Property abandonment - but rent was paid

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    Property abandonment - but rent was paid

    Hi. I discovered last month that my tenant had not resided in the property since January 2022. Just after I did the inspection! This only came to my attention as I had no reply to emails and texts regarding some minor maintenance issues, as I have been receiving the rent regularly.
    Having done some detective work, it seems my tenant has left her kids with her parents and disappeared. Before you judge, this lady has had a seriously difficult 2 years, as one of her children died. I have supported her for several years and want to do the right thing.
    So I notified the phone, and email address I had details for, that I intended to enter the property and make it safe ( turned off water, gas and electricity). Although I subsequently learned that the phone had been left at her parents.
    She is not responding to any contact from her family, and I have tracked down a social worker who is in contact with her because of the children. I have asked that she lets me know her intentions.
    I have piled up the mail, had the garden tidied, and notified my insurer.
    I realise she is in breach of her contract ( leaving the property empty for a long period of time). My responsibilities regarding the contents are understood, but I do not have contents insurance.
    Yesterday the rent was not paid as I assume the council have been made aware that she is not living at the house, and have stopped Housing allowance.
    I would appreciate confirmation from you esteemed LL's that I am doing the right thing?
    Notice at property, email/mail to last known address. Repossession order.
    Anything else?

    #2
    It would help if you spent more time listing what you propose and less energy describing the scenario.

    Comment


      #3
      Assuming the T is no longer in their fixed term AST, then you can Serve notice (S21) on the T to leave, giving them 2 months notice, then you can take possession (as the T clearly doesn't live there), legally if you want possession you would need to go to court and get bailiffs to execute the warrant.

      Alternatively, serve a notice to quit, and take possession.

      Comment


        #4
        I named tenant no longer resides there then it's no longer an AST so no s21, no s8,,,

        In your shoes I'd serve TODAY a NTQ & an s21 (in case he moves back in).

        But best quickest option is agree tenancy surrender with him, in writing.
        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
          The council have ended payments. Contact them for clarification, and they may confirm the tenancy is over. She will no doubt contact council seeking help with a new place.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by gnvqsos View Post
            It would help if you spent more time listing what you propose and less energy describing the scenario.
            There was no waffle, The OP has told us clearly what she has done and why and is asking if she did the right thing. S/he is now asking for advice on the next step to take.

            If s/he is completely satisfied that the tenant has not been in the property for 6 months, then, assuming the tenancy gives the right to forfeit for non-payment of rent, s/he can re-enter.

            Comment


              #7
              Many thanks for your helpful reply.
              I re-entered to make the property safe. The house is still full of her and the children's possessions. She was on a rolling periodic tenancy agreement, which stipulates the LL should be informed if the property is to be uninhabited for more than 2 weeks, and the garden kept tidy. Both these were breached. So should I issue a repossession order alone? I am hoping the Social worker can persuade her to put in writing her intention to not live there any more.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by gnvqsos View Post
                The council have ended payments. Contact them for clarification, and they may confirm the tenancy is over. She will no doubt contact council seeking help with a new place.
                She is apparently living somewhere else. I strongly suspect my queries have affected the councils housing allowance payments!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                  I named tenant no longer resides there then it's no longer an AST so no s21, no s8,,,

                  In your shoes I'd serve TODAY a NTQ & an s21 (in case he moves back in).

                  But best quickest option is agree tenancy surrender with him, in writing.
                  Many Thanks.
                  Yes, I am hopeful the SW can obtain that in writing for me.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You don't need the social worker to get her to indicate that she doesn't intend to live there anymore.
                    You need the tenant to give notice (which is much more definite than that).

                    I'd carry on with your plan to serve notice under s21.

                    The contractual breaches you have referenced won't get a court to return possession to you.
                    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


                      #11
                      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                      I'd carry on with your plan to serve notice under s21.
                      But a section 21 notice will be void if the tenant is not living in the property.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                        But a section 21 notice will be void if the tenant is not living in the property.
                        That's possible.
                        But I still think it makes most sense.
                        There seems more chance that a court will see a routine AST/s21 pairing as OK than an much less usual AST/Notice to Quit pairing.
                        The chances are that the tenant isn't going to defend the claim.

                        But the idea that a tenancy entered into as an AST (or an AT) simply stops being one because someone is right now living somewhere else is hard to lock down.
                        It must happen at some point in time, but it's not obvious when.
                        It would be obvious after a few years, for example.

                        But it can't be too soon, because otherwise "living somewhere else for a short while" would be a problem for a lot of notices and obligations.
                        If you could move out for a month and it makes a section 21 notice invalid, that'd happen a lot.
                        We've seen possession claims under s21 being awarded against prisoners and the estates of the dead - and they're clearly not resident at the point the hearing took place.

                        I suspect it's either something that's decided on the facts (which means, broadly, made up on the spot) or it takes a lot longer than we might imagine, legal 'time' being an odd thing.

                        And, despite all that, there's no reason that a section 21 notice isn't simply a valid notice to quit with some superfluous text if s21 itself is found to be inappropriate.
                        It's not as if the content and intent of the notice isn't clear or any different.


                        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
                          The OP has already effectively taken over the property by turning off the gas, water and electricity. If the tenant has talen up permanent residence elsewhere the tenancy cannot be an AST.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                            If the tenant has taken up permanent residence elsewhere the tenancy cannot be an AST.
                            On the information given, how would the landlord prove that?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                              The OP has already effectively taken over the property by turning off the gas, water and electricity. If the tenant has talen up permanent residence elsewhere the tenancy cannot be an AST.
                              Or is attempting an illegal eviction.

                              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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