This just seems the most ridiculous situation. Is there nobody you can complain to? This seems so unfair.

    1. Dave McCulloch

      So this is where you’ve gone Teresa. You’re being a little economical with the truth Teresa. You should tell the good folks here that you were in fact Director of a 3rd party company RW Properties involved in the whole Shevell/Pimlico scam. Regardless of whether you lost money or not, people trusted you and you’re investment experience not to lose them everything. Remember your last words to me Teresa ‘Sue me if you like, I’m bankrupt anyway’. Please stop playing the sympathy card Teresa.

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