Can L enter premises if T's vacated?

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    Can L enter premises if T's vacated?

    My tennant has not resided in property for over 2 months.Arrears of rent have been requested via a note posted through the door.This of course brought no response because she wasn't there. So I telephoned her on her mobile on the 10th march, where upon she hung up on me before speaking.I then telephoned her back and left a message requesting rent or the return of keys.No response.My husband called at her mothers' house on the 22nd of March and spoke to the sister and left a message to return key and remove her belongings. No response.
    On the 27th of March we broke into the prperty .All belonigngs still there.We did not change the locks .
    Last night at 11.30pm she entered the property and removed a bed and some other things.She also bolted the rear door from inside so that I could not gain access again.
    Please advice what action I can now legally take to stop her gaining access and does she she still have the right to remove more belngings.
    Last edited by knitlass; 04-04-2005, 11:02 AM. Reason: mispelling

    You shouldn't have entered the property in the first place ! You could get done for that...

    The options to get your property back are:
    - the tenant gives you the keys back and clearly says (write) that she's giving up the tenancy
    - she's 2 months + in arrears and you issue a s.8 notice and take her to court to have her evicted and get your money back (if you're lucky)
    - if it's a 6 months tenancy and 4 months at least have past you can issue a s.21 notice to end the tenancy (you need 2 clear months notice) and then if she hasn't given the keys back you take her to court to get her evicted - just make sure you issue the right s.21 notice in the 1st place

    But DO NOT enter the property and/or change the locks because she could turn back and sue you.


      tennant has left property without giving notice

      Thank you Jennifer.
      Tennant's tennancy expired approx. 6 months ago and has not been renewed.However she continued to pay her rent until 25.1.05.She changed the lock on the front door and dispite numerous requests for a key none was forth coming.We have decided to sell the house as we are feed up with renting it and none paying tennants.Should I contact her again and ask her to remove all her property and return the keys.I am willing to right off the arrears so that I can put the property up for sale.


        Well it's worth a try ! I suspect if she wants to leave the property she'll be glad you are willing to write off her arears for the keys back !

        Make sure you get her to sign a paper saying she's leaving.
        And also don't accept for her to leave the keys in the property and never see her because you can't enter it without her giving the tenancy up first.

        Finally if you have any deposit, don't give it back before you are sure the property is in order.

        I'm not sure you can keep the deposit in place of rent though.. An expert would have to confirm this.


          tennant has left property without giving notice

          Thank you Jennifer .
          If the tennant does not have a tennancy agreement does she have any rights?She has not actually resided there for some 10 weeks.


            If she has never signed an agreement but paid you rent I believe a standard 6 months tenancy was created and she has all the rights of a tenant even though she hasn't signed anything.

            If what you mean is that she signed a 6 months agreement at the start of the tenancy but it wasn't renewed after 6 months then it is now a periodic tenancy and all the terms of the original agreement stand.


              The only certain way of course to obtain repossession is by serving a S.8 Ground 8 Notice together with any arrears to be sure of getting the property back legally, and it's probably the quickest route too! The judge will also order the arrears to be paid within 28 days or you could then ask for a warrant of execution which would leave her with a CCJ.

              My only reservation is that your having illegally broken into the property she could couter-sue if she has her wits about her.

              Your proceedings should be served at her last known address, which of course is your tenanted property - you don't have to go searching for her current residence.
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


                Can I enter my property?

                I let a good flat that had major conversion works done 3 years ago and has had 2 tenants. The first loved it and only left after 2 years to get married, the second has been a nightmare. This tenant complained almost incessantly by email for most of the 18 months both about the property, including threatening and abusive comments of a personal nature. There were some minor problems and misunderstandings early on but a small discount was offered and accepted by the tenant. After the year ‘s AST was up the tenant sent an email to express satisfaction with the property and a desire to stay another 6 months.

                After that the complaining emails started again and I eventually agreed to some further improvement/remedial works, primarily new windows which were about the only thing not updated 3 years ago. However the tenant started to withhold rent and said this would continue until all works were done to the tenant’s satisfaction. The tenant paid later and later and was eventually paying 6 weeks late. I said firmly that no works would be carried out while the rent was in arrears. When the tenant changed the lock on the front door (and deducted the cost from the already reduced rental), and blocked access from the rear, I decided enough was enough and gave formal notice in writing, duly witnessed, of 8 weeks to quit. I heard nothing for over 5 weeks and rang the tenant at work to be told the tenant had left and the keys were in the post. They hadn’t arrived after 2 days so I managed to confront the tenant at the workplace and the keys arrived the next day, anonymously, by first class mail and recorded delivery

                The 8 weeks expires in late June and the rent owed is around £600, that’s if the property is in good order. I have not received any written advice of the tenant having moved out, so:
                1) Am I legally allowed to enter the property before the 8 weeks expires?
                2) Can I take the tenant to the small claim court and claim rental to late June?

                Sound and knowledgeable advice welcome!


                  Entering the Property

                  You are not entitled to enter the property without the tenant's permission - full stop!
                  Do so at your own risk as the tenant can claim harassment - this has both criminal and civil consequences, and civil damages cases in the past have reached thousands in compensation.
                  It is not unheard of for tenants "in the know" to entice landlords into this action so they can claim.
                  Your tenant is in work, so a least you have a chance of recovering back-rent and any damage costs throught the Small Claims system.
                  You need to document everything, including a schedule of rent payments clearly showing missed amounts and your bank statements as proof - you should be regulalry sending the tenant these statements so he cannot deny knowledge later.
                  Try to meet your tenant and agree condition against any investory on leaving, and take along a camera/video to get good evidence of condition.
                  Anything beyond normal wear and tear including rubbish and furniture removal, cooker and carpet cleaning etc, get estimates and/or invoices.
                  Put your case together and go for the debt.
                  Hopefully you tenant will leave voluntarily at the end of his notice, otherwise you are into a possession order procedure, which will delay things further and could run up more arrears.
                  It's easy with hindsight, but the writing was on the wall with this tenant from an early stage - it's almost always possible to predict future problems once a parttern like this has been set. Once you have established this, cutting your losses at the earliest opportunity is the best option - you had your chance and you will know next time!


                    The tenant has gone but I don't have that in writing, just a comment on the phone a week ago, so can I go in?


                      Plan A:
                      Can I give 24 hours notice of inspection by email and sms, as I have done in the past, and then enter the empty property accompanied by a witness? There is a pile of unopened mail behind the door.

                      Plan B:
                      I went to see the tenant at the workplace last week and had to wait in the reception area (having been told by the staff the tenant wasn't there and I'd have to wait all day) until the tenant happened to walk past and I was able to ask about the keys. Meanwhile the tenant's employers had called the police, without telling me I had to leave, and so I explained the situation to the PC who saw no need to do more than simply talk to me, and then the tenant, separately. That's how I got the keys back. What if I ask the PC to tell me if the tenant told him of having moved out?

                      If neither of the above help then what on earth am I supposed to do?


                        Originally posted by Editor
                        You are not entitled to enter the property without the tenant's permission - full stop!
                        Do so at your own risk as the tenant can claim harassment - this has both criminal and civil consequences, and civil damages cases in the past have reached thousands in compensation.
                        It is not unheard of for tenants "in the know" to entice landlords into this action so they can claim.
                        Editor - I have to say this sounds more than a little far-fetched in gh53's case ... criminal consequences? "thousands in compensation"? Come on! Can you provide a reference to a single case in which an LL was successfully prosecuted or sued for entering a rented property from which he had good reason to believe his tenant had departed?
                        Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right


                          Plan C:
                          In front of 2 witnesses on April 28th, the tenant told me the lock had been changed on the entrance door and did not give me any copies of the keys. Logically if the keys that were posted to me open the door then surely that counts as permission from the tenant to enter the property - with a witness of course. Yes?


                            Similar Scenario

                            Write to the tenant - at the let property address and state that he appears to have abandoned the property (state your reasons why, eg pile of post) and if you do not hear anything to the contrary within, say 7 days - you will be changing the locks for the sake of security, and that he will need to contact you to gain access.

                            I know this is not the long winded legal process route, but this happened to me recently and it certainly did work - the tenant had abandoned the property and there were no repercussions! As he left early on in the contract, I am considering suing him in Small Claims Court for breach of tenancy!

                            I feel the above, would at least give you some defence - should he decide you have illegally evicted him.


                              Originally posted by lawstudent
                              Editor - I have to say this sounds more than a little far-fetched in gh53's case ... criminal consequences? "thousands in compensation"? Come on! Can you provide a reference to a single case in which an LL was successfully prosecuted or sued for entering a rented property from which he had good reason to believe his tenant had departed?
                              Horror Story - "I thought she'd gone!
                              A landlord lets a flat to a young lady. She only pays the first months rent.

                              She then starts behaving badly, she has loud parties and the neighbours complain. Her boy friend causes a disturbance at the property on several occasions and kicks one of the doors in. The police are called in several times.

                              The landlord goes round several times to ask for the rent. He tells her that unless she pays the rent and behaves properly she will have to go. On at least one occasion he loses his temper and shouts at her.

                              One week he finds that she is not at the property. He continues to visit the property but she is never there. After about three weeks he suspects that she has left and uses his keys to gain entry.

                              The house is in a filthy condition and it is obvious that no-one has been there for some time. It is full of rubbish and there is mouldy food in the kitchen. He finds some of her personal things, such as a purse with £12 in it, clothes in the wardrobe and chest of drawers in the bedroom, and some videos in the lounge. However he decides that she has left, bags up all the items left in the property, and changes the locks.

                              None of the items left in the property being saleable, he dumps them (apart from the money in the purse which he takes against the rent arrears), re-decorates the flat, and then re-lets it to another tenant.

                              Two months later he learns of a scene at the flat when the she tries to gain entry and is refused by the new tenant. He is subsequently served with a county court summons for damages for harassment and unlawful eviction together with a claim for compensation for her property, and a notice stating that she has been awarded legal aid.

                              He loses the case and is ordered to pay compensation to the tenant, although the sum is reduced to take account of her unpaid rent and damage to the flat. He also has to pay her legal costs which run into several thousand pounds, as well as his own solicitors bill.


                              Moral - Do not just repossess a property if you think the tenant has gone, without getting a court order, however large the rent arrears are. Note - this landlord could also have had a criminal prosecution brought against him in the Magistrates Court.

                              The full horror story only happens rarely - but this does not mean it cannot happen to you!

                              This article is posted on the Landlord Law Website lawstudent.
                              GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING: I am a woman and am therefore prone to episodes of PMT... if you don't like what I have to say you can jolly well put it in your pipe and SMOKE IT!!

                              Oh and on a serious note... I am NOT a Legal person and therefore anything I post could be complete and utter drivel... but its what I have learned in the University called Life!


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