Abondonment.

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    Abondonment.

    I had a benefits tenant email the estate agency telling them they intended to leave and would hand the keys in that week. They had a 12 month AST which does not end until November 2019 The agency contacted them stating that they would be liable for rent etc. Their response was “we have already moved”
    I asked the agent if they could find out when they intended to bring the keys in. The response from the tenant via email was “sometime this week, I am busy” Incidentally their phone number no longer worked so it was not possible to contact them by phone.
    I went to look through the window of the property and could see that the property had been emptied. The estate agent then suggested that a seven day abandonment notice was placed on the property. This was done last Thursday. They have subsequently sent a friend into the estate agents to leave the keys.
    I have since been told by the estate agent that I will not be able to use Leeds Vs Broadley with regard to the council tax as an abandonment notice was placed on the property, is that correct ?

    #2
    Ask the agent to explain what legal status they think an "abandonment notice" has and what effect it can possibly have on council tax.
    There's no such thing as an abandonment notice.

    What has actually happened is that you have probably accepted the tenant's surrender by accepting the keys and thereby brought the tenancy to an end.
    That ends the tenant's liability for council tax and utilities.
    The liability for paying rent ended at that point.

    If that's not what you want to happen, you need to confirm to the tenant that you are not accepting the surrender and that the tenancy continues (providing the agent hasn't accepted the surrender on your behalf).
    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, there initially was a strongly worded email sent to the tenant explaining refusal to accept early surrender and their ongoing liability.
      I have been informed the keys were left in the estate agency by a friend of the tenants in a sealed envelope and the friend turned on their heels and left.

      Comment


        #4
        Read this, it's tricky: "Abandonment" has no real legal meaning....
        https://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/20...ing-the-locks/

        - but good news about the keys. Arrange an inspection promptly, take witness & LOADS of photos.
        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...

        Comment


          #5
          Leeds v Broadley appears to have no relevance in this case.

          The tenancy is still in its fixed term, so council is required to pursue T for council tax until the tenancy is properly ended.

          Leeds v Broadly is a ruling that a tenancy that has an initial term of at least 6 moths and has become contractual periodic is a single tenancy of at least 6 months, and therefore the council must pursue the T for council tax if T leaves before the tenancy is properly ended.(https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2016/1213.html)

          Your agent appears not to understand the law. I would suggest terminating your agreement with them on this basis (what else do they not understand?) and find an agent that does know the law.

          Comment

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