Tenant Surrendered Property Owing Money

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    Tenant Surrendered Property Owing Money

    Hi everyone!

    I hope someone can help me; rather speedily at that!

    My tenants have been in the property for 18 months (signed a new 12month lease in April). They have never missed a rental payment (although they\\\'ve been a bit of a nightmare in other ways). There last rental payment was due on the 01/10/2018, I received notification from them that due to some issues their payment was going to be late by 1 week and they would contact me when they had further information.

    One week passed and I had not heard anything so I sent a text message to the tenant asking for an update, nothing. So that same day I also posted a letter just stating that the rent was now 7 days overdue. They have been in contact this week saying that payment would be made.

    However, this morning I have received a text message to say that they are surrendering the property tomorrow as they have no way of paying owed rent or future rent. I have sent a message back outlining their owed monies (rent + charges for not giving notice etc) and asked for them to meet me at the property to hand over the keys etc.

    I've not as yet heard back from them so I have a couple of questions.
    1 - if they do not respond can I go to the property tomorrow and enter?
    2 - if they do respond what legal documents do I need to take with me to give to them there and then in regard to owed monies? (total £1125.00)

    Hope I've explained this correctly and that somebody can help!

    1) No. But you could give them 24 hours notice of an inspection.
    2) Write them a letter giving them 14 days from the date of the letter to clear the debt and give your bank details so they can pay it in. Then after 7 days write a letter before action (google that). Then start a money claim online. You can add court costs, solicitors costs, Litigant in Person fees, other expenses and costs and interest.


      To be entirely safe, the surrender should be in the form of a deed, amongst other things, that should be on paper and the signature should be witnessed. You don't have to accept the surrender, but it is likely to be in your interests to do so, if they are unable to pay ongoing rent.

      If they make an offer to pay the debt over a period of time, and it seems likely that their proposal is all they can afford, you should accept it as the courts may award costs against you if their decision has a no better outcome. You can always go back to court if they fail to keep up with their bargain.


        I'd get a deed of surrender signed by them and take the keys back, I'd also endeavor to conduct a check out with them so you can take pictures of the properties condition etc. Once they're gone I'd make a claim against the deposit to cover the unpaid rent with an option of pursuing them via MCOL for any outstanding amount. I would avoid doing anything to antagonize them whilst they still occupy the property, at least they are willing to move out recognizing they can't afford the rent this is much better that them deciding they can't afford the rent but will stay anyway.


          Do you have a deposit from which you can recover some of the money?


            As stated above, a deed of surrender is necessary by law.

            You may want to get a solicitor to draw it up.

            See also https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-of-surrender=
            and the discussion at https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-tenancy-early


              Originally posted by MdeB View Post
              As stated above, a deed of surrender is necessary by law.
              All that’s necessary in law is for the tenant to offer to surrender the tenancy and for the landlord to accept the offer. That ends the tenancy.

              A deed of surrender is ideal because it formally confirms the details. A sticking point is likely to be the money owed. The landlord is going to want that documented and the tenant isn’t. A deed silent on the debt weakens the landlords attempts to reclaim it.
              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).


                I was recollecting
                Originally posted by KTC View Post
                Conveyances of land must be by deed, other than creation of a lease of not more than three years. (s52, s54 Law of Property Act 1925)


                  Yes, but tenancy can be surrender by operation of law (aka implied surrender) based on the action of the parties. Conveyances must be by deed is important if you want to make any agreement that definitively by itself deteremine a tenancy, at a certain moment in time. Relatedly, a simple contract agreeing terms for a surrender at some future point for example wouldn't end the tenancy, and can be breached by either party with the only relief suing for breach of contract and separately having to serve s21 and go to court, or tenant's notice to quit as the case may be.
                  I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.


                    If the alternative to getting the property back quickly is to see the arrears increase and still having to face the costs and delay of possession proceedings, I'd do everything possible to smooth the tenants' departure. By all means get a deed of surrender, but don't antagonise the situation by raising the arrears until they are out. If you can do a checkout, and get them to sign off the outgoing report with meter readings. Worry about recovering the arrears (you probably won't) after you've turned around and relet the property.


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