Tenant has rent arrears, can Landlord change locks?

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  • Tenant has rent arrears, can Landlord change locks?

    A new tenant signed an AST in December 2009 for 3 years through a letting agent.
    After paying the deposit the tenant has cancelled direct debits and has paid no rent for the third month running.

    All attempts to contact him via phone email or by visiting the property have been unsucessful.

    His work telephone number etc is non functional.The tenant's referee has disappeared

    I suspect he is either subletting the property or plans to live there rent free at my expense as long as possible,

    The insurance firm is issuing eviction orders through the courts which can take another 2 months.I may not be able to recover any rent unless I take the tenant to court myself as the insurance won't cover for this.

    Can I as Landlord change the locks at the property and ask tenant to pay the rent if he wants to re enter the property? I already have emailed them and informed them of my intention to change locks but the tenant has studiously ignored all contact

  • #2
    Originally posted by mad7doc@aol.com View Post
    A new tenant signed an AST in December 2009 for 3 years through a letting agent.
    After paying the deposit the tenant has cancelled direct debits and has paid no rent for the third month running.

    All attempts to contact him via phone email or by visiting the property have been unsucessful.

    His work telephone number etc is non functional.The tenant's referee has disappeared

    I suspect he is either subletting the property or plans to live there rent free at my expense as long as possible,

    The insurance firm is issuing eviction orders through the courts which can take another 2 months.I may not be able to recover any rent unless I take the tenant to court myself as the insurance won't cover for this.

    Can I as Landlord change the locks at the property and ask tenant to pay the rent if he wants to re enter the property? I already have emailed them and informed them of my intention to change locks but the tenant has studiously ignored all contact
    No, you cannot change the locks or regain possession of your property at this stage - even if the T has vacated, this could be construed as illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence. The tenancy has not ended. Your T is liable for the rent for the whole of the fixed term, or until a formal surrender is agreed or a court order granted for possession.

    All you can do is issue a section 8 ground 8 notice and follow the due legal process to get your property back and the rent not covered by the insurance, I'm afraid.
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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