Tenancy advice please re non payment of rent!

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    Tenancy advice please re non payment of rent!

    We gave our tenant 2 months notice mid December and they wrote to say they were leaving a couple of weeks after that which we accepted. Since then they've not handed the keys back but actually vacated the property prior to us giving notice so it has been empty for a while. They have now missed the 2 rental payments during the 2 months notice and have also changed the locks at some point during the tenancy themselves. Our agency advised we cannot go and gain access to the property until the 2 months notice is up. By this point the amount of the rent due (2 months) isn't covered by the bond that is held by deposit protection scheme. Have no idea why they are doing this as they now live elsewhere. I just want to know our rights in case the agency aren't advising us correctly. Any help appreciated!

    #2
    I had a T not return the keys once after she'd left. She said she wouldn't return the keys until I returned her deposit. I told her that as long as she had the keys the tenancy would continue. Tenants can have two tenancies going at the same time. For all you know it might be a ruse to get you to take over the property and they can come back and claim illegal eviction.

    The agency is wrong. Your 2 months notice (a Section 21 I will assume) does not actually end the tenancy. It only tells the tenant that you intend to seek possession after the two months. You might, or you might not, seek possession.

    The tenant has left but they need to give you a month's notice, even if you've given them a S21. (or you can come to an agreement whereby they surrender their tenancy). It seems you accepted their couple of weeks' notice and that's ok.

    You need to contact them asking for the return of the keys and say that that will legally end the tenancy, but until then the rent remains due.

    If you can't contact them you'll have to apply to the courts for possession. Not good, but better than being 'done' for illegal eviction.

    Request the return of the deposit in full. This might prompt the tenants to contact you.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your comments. It does worry us as it's our only property we let out and we've had nothing but trouble. I might add that it's in Wales so not sure if rules are different? The tenant has moved to a relative's house so isn't renting anywhere else, so I find it odd that he'd want to keep an empty property that he was paying rent on - until we gave notice which is when the payments stopped. We have no direct contact with him, just through the agent who aren't proving to be the most helpful.

      So when the 2 months comes to an end and if we still have no keys are we allowed to go to the property and change the locks? Surely having given 2 months notice and the fact she agreed to leave early, plus the non payment of rent I'd have thought this would be in our rights (but am expecting not!). We need to gain access so that we can rent it out again or sell. Every day that passes we are losing money.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Willowthewisp View Post
        So when the 2 months comes to an end and if we still have no keys are we allowed to go to the property and change the locks? Surely having given 2 months notice and the fact she agreed to leave early, plus the non payment of rent I'd have thought this would be in our rights (but am expecting not!). We need to gain access so that we can rent it out again or sell. Every day that passes we are losing money.
        It depends on your view of risk, the tenancy hasn't actually ended when the notice expires and if you do re-take possession there's a chance that the tenant could try and take legal action against you.
        It's probably a remote chance, but it does exist.

        When the tenant wrote to say they were leaving, what did they say and how did you respond?
        There's a reasonable chance the tenancy ended then, and so they don't owe any rent and you can simply repossess.

        The agent isn't helping you by giving you incorrect advice.

        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
          Thanks for your input....They wrote via email to the agent that they would leave on a particular date and would hand the keys back. The agent then informed us and if we wanted to agree to this we just had to reply in writing back to the agent, which we did. That date is now over a month ago.

          Comment


            #6
            Serve s8g8 & 10 + 11 TODAY. Explain what intentionally homeless will mean.

            Copy S8 to council so they don't waste effort or scarce housing on these cheats
            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


              #7
              Originally posted by Willowthewisp View Post
              Thanks for your input....They wrote via email to the agent that they would leave on a particular date and would hand the keys back. The agent then informed us and if we wanted to agree to this we just had to reply in writing back to the agent, which we did. That date is now over a month ago.
              OK, while these things are never 100% black and white, it's reasonable to presume that the offer to leave and return the keys is an offer to surrender the tenancy which you, (via the agency) have accepted.
              Really a surrender is meant to happen "now" and you can't surrender in future, but it happens all the time.

              Alternatively, the tenant's message was notice, which, again, you have accepted.

              I think that you can assume that the tenancy ended when the tenant moved out, which means that no further rent is due and you can retake possession.

              There is a grey area because the tenant didn't actually return the keys, but if someone can contact them and point out that if they don't return the keys they'll be charged for breaking into the property that they've got the only keys for, they might just appear.

              That is making a lot of assumptions, chief of which is that the tenant also thinks they've ended the tenancy and won't object to you taking it back.

              If you want to be more sure, talk to a solictor, because I can't give legal advice - being an anonymous bloke on a website!
              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


                #8
                Thank you! Yes the tenant may not actually realise he actually owes money given he's moved out, but he had been written to/emailed/phoned a number of times by the agent explaining the situation and the response rate is poor. We will definitely check regarding the issue surrounding whether the tenancy has in fact ended due to the 'surrender' of the property in writing. Just don't want to have to go down the eviction route if possible.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You can't have it both ways.
                  If the tenancy ended when the tenant moved out, the rent ended then as well.
                  If the tenancy is ongoing, the tenant owes rent, but you can't repossess.
                  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


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                    You can't have it both ways.
                    If the tenancy ended when the tenant moved out, the rent ended then as well.
                    If the tenancy is ongoing, the tenant owes rent, but you can't repossess.
                    I think that OP is saying that T remained in possession beyond the end of a rental period up to the date given in their notice, no rent was paid for the next rental period and therefore rent is due for that period of occupation.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks yes that all makes sense. It's either one way or the other, but if the agent have got it wrong and it did end when they moved out we could have gained access a long while ago. Or if it was a months notice from that date that has now passed also.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                        I think that OP is saying that T remained in possession beyond the end of a rental period up to the date given in their notice, no rent was paid for the next rental period and therefore rent is due for that period of occupation.
                        That's possible, but if that was argued it weakens the surrender position, because the tenant didn't actually return the keys.
                        As they changed the locks, they haven't actually returned possession to anyone.

                        As you can't actually surrender in advance, the argument is already shaky enough!
                        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

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