Applied for possession order but tenant has left

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    Applied for possession order but tenant has left

    Hello, just wondering if anyone can give me some advice. We have applied for a possession order on a property, and believe that the tenant has left (removing carpets (ours) and his belongings). How soon can we get into the property and change the locks (the tenant had previously done this so we do not have keys for the property now). Do we wait until we have the possession order and if we have the possession order does that mean we are able to enter the property? Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks for reading.

    Write (yes WRITE!.., keep copy) letter with notification of inspection, normal within legal timescales etc , then inspect.

    Report theft of carpets to Police, get CRN.

    PO is 1st step to re-posession. It needs to be "executed" by bailiffs. But if they really have gone then can go with implied surrender.

    At least they have gone. I had tenants who took carpets (.. cr*p......) in doing so ripped storage radiators off walls... As it happened it needed complete re-furb.... new carpets, new storage rads.
    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...


      The situation is quite complicated and there isn't a right answer. There's a perfect zero risk answer, but it isn't always appropriate.

      In an ideal world, you serve notice, the tenant moves out and makes it clear that they have left (they hand the keys back, you watch them move out, you inspect the empty property together as you "check them out").
      Because the notice itself doesn't end the tenancy, the process of surrendering it and your acceptance of that is actually a key part of the process.

      When it doesn't happen by the book there are (basically) two options.
      One is to take the court route to repossession.
      This is the only perfectly safe route forward.
      It costs money and a lot of time, but is the only process that returns possession of the property to you with no risk.

      The other route is to form the conclusion that the tenant has, by their actions, surrendered the property.
      They have clearly moved out, which is an offer to surrender that you accept and retake possession.
      The risk with this is that if the tenant turns up afterwards and claims that you have illegally evicted them, they might have a case.

      Obviously, you would have a reasonable defence, but as you would have actually evicted them without following the proper process, it is quite possible that your defence might fail or only serve to mitigate the sentence.

      So it's simply a matter of how you feel about the risk and how you assess the likelihood is that the tenants have simply moved out.
      And there's no simple answer.

      Underlying the issue is that many tenants don't understand this problem (partially because it's stupid) and, particularly if they have arrears, will not communicate because they don't understand that they're complicating the process, and, probably running up more debt).

      In this case, I'd be tempted to try and explain to the tenants that they need to confirm they have moved out, otherwise you'll have to go to court which will cost them hundreds of pounds.
      Then I'd probably repossess and risk it - but that's a personal view and I don' get fined/sent to prison if I'm wrong.

      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).


        HI thanks. We have applied for a possession order and the courts served notice on 29th September. It is believed that he moved out a week later. Once we have the possession order do we still need to get the bailiffs involved, or as it appears that he has gone that we are within our legal rights to change the locks ourselves. It appears through looking through the window that his furniture and belongings have gone, apart from some books which are strewn across the front room. Will report any missing items to the police but obviously we can't do that until we can gain access. Any advice would be greatfully received. thanks


          The advice is the same as above.
          The court order can only be executed by bailiffs.

          If you think the tenant has really left, you can repossess, but there are risks associated with that.
          Your view of those risks is the answer to your question.
          What anyone else would do doesn't really matter (they aren't looking in the same window with experience of the same tenants).
          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).


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