Access to Property / Abandonment

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    Access to Property / Abandonment

    We’ve been in the process of trying to evict a tenant. An initial S21 was invalid so a new one has been served. The tenant’s solicitor submitted a defence and a counterclaim on the grounds of unprotected deposit, loss of quiet enjoyment, and harassment to the first S21.


    The tenant’s deposit was protected late so, on the advice of a solicitor, this was returned by cheque to the tenant’s solicitor and a new S21 (and a S8 because of rent arrears) have been issued. However, the tenant’s solicitor doesn’t seem to have given the cheque to the tenant as it has not cleared.


    The tenant is refusing to allow an inspection saying she is scared and has been advised not to meet with us on her own because the last visit was recorded (due to previous lies). However, we suspect the tenant may have moved to another property and abandoned ours. The neighbour says they have not seen anyone for a while. Several windows in the property have been left opened.


    How can we gain access to the property and secure it?

    #2
    By going to court and then using bailiffs to regain possession.
    Any other route is risky as the tenant clearly has access to proper legal advice.

    Why on earth did you give the deposit cheque to the tenant's solicitor instead of the tenant?
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Serve Notice of Inspection by First Class letter (min 24-48 hours after delivery). Attend & knock loudly for 5 mins before entering (if no response).
      Take a prof, Ind witness with you when you visit.
      If windows have been left open with no sign of occupation, LL can enter and close them, to secure the property.
      Neighbours are often a good source of T occupation info (if they know you).

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by mariner View Post
        Neighbours are often a good source of T occupation info (if they know you).

        And if they dont know you, go and say hi! Introduce yourself, provide them with (printed) contact information incase of any issues or worries.. Neighbours can be very useful if they are on side with you, and can be a pain if they think you are a nightmare landlord putting horrible tenants in place.
        If they invite you for a cuppa take them up on the offer and have a chat/build some footings of a relationship with them.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for all the responses.

          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          Why on earth did you give the deposit cheque to the tenant's solicitor instead of the tenant?
          We had a meeting with a solicitor who advised we do it this way in order to confirm receipt as T has, in the past, not collected post we've sent recorded. The solicitor said that there is a code of conduct solicitors must follow so that this would be the better approach as they can't mess us about as the T has. I'm hoping this advice does not backfire!

          On our own accord, we also sent the tenant a copy of the cheque letting her know her solicitor has the original.






          Comment


            #6
            The tenant is being smart.

            Don't send things recorded delivery because the tenant can decline to accept them. Either post it by hand yourself, or use first class post from a post office who can give you a proof of delivery.

            The problem that I can see is that there's no proof available to you that the solicitor has delivered the deposit to the tenant (if they post it recorded delivery for example). And they represent the tenant so they aren't working in your interest.

            The beauty of a cheque is that if the tenant's received it the deposit has been returned even if they don't cash the cheque.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
              The tenant is being smart.
              Yep, and so too is the T's solicitor. Is there any benefit in issuing another cheque directly to the tenant? We have post office confirmation the cheque was received by the solicitor - since the solicitor is acting on the tenant's behalf, would this not be considered delivered to the tenant? We have bank details that the T supplied at start of tenancy but based on past deceptions, anything could be expected so we didn't want to pay into an account T may have closed.

              Comment


                #8
                I don't know what the rules are about a solicitor receiving something on behalf of a client (your solicitor probably does).
                It's quite possible that the solicitor acting for the tenant can receive something on their behalf and therefore you're fine.
                I just don't know.

                If you visit as per post three and find the tenant has gone, it's less of an urgent problem, so I'd do that before sending the tenant any more money.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks again

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Could be the solicitor is holding onto the cheque until he gets paid himself?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mariner View Post
                      Serve Notice of Inspection by First Class letter (min 24-48 hours after delivery). Attend & knock loudly for 5 mins before entering (if no response).
                      Take a prof, Ind witness with you when you visit.
                      If windows have been left open with no sign of occupation, LL can enter and close them, to secure the property.
                      Neighbours are often a good source of T occupation info (if they know you).

                      Originally posted by sam_cat View Post
                      And if they dont know you, go and say hi! Introduce yourself, provide them with (printed) contact information incase of any issues or worries..
                      Have followed the advice above and seems the tenant has done a runner. T's belongings are gone and the property is in a mess! I've secured the property and sent T a message asking for confirmation if they've moved but no response from T yet. T still has keys.

                      Deposit cheque has been cashed! I'm also applying for possession order.

                      Anything else I need to do, or any words of caution at this stage?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If the tenant has gone and taken their possessions, I would feel comfortable with simply regaining possession and changing the locks.
                        However, it isn't the ideal process, and I am reluctant to advise someone else to do that.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Ok thanks... understood!

                          Comment

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