Apologies for not posting last week – this being due to half term and not being able to get near the computer as the children felt that Moshi Monsters and Friv games were adding to their educational abilities. We also took some time out to go to the Peak District and admire the rock formations – THAT’S educational!
Six weeks have now passed since I’ve had any contact with Steve. You may remember that he’s the tenant in one of my largest rooms priced at £100pw including all bills but, as he’d done well not smoking weed in the house and I thought we’d come to a mutual understanding on how to behave, I gave him a preferential rate of £90pw. Why? Because I still hadn’t learnt from the old addage “Give ’em and inch and they’ll take a mile”.
After the marijuana incident (i.e. the whole street was mellowing under its influence the smell was so strong) and he’d asked to move into the bigger room, we got on well. Housing Benefit paid his LHA allowance direct to me because Steve had been/still is a gambling addict and he then paid £112 as a top up. He’s now 2 month’s down on his top up and nobody has heard sight nor sound of him. His post is still there, his pants are still in the drawer, some toiletries are still on the dresser and his bed looks like, well, any man’s bed who isn’t hoping to impress a girl. I’ve written to his guarantor and tried to contact his mother with no success.
From a legal point of view, because he’d moved room but within the same property, I’d created a new tenancy which meant I had to serve section 21 notice for the end of his fixed term of 14th December. I was a bit annoyed as I’d received two legal viewpoints at the time from a landlord association: one told me to just get him to sign a letter acknowledging the move to a new room but it would continue as a periodic tenancy and another member of the team told me to create to new fixed term agreement and re-register the deposit. Confusing, but all paperwork has been sorted, served and is now strewn across his bed presumably in case he runs out of toilet roll.
So, I’m in a dilemma. House is quiet and stable without him, I’m getting two thirds of his rent paid direct to me by the council and I don’t have the expense of refurbishing his room which is likely to cost £200 (new carpet and full paint). Do I consider the room to be abandoned (but I think there’s slightly too many belongings, albeit they’ve been undisturbed for six weeks); or proceed to get a court order if he hasn’t moved the stuff out by 14th December? Morally, I probably should be trying harder to find him as we’re a small town and people don’t just disappear but his phone’s ringing so he’s clearly still charging it. I do worry, with his history, that he could have come to a sticky end but hope a relative would’ve wanted to lay claim to his paltry belongings. However, I haven’t applied for a court order before so I’d like to be able to say I know how to do it. What would you do?