Tenant Leaving - Full Notice Not Given

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    Tenant Leaving - Full Notice Not Given

    Hi

    One of my tenants is in process of buying a property. Tenant is on monthly periodic and has now told me will vacate in a weeks time and asking can I agree a reduction in the rent. Even in normal circumstances, the only way I could consider this is if I could re-let the property quickly. Due to Covid and the property being in our epicentre, the answer has to be no.

    Before I write to the tenant, can I just clarify some points?

    1) If the tenant leaves in a weeks time, so long as I do not accept a surrender and do not enter the property, tenant is still liable for council tax up till the last day of the periodic tenancy?
    Same goes for the utilities.

    2) I think it is very unlikely I will advertise the property now, but if I did, is the tenant still liable to show potential tenants around even though tenant has vacated early of own free will.

    3) Tenant has not paid this months rent, it was due 2 days ago. Obviously, I could agree to take this from the Deposit but that leaves me a weeks deposit for any damages. What happens if there is a dispute over damages between the time tenant leaves and the actual end of tenancy date? For example, what if someone accesses the property and causes damage. Is the tenant liable because property has been vacated early?

    4) Even on the official checkout date, I'm not sure if the government would permit the journey to London (essential/non-essential?), its over 200 miles. What should tenant do with the keys - registered post?

    5) Assuming all is ok, when would I have to return deposit - is it still within 10 days, even if I haven't been able to check tenant out.

    Property isn't managed by an agency.

    Many thanks
    Claymore

    #2
    1 - In theory, yes, but, in practice, the council will charge you from when the tenant says they've left and nothing you can do will pursuade them otherwise. The utilities are essentially the same.

    2 - If the tenancy is ongoing the tenant would be able to show people round. However, they shouldn't let people into the property while they're there because of Covid 19. They could possibly open the door, step back 2 meters and let people look around without being involved.

    3 - The tenant is liable until the tenancy ends, hether they live there or not.

    4 - I'd pay a local 3rd party to do the check out. Tenant gives them keys, if you've got a spare set, have them left in the property.

    5 - No one enforces the 10 day deadline, so it's probably academic. But if someone else does the checkout, you should be OK.
    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
      Continuation of 4) If I am able to get an agent to check the tenant out, I presume I would arrange for this to be done on the last day of the monthly periodic. If I arrange it earlier, I would assume surrender and be liable for everything from that point forward?

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
        1 - In theory, yes
        I think the Local Government Finance Act 1992 will disagree with you there.

        1. No both in theory and and in practice for council tax unless the periodic tenancy is a continuation of a fixed term of at least six months in a CPT.

        2. The tenant wouldn't have be liable to show people around anyway unless you have some special agreement with them?

        Continuation 4. Yes.
        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.

        I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

        Comment


          #5
          You don't want to give any indication you are accepting the tenant's offer to surrender.
          So you could ask the tenant's permission to do the inspection earlier, but I don't think that's helpful to you.

          If the check out found nothing wrong and then something happened before the end of the tenancy, you'd have an issue showing it was the tenant.

          Normally, I'd pretty much just accept the tenant moving out as the end of the tenancy, but, given the current situation, I'd go for the full tenancy term.

          Your tenant may find that they can't move out - I thought the government's advice to solicitors is not to exchange or complete (only completing if exchange had already happened).
          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


            #6
            KTC,

            Tenancy is a continuation of a fixed term of 12 months.

            No special agreement. Clause in AST states for Tenant to Permit viewings in the last two months of agreement. In these current times, I wouldn't even consider asking. I just wanted to be clear on legalities before putting pen to paper.




            Comment


              #7
              JPK, the tenant has been nothing but a princess throughout tenancy. A classic type of tenant who thinks she lives in a prestigious hotel, sends me messages about the slightest of non-urgent issues as if they are extremely urgent and should have been addressed yesterday.

              Tenant has chosen to ignore the advice of the Government and stated she isn't bothered about removal firms as her family would be moving her. I understand the purchase is chain free and exchange happened yesterday. I really hope none of the family members doing the move need the NHS during this awful time. She could very well end up with a guilty conscience.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Claymore View Post
                Tenancy is a continuation of a fixed term of 12 months.
                Tenant is liable for council tax until the end of the tenancy if CPT with initial term of 12 months. Prepare to send proof of such tenancy to council, and point them to Leeds City Council v Broadley [2016] EWCA Civ 1213.

                Clause in AST states for Tenant to Permit viewings in the last two months of agreement.
                Permit viewings is just that. They let you and prospective tenants in for viewings. Nothing more.
                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.

                I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Look on the bright side - they are leaving. Imagine if their purchase fell through due to losing their job due to the coronavirus and they decided to stay. Say they could no longer afford the rent but refused to vacate. I read that the government has legislated a temporary ban on evictions for six months. What would happen then? That is what might be happening in my rental property. My advice: never mind the outstanding bills, just be glad they are leaving - it could have been much worse.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Absolutely.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Claymore View Post
                      KTC,

                      Tenancy is a continuation of a fixed term of 12 months.
                      So is it a SPT or a CPT? That is what affects council tax.

                      Either way, I would hope that the contract provides for tenant to be liable for council tax until the end of the tenancy, so that for a SPT you can claim it back from tenant.

                      Personally, I would write to say that they have not given proper notice and so the tenancy continues until they do (unless you have made some other agreement regarding their notice; e.g. when a tenant has said they are buying a place I have agreed to be flexible over notice).

                      Comment

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