Property Still Unoccupied - Current Tenant Notice Period?

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    Property Still Unoccupied - Current Tenant Notice Period?

    So my tenant has no intention of moving back into the property after being away in her home country for the last 6 months, she has informed she plans to stay there, but cannot return to move out. However she has now stopped paying rent and is not willing for me to put her possessions into storage, or officially surrender the tenancy. Of course I can now issue 6 month notice S21 from now as tenancy is rolling, and S8 notices soon when the rent is 2 months in arrears.

    However I did read somewhere that properties where the tenant has left and in other accommodation might not sit under these notice periods. There seems to be little information on this, so if correct does anyone know the process?

    Many thanks as usual.

    #2
    If the tenant has said that they're not coming back, you can confirm that you accept their offer to surrender the tenancy and that ends the tenancy without any other notice being required.

    You can try and make arrangements for her to collect her belongings (which she doesn't sound able to do).
    When she is not able to and a reasonable amount of time has passed you can bin them.
    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
      Yes, agreed If you have it in writing that she is not coming back, then accept this as an implied surrender and move her stuff into storage now for however long your tenancy agreement says you'll keep them. After that time and multiple efforts to return her possessions you can dispose of them. All of these costs are claimable from any deposit you took.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks. Well basically the tenant gave notice with date to be confirmed before lock down.

        Then she has been unreliable but basically paying rent while away more or less. I think this was to hold so that she could hopefully return to move out and get her personal items etc.

        Now she is struggling, has said she want to return to move out (in an email) but can't for a while because of covid. I've not had anything else official saying she doesn't want to live there anymore. I thought this might be shaky to just assume she no longer wants the tenancy? But based on all this information combined, and the fact it has been unoccupied so long could be good enough cause? (even though she is only just coming up to 2 month arrears).

        I did offer to keep her personal possessions to collect at a later date and dispose of furniture if she wanted, that kind of thing but she didn't agree to it?

        I could tell her I have assumes surrender and will keep her possessions and see her response?

        Comment


          #5
          That is not valid NTQ as no end date confirmed

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by srclinton View Post
            Thanks. Well basically the tenant gave notice with date to be confirmed before lock down.
            That's not valid notice, so we can ignore that.

            Then she has been unreliable but basically paying rent while away more or less. I think this was to hold so that she could hopefully return to move out and get her personal items etc.
            So she's still a tenant.

            Now she is struggling, has said she want to return to move out (in an email) but can't for a while because of covid. I've not had anything else official saying she doesn't want to live there anymore. I thought this might be shaky to just assume she no longer wants the tenancy? But based on all this information combined, and the fact it has been unoccupied so long could be good enough cause? (even though she is only just coming up to 2 month arrears).
            None of that changes anything.
            She can't have it both ways, though.
            She's either a tenant and still liable for the rent or she is ending the tenancy and can't leave her things there.

            I did offer to keep her personal possessions to collect at a later date and dispose of furniture if she wanted, that kind of thing but she didn't agree to it?
            Explain the situation.
            You can't leave the property unlet with no rent just so she can store her possessions.

            I could tell her I have assumes surrender and will keep her possessions and see her response?
            Nothing you have cited could possibly be interpretted as an offer to surrender, so you have nothing to accept.
            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


              #7
              Ok appreciate your comments. But I did read that accelerated court hearings could be heard where the tenant isn't physically living in the property for an extended period, but as I say this is otherwise lacking in information. Can I apply to the court to decide this whilst waiting for notice period to expire? She has said she will return to move out that is all. But when?

              So otherwise are my options only S21 and S8 route.

              PS if the tenant has stated they only intend to return to move out, now no longer paying rent etc, this is implying intention not to return to the tenancy isn't it? It's only a matter of the personal property that she is "holding' the flat.

              Comment


                #8
                I would suggest, based on what you have wrote, that she no longer occupies the dwelling-house as her only or principal home, so the tenancy (which is continuing) is no longer assured. As such, you can serve a notice to quit to end the tenancy if it's periodic.

                (There's prescribed information for landlord's NTQ, don't forget those. Otherwise, same requirements as a tenant's NTQ.)

                Arguably would still need court for actual eviction if tenant argues they haven't given up possession, but hey, the notice period is shorter.
                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
                  Sorry now I am a bit confused. To serve a notice to quit for a periodic tenancy would be a section 21 wouldn't it?

                  Or is it different if no longer the principal home? This is what I had read some official guidance about but can't seem to find it now and there was no official 'ground'. So if this is possible with shorter notice, what is it, and the process to officially serve notice?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A section 21 notice is not really a "notice to quit" in the traditional sense, even if they may sometimes be referred to as such by some, and (from the LL's point of view) are ultimately for the same purpose of ending a tenancy and obtaining a possession.

                    A s21 (or s8) notice in our context is a notice pursuant to that section of the Housing Act 1988. It only have any meaning for assured shorthold tenancy (s21) or more generally assured tenancy shorthold or otherwise (s8). The notice does not end the tenancy, it merely serves as a pre-condition for the LL to apply to the court for an order for possession.

                    A notice to quit is probably as old as the concept of tenancy in this country. It is a notification by either the tenant or the landlord to the other party that they wish the periodic tenancy not to continue on the notice expiry. Historic legal development (i.e. common law) mean the notice is required to be at least one period in length (or 6 months if tenancy is yearly), ending on the last day or first day of a period of tenancy. In modern day, additional requirement imposed by statue law requires the notice to be in writing, of at least 4 weeks in length, and include any information prescribed. No such information have been prescribed for a NTQ by a tenant, but as linked to earlier, there are prescribed information for a NTQ by a landlord. The expiry of a NTQ ends the tenancy, and the notice once served cannot be withdrawn or waived. Notice to quit is of no effect for an assured tenancy per the Housing Act 1988, but if the tenancy is no longer assured, then NTQ is how you end the tenancy.

                    As to still needing to go to court, I think that's down to s3 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which says that even if the tenancy has come to an end, if the occupier continues to reside in the premises or part thereof, the landlord are required to go to court to evict. I won't speculate whether a court will think whether your tenant still count as residing in the premises.
                    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


                      #11
                      Thanks for all of your input this is most helpful.

                      KTC, ah I understand now, great explanation. As far as I can tell there is nothing in the new Covid legislation that has changed this regarding a notice to quit where the tenant is not residing as their main or primary residence. As I say I had seen this somewhere where these type of cases can be progressed outside of the new Covid 19 notice periods to end an AST, but there was not detail on how to proceed in this case. So now am in a good position attempt to go this route. So I can server the notice and provide the prescribed information on the notice.

                      Would I be correct in thinking if I serve a notice to quit the tenancy has technically ended so I can not do a belt and braces and issue a S21 or S8. (in addition)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by srclinton View Post
                        Would I be correct in thinking if I serve a notice to quit the tenancy has technically ended so I can not do a belt and braces and issue a S21 or S8. (in addition)
                        Yes, you can.

                        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


                          #13
                          For a start, if you want to try this route, stop calling it an AST, which stands for Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Your position would be that the tenancy is no longer assured as the tenant no longer lives there "as her only or principal home". Kind of defeat your own argument if you're referring to the tenancy as an AST.

                          The tenancy only ends on the notice expiry, not service. I don't know whether a tenant can defeat a NTQ validly served by during the notice period causing the tenancy to become assured again by moving back. I would serve both the NTQ and a s21/s8 notice as belt and braces if it were me. Please take actual legal advice if you want more informed advice.
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                            Yes, you can.


                            Ok well why not then!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              How will you defend it if the tenant comes back and claims for illegal eviction? You may need to evidence that the tenant did not intend to return to the property. A refusal to surrender the tenancy doesn't help.
                              Having an extended stay overseas does not mean it ceases to become the principal home, and at the moment I expect that a lot of leeway will be given.
                              Coming to an agreement would probably be better; you could offer to ship some boxes back to her.

                              Comment

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