What can these tenants do next?

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    What can these tenants do next?

    This on behalf of my new friend and housemate who moved into our flat on the 17th March, but her (and her prev housemate's) previous joint shorthold tenancy at another property was until the 18th April. The reason for the overlap was so she and her friends could take their time moving out and clean the place top to bottom.

    Today they went round to move the last of their stuff out and clean and were astounded to find a group of Turkish men sitting in their lounge watching their TV! Thinking the Turkish guys were squatters my friend called the police, but when the police turned up the Turkish guys produced a piece of paper as a receipt for their deposit for living in the new flat. The landlord then turned up and was quite aggressive, he tried to blame the letting agency. The police left (not wanting to get involved).

    The new "tenants" had binned or were using the rest of the stuff my flatmate and her friends had left behind, and all mail for them had been binned (inc letters from utility companies acknowledging end of their tenancy). My friend managed to recover most of her stuff, however her ex housemates are still missing various items.

    They are planning a trip to the LA tomorrow to find out whats going on. They obviously want their deposits back in full (the LL is the type who would keep these for 'cleaning') and they want their rent back from the period the flat was re-let up until the end of their tenancy. My advice is to not talk to anyone in person but to now keep everything in writing so they have a record when/if it goes to court for any reason. Their LL sounds like a total bully (think Sheriff Fatman) and I can imagine he wouldn't just give in and hand over the money they want. LA's a re notorious for wriggling out of their responsibilities.

    I've suggested they ring shelter for advise, is this right? I also think they should ask for more money to replace the rest of the missing property from the LL.

    What exactly are their rights though and what should they do next?

    What about the utility companies whom they informed they'd be leaving on the 18th April so the bills are still technically in their name even though the Turkish Guys are using utilities now.

    Has any criminal offence being committed or is this all civil?

    Thanks in advance.

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