Great result in Court for tenancy breaches
29 March 2016
Two and a half years ago, our Property team started dealing with a relatively small and routine issue, relating to a number of general repairs, a gas inspection and improvement works. Last week, we were successfully granted a 2 year Suspended Possession Order against the same person, whose small issues escalated into something much bigger. As a business this is a fantastic achievement in what has been a very complex and frustrating case which we wanted to share with you as a learning experience, and to purely appreciate just how committed we are to taking the right action against people who abuse their tenancies and our services.
Issues with Mr X, began in September 2012, when he denied access for us to carry out a stock condition survey on the home, which would identify what improvement work needed to be carried out. Mr X is in fact the partner of one of our tenants, but acts as an advocate on behalf of the named tenant.
Since that time, and in his capacity as an advocate, Mr X reported a series of repairs in the home, for which he later denied access. Essential gas safety and structural work was also required but again, access was denied, despite our firm process to manage people who don’t let us into their homes for certain work. On finally receiving permission to enter his home, Mr X demanded that operatives left the property even though work had not been finished.
Further visits to his home by our own staff also highlighted significant structural work that was required. There was also damage to the property that had been caused by both residents, which is against the terms in our Tenancy Agreements.
Having worked with a structural engineer to put together proposed designs to sort the issues, Mr X complained about them and continued to cause ongoing access issues.
To add to this already complex case, Mr X then accepted that the kitchen and bathroom refurbishment works which were required in line with our improvement programme, but during these works he demanded more work to be carried out which saw him purposefully damage the property so that we had to arrange it. Alongside all of this, Mr X visited our offices on a number of occasions and was abusive to staff, both here and while at his home.
Having applied for an injunction to take action against him in the event of continued tenancy breaches, an injunction was granted and a Court hearing reinforced it, although he proceeded to breach. We instigated further action which potentially could have led to him being imprisoned.
After all of that, in March we were successful in receiving a two year Suspended Possession Order against the tenant which if breached will give us the right to end the tenancy and regain the property. It will also prevent the tenant and Mr X denying reasonable access to the home when it is required without being subject to further formal action. The tenant and Mr X accepted they had breached the injunction order and accepted that we had made out possession grounds 12 and 14 of the Housing Act (breach of tenancy and anti-social behaviour). There was also acceptance of costs toward our legal bill in the region of £10,000. The Possession order will be enforced for any continuation of abusive behaviour towards staff, or any form of ASB or breach of tenancy in any way.
It is important to remember that Mr X is not a tenant of ours, he is an advocate for the named tenant. That said, by acting in a way that directly breaches the Tenancy Agreement, we have been able to take appropriate action for something that has caused both huge disruption for our teams as well as being costly and resource intensive.
All of our customers should be reminded that they are responsible for the actions of people living in their homes and we will not tolerate any behaviour that goes against our Tenancy Agreements which includes being abusive towards our staff.
As a result of the team’s record keeping and relentless drive to make sure the most appropriate action was taken against someone who persistently acted against the agreement to live in a Red Kite home, we can now look forward from this case and put in place the learnings that will help us to manage any similar issues in the future.