Tenant moved out but still holds keys

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    Tenant moved out but still holds keys

    I had two tenants in a property. They fell out and one moved out two and a half months before the end of the tenancy agreement. He took all his belongings but still has the keys. It's a 6 month contract and it states he has to give two months notice after four months into the tenancy, which means he can't break the contract. He agreed initially to continue paying the rent but when I asked for the keys back he says then the remaining tenant should pay the full rent if he's going to return the keys before the end of the term. I'm asking for the keys back because I think the remaining tenant is entitled to his privacy and it wouldn't be nice if someone who no longer lived there came and went without his knowledge or consent. My lawyer says I need to get a deed of surrender signed but advised me not to release her as she is still liable for another two months rent. Can I change that locks and provide the remaining tenant with a new set of keys? Would that be legal?

    #2
    You can't exclude the tenant and still insist the tenancy is ongoing.

    If the remaining tenant is worried about their privacy, allow them to change the locks.
    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
      Thanks for responding. Not trying to exclude anyone. Just a case of respecting the remaining tenant's privacy and safety. It's ok then to change the locks and not have the other tenant raise a legal ruckus later? That's what I'm worried about.

      Comment


        #4
        The remaining tenant is also responsible for their privacy and safety.
        They can change the locks, but you can't.

        If you change the locks, that excludes the other tenant, who could use it as a defence to any claim for further rent owed.

        If they're joint tenants they're both responsible for all the rent and any damage (whether resident or not).
        If they're not joint tenants, the one that left is responsible for their rent until their tenancy ends.

        If they're joint tenants, the notice is going to get all sorts of complicated (because one joint tenant can't give notice without the other one's agreement in the fixed term of a tenancy).
        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


          #5
          I understand. Thanks jpkeates.

          Comment

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