Can I refuse to renew an AST agreement?

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    Can I refuse to renew an AST agreement?

    I have had the same tenant for 10 years. Until October 2020 he always paid his rent on time, he never bothered me, I never bothered him. He never asked for anything, I just left him to it. Every year I asked him if he wanted to renew his AST for another year and he said yes. He has now stopped paying rent and disappeared. His rent is now 3 weeks late and he does not respond to my daily texts, emails, WhatsApp and phone calls. For the first time in 7 years I visited the flat (it's a small studio flat in London. I live in Birmingham). He was not there. The neighbours told me that they had heard alarms going off in the flat so I considered I was within my rights to enter the flat and make an emergency safety check.
    The flat is completely full of garbage, mostly bottles, cans, food wrappers, etc, up to head height. The bathroom is destroyed and obviously hasn't been used for years. (There are numerous 2 litre Coke bottles full of urine amongst the garbage.)
    His AST agreement expires on Dec. 21st 2020. His rent was due on Oct 22nd - I sent him a reminder on Nov 3rd and at the same time asked him if he wanted to renew his AST for another year. No response. Obviously, now that I have seen the state of the flat - it is basically wrecked - I want him out of there.
    With the help of the police, I have found out that my tenant is now staying with his parents in the north of England. He has mental health issues. He is still not responding to my messages and may not be capable of doing so.
    What can I do? Obviously, I want him out of there. Can I just not renew his AST (after Dec 21st) ? On what legal grounds can I not renew it? Should I have given him 2 months notice that I was not going to renew it? Can I refuse to renew it on the grounds that he has broken the terms of the AST, ie keeping the flat in good condition, hygiene, not reporting maintenance issues etc. (I found a leaking pipe under the garbage so the whole hallway is sodden).
    Any advice much appreciated.

    #2
    Sad situation, I've been through similar.
    It shouldn't be too difficult to find the parents.
    I'd get them on side with a view to the tenant signing a deed of surrender.

    Comment


      #3
      Best case scenario tenant voluntarily signs a 'Surrender of Tenancy' (which must be witnessed) . Otherwise has to go through the courts, either by serving a section 21 (No fault) eviction, or a section 8 (if you think there is any hope in hell of claiming back arrears/money for damages), then after 6 months notice you can make a possession order, then when that is granted you need the baliffs' warrant to formally evict. Then you have to store their crap for 3 months (minus the piss/rotting food) before you can get rid of it/sell it. Totally f*cked up and unnecessarily drawn out process, but that's how it is. You should avoid daily calls/texts etc as this could be classed as harassment, especially given the tenants' mental health issues. Send a formal letter by registered post to current place of residence, asking about their intentions (with a tenancy surrender letter included with a stamped addressed return envelope), and notification that you will start court proceedings if no reply within 7 days.
      https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/...tion-8-notices

      Comment


        #4
        Could o/p issue not issue a month's notice, now property is not tenant's home?

        FTA, I'd have thought T's parents would be the last people to cooperate in ending tenancy.

        Comment


          #5
          Protection from Eviction Act makes it clear that it is both a civil wrong and a criminal offence to repossess a property other than via a court order for possession. So any landlord who repossesses without one is always taking a risk. Unless the keys have been returned (signalling surrender of the property) then abandonment has to be proven or landlord risks a civil claim against themselves; for example if tenant was in hospital for mental health treatment and then returned it would be classed a 'long absence' and any eviction would be illegal.
          https://landlordlawblog.co.uk/?s=abandonment

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JK0 View Post
            Could o/p issue not issue a month's notice, now property is not tenant's home?

            FTA, I'd have thought T's parents would be the last people to cooperate in ending tenancy.
            1. How are you going to prove it? Even in normal times, 3 weeks and a month's notice wouldn't qualify as abandonment. The tenant could very well be in lockdown with parents, in hospital or in nick.

            2. I've found tenant's family to be extremely cooperative in such situations when approached sympathetically and fairly. You're helping them to deal with the problem.

            3. What on earth does 'FTA' mean? -Free Trade Agreement? Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody? Fun, Travel, Adventure?

            (Edit; cross posted with LordSuch.)

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by LordSuch View Post
              Protection from Eviction Act makes it clear that it is both a civil wrong and a criminal offence to repossess a property other than via a court order for possession. So any landlord who repossesses without one is always taking a risk. Unless the keys have been returned (signalling surrender of the property) then abandonment has to be proven or landlord risks a civil claim against themselves; for example if tenant was in hospital for mental health treatment and then returned it would be classed a 'long absence' and any eviction would be illegal.
              https://landlordlawblog.co.uk/?s=abandonment
              Yes, obviously get a court order after the month's notice.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by boletus View Post

                3. What on earth does 'FTA' mean? -Free Trade Agreement? Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody? Fun, Travel, Adventure?

                (Edit; cross posted with LordSuch.)
                I guess you were cross.

                FTA is an abreviation for 'Further thoughts added'.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by JK0 View Post

                  Yes, obviously get a court order after the month's notice.
                  It certainly wasn't obvious, it was misleading at best.

                  Originally posted by JK0 View Post

                  FTA is an abreviation for 'Further thoughts added'.
                  YMIU
                  (You're Making It Up)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JK0 View Post

                    FTA is an abreviation for 'Further thoughts added'.
                    or 'Further To Article'
                    or 'F*ck Them All' (which was the first that came to mind for me tbh)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This is how the tenant has left the flat. Does the fact that he has wrecked the flat give me just cause not to renew his Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement? There is no working toilet or shower or even sink. No access to kitchen (through the archway, buried in garbage). The flat is basically uninhabitable.
                      And, to update, I have made contact with his family, who had no idea of the conditions he was living/existing in. They are very concerned and seem like very kind people. I have asked them to persuade him to give up the tenancy as he cannot continue living like this- basically sleeping on top of piles of crap. I asked them to try to get him to email me saying he does not want to renew his AST. If he does this, is this sufficient or do I definitely need a Surrender of Tenancy document?
                      Thank you.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                        Could o/p issue not issue a month's notice, now property is not tenant's home?

                        FTA, I'd have thought T's parents would be the last people to cooperate in ending tenancy.
                        JKO, what does o/p stand for (I'm new at all this) ?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It stands for original poster. You could try sending those pics to his parents and see if they can persuade him to surrender or give you notice.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Good lord...... that is uninhabitable. The local authority environmental department would condemn that on sight.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree with boletus, get parents on side and they will help you get the deed of surrender. Then get a bloody big skip!

                              Comment

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