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Thread: Question about odd tenant exit

  1. #1
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    Question about odd tenant exit

    I'd like to open this to the room in the event anyone has any observations it is worth me being aware of as it's not one I have come across before on our BTL.

    Our tenant, a single mum according to the lease, vacated our BTL property recently and did not supply a forwarding address (also somewhat late and in arrears, but that's another story). On visiting the property I found a lot of unopened post. Despite there only being 1 adult on the lease, we found letters addressed to 8 different people, all of which were speeding fines (including letters from the Met Police and Surrey Police), car parking fines, and debts outstanding to phone companies and debt recovery agencies.

    Oddly no outstanding utility bills or council tax. We have contacted utilities and council regarding moving future costs to us going forward.

    I would highly doubt 8 people lived at the property, but we are fairly content that the tenant (who is named in some of the paperwork) was who she said she was; the tenant supplied a copy of her passport and her employer was a reference.

    Question

    It is clear that the property has been used as an address in various applications and paperwork. I have no idea if anyone other than the tenant actually existed. Is there anything to look out for, scams or pit falls of having so many people using the address in their paperwork?

    Anything I should do before I start ringing round the various people to say these people are erroneous and the tenant has moved?

    Appreciated

  2. #2
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    Why not just mark the unopened mail “Return to sender - not at this address - never at this address”, date it and stick it in the mailbox?

  3. #3
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    As long as your name hasn't been used I'd just pop unopened letters back in the post - return to sender not at this address.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by seabiscuit View Post
    Why not just mark the unopened mail “Return to sender - not at this address - never at this address”, date it and stick it in the mailbox?
    That bit is easy. I just want to check there are no problems or scams that people might pull by using a single premises for various aliases that would affect me.

  5. #5
    Master ed335d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkstar View Post
    That bit is easy. I just want to check there are no problems or scams that people might pull by using a single premises for various aliases that would affect me.
    I've had issues with a tenant before, mainly running up debt and ignoring notices and demands which, of course, keep coming long after they've departed.

    Too often, these companies do not give up on the basis of returned mail.

    The only way I got them to cease was to call them and explain the situation, even though I didn't have a forwarding address.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkstar View Post
    That bit is easy. I just want to check there are no problems or scams that people might pull by using a single premises for various aliases that would affect me.
    No one can give you a guarantee on that. I’ll bet there are loads but as none of the mail is in your name then I don’t see the problem. Companies often get scammed more easily as debts/fines rack up at spurious remote addresses and eventually wind up at the registered office after a court order is moved from the remote address to the registered office. Unravelling that is a pain for the innocent company.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkstar View Post
    That bit is easy. I just want to check there are no problems or scams that people might pull by using a single premises for various aliases that would affect me.
    I’d be worried about credit, goods and services being obtained on behalf of fictitious people registered from the property. But I’d hope that credit checks would flag that someone being listed as resident at an address for little more than weeks or months is something of a red flag. Wonder if your tenant is with the same employer? Did you actually do a check on the employer?

  8. #8
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    Completely understand the OP’s concern but not sure there is anything that can be done.

    Tempting though it is, I suspect it’s technically illegal to open post addressed to someone else even at a property you own. Rock and a hard place really as, if you know who is chasing, you can engage with them to explain.

    Obviously you may accidentally/carelessly open some post without realising it wasn’t addressed to you.

    Is the electoral register still available for public examination?
    Last edited by David_D; 9th November 2021 at 16:29.

  9. #9
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    Quite common today for an address to be used by multiple people, it merely shows that they have a fixed abode, although a quick search on the council council tax register, or, electoral role would prove otherwise, or, it could be that you tenant was letting rooms out and pocketing the rent from them without letting you know.
    Was the property managed by an agent on your behalf or did you manage it yourself?

  10. #10
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    If they are speeding fines would that not suggest that those vehicles are register with the DVLA at that address?

  11. #11
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    On re-reading you post It looks more and more like your tenant was letting out rooms, or even the address, for payment, to people so as they could register certain things, cars/phones etc etc
    The reason the utilities were kept up together were simply to keep their record intact should they wish to secure another property, that's the way I see it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdfish View Post
    Quite common today for an address to be used by multiple people, it merely shows that they have a fixed abode, although a quick search on the council council tax register, or, electoral role would prove otherwise, or, it could be that you tenant was letting rooms out and pocketing the rent from them without letting you know.
    Was the property managed by an agent on your behalf or did you manage it yourself?
    This could well be the case. The property was a fairly long drive from us (not again) and we couldn't inspect it easily, and the agent was beyond hopeless.

    Quote Originally Posted by seabiscuit View Post
    Wonder if your tenant is with the same employer? Did you actually do a check on the employer?
    Their employer was the County Council. Their employer also paid their deposit, which they will not get back!

    Is it petty to tell the credit agencies / debt co's etc to contact their employer?!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Weirdfish View Post
    On re-reading you post It looks more and more like your tenant was letting out rooms, or even the address, for payment, to people so as they could register certain things, cars/phones etc etc
    The reason the utilities were kept up together were simply to keep their record intact should they wish to secure another property, that's the way I see it.
    Yes, i think you might be right. Feels that way.

  13. #13
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    In my previous house the neighbour opposite rented his house out through an agency - quite a large property (3 storey with quite a few rooms)
    After a while I (subconsciously) recall a lot of comings and going’s but put it down to maybe a large family - turns out every room had a lock put on it and had been sublet - ended it costing about £ 12k to put it right

  14. #14
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    If it was me I would be asking the agent a few questions, they get paid to do a job and most don't carry it out correctly.
    How often did they inspect the property, ask for their reports, even if you don't get anywhere at least make them sweat a little.
    From experience I know the BTL game is difficult, and I manage ours, you try and leave tenants to enjoy their home, ( your house but their home ), and all they do is take the piss.
    My view is that ours were bought as investments and a nice monthly income, if at the end they need a bit of decorating etc to sell or re-let then that's fine as long as you continue to increase your initial outlay, and benefit from the monthly income, then that's a bonus as far as I'm concerned, don't get too involved on a personal level and I'm sure things will be fine, purely from a financial point of view.

  15. #15
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    Sounds like something my mrs told me someone she works with rented a 4 bed house to a Romanian family and had a tip off from the neighbours they were subletting it and they were right

  16. #16
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkstar View Post

    Their employer was the County Council. Their employer also paid their deposit, which they will not get back!
    You’ve not mentioned anything that will allow you to keep the deposit should the council ask for it back.

    What grounds do you feel you have to retain it?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    You’ve not mentioned anything that will allow you to keep the deposit should the council ask for it back.

    What grounds do you feel you have to retain it?
    Rent arrears?

  18. #18
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    "under the Postal Services Act 2000. It is only an offence if you open someone else’s mail ‘without reasonable excuse’ or if you ‘intend to act to another’s detriment’. For example, if you are receiving bank statements/cards in someone else’s name then you should act on that immediately. You should tell the sender, either by returning it marked “not known at this address” or by opening the mail and calling any number provided within. The “reasonable excuse” for opening such items would then be that you were helping to prevent fraud against the companies involved."

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga...-with-the-mail

  19. #19
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brighty View Post
    Rent arrears?
    Ah, I missed that. Thanks.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    Ah, I missed that. Thanks.
    Yep, a fair few months too.

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