Non-paying tenants finally evicted, left animals

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    Non-paying tenants finally evicted, left animals

    Hi, I need some advice. I was renting out a commercial property in Europe on a long-term lease. The tenant was almost constantly over six months behind on the rent and when a payment was made, it never amounted to even one months' rent (this has been going on for over 6 years). We were very compassionate and even reduced the rent etc. Anyway, enough was enough and we have now evicted them (finally), after nearly two years through the courts, however the story seems to be just beginning!

    The court awarded us the eviction and the bailiffs did their job and recorded an inventory. The commercial aspect involved horse liveries and there are around 35 horses still left in the property (some dogs also). The animals don't appear to have been looked after properly and the property itself is in a dire state of disrepair. We've changed the locks and will not let anyone in unless they are retrieving their horse (with official identification documents/passports etc.). The commercial aspect ceased since we've taken possession..

    We've asked the ex-tenant to notify the owners to come and collect their horses but instead, the ex-tenant advised them not to collect them but rather, sue us for animal cruelty, which they are now doing (I think because we've not let them come in to ride them). We only took possession last week. It's important to note that leading up to now, the tenant has been suing us for whatever he can think of in a vain bid to delay the eviction. The tenant also owes the electricity company A LOT of money, amongst other things.

    I have several questions but having difficulty finding any answers to this specific situation:
    1. What are our rights as landlords having just evicted the tenants in this situation?
    2. How long can the owners leave their animals in the property before we deeem them to be 'abandoned'?
    3. I guess we will be responsible for looking after them in the meantime (at great cost), but I'm sure that whatever we do, they will dispute the fact that we've looked after them properly.
      • What can we do to mitigate this?
    4. How do we get the owners/tenant to come and remove their horses and property?
    Is there anyone here that is knowledgeable in EU law?

    Help!

    #2
    What country? If the owners are not paying you I believe you have a lien over them if UK. Can the owners of the livestock not pay you direct whilst they seek alternative accommodation?

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      #3
      It's in Greece. If the owners do agree to pay us (I'm sure the ex-tenant will not refund them, or pay us on their behalf), then how long would we be obliged to keep them for as they may decide never to move them, which means we are back to square one?

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        #4
        Try a greek landlord forum or a greek lawyer. Sorry, nasty situation.

        This is a UK forum & I doubt anyone has knowledge of greek law etc etc etc.. But you never know
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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          #5
          Isn't EU law applicable? I'm sure someone on here has some knowledge there?

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            #6
            Perhaps try a Greek animal sanctuary, they should be able to tell you what you can do. If you're not in a position to look after them maybe they could take them. If it was the UK you could sell the animal to pay your costs. If you can do the same in Greece an ad in the paper might persuade some of them to take them away. Whatever happens they need to be fed and watered.

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              #7
              Originally posted by EU_Landlord View Post

              Isn't EU law applicable? I'm sure someone on here has some knowledge there?
              It doesn't really work like that. Domestic law applies.

              Comment


                #8
                Put a big sign on the gate Equestrian Centre For Rent. (or whatever you call it) Get a pay as you go mobile phone and put that number on the sign, Get a Local Chartered Surveyor (or Estate Agent) to handle the property for you. Get a solicitor organised to deal with the lease. Make any interested tenant pay your costs of preparing the lease. Get references. Insure it with public Liability.

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                  #9
                  What a fascinating and unusual situation. I have no knowledge of Greek law but you are clearly the involuntary bailee of these animals and responsible during this period for their care. I agree with others who have posted that you must give reasonable notice to the owners to recover their animals prior to selling them.

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                    #10
                    The condition of the property is appalling (stables that are in-use have wooden battons hanging off the walls with nails/screws protruding. Some automatic waterers are on the floor etc. I'm no expert on horses but with most of them, their rib-cages are clearly visible, along with their hips sticking out.

                    There have been new developments... they managed to persuade a judge to give them a court-order to gain entry and are suing us for animal cruelty... they are back in as if no eviction happened!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Nobody said managing property was easy, an equestrian property is almost certainly a tougher gig than, say a shop, office or warehouse.


                      I think you need to find a lawyer cognate in Greek law. The Judge probably felt that the horses stood a better chance of survival if the tenants were let back in.Hopefully there will be a mediated solution. It is pointless guessing at Greek law. Go and find a Greek lawyer

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                        #12
                        (sigh)... we have three Greek lawyers and still don't seem to be getting anywhere...
                        I appreciate that this may not be the right forum for my questions but thanks for all the responses. I may post updates on the situation if anyone is interested.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I am following this thread with interest and would appreciate updates. I know nothing of Greek law but imagine that it would be a good idea if you can prove you have looked after the animals (fed them, cleaned them out etc) and perhaps get a vet to write a report to say there has been no neglect or mistreatment. Hopefully their "cruelty" case should then go away and you can concentrate on eviction. To be honest they cannot be that bothered about their animals if they are prepared to leave them in the "clutches of an evil landlord who may mistreat them"...why not just come and take them to "safety"?! There is probably some statute in Greece regarding length of time things have to be kept. If this issue occured here I would have written to the former tenant (and any horse owners I knew the details for) and told them they had a certain time to collect their animals or they would be sold and proceeds used to recover unpaid rent.
                          Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
                            if they are prepared to leave them in the "clutches of an evil landlord who may mistreat them"...why not just come and take them to "safety"?!
                            You are very correct about this statement. Any decent horse-owner would come and take their horses away. Unfortunately, it looks as though the horses are just being used as a tool to make the eviction as difficult as possible. Only around 3-4 horses were 'okay' in terms of their condition. The majority looked under-nourished (again, I'm not qualified but I've seen my fare share of horses over the years and never have been able to count their ribs before), so how can a decent horse-owner let their 'pride and joy' get to that state in the first place.

                            In a previous post I mentioned wooden battens hanging off the stable walls with nails/screws exposed... they are now saying we did that...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Yes I agree they are being used in this way but you have to protect yourself - I would be getting proof that you are not mistreating them and trying to find evidence that the faults exisited prior to this issue.
                              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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