tenant abandonment?

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  • tenant abandonment?

    my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

    it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

    i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

    am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?

  • #2
    Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
    my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

    it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

    i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

    am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?
    No, you're not. If you do, you risk being arrested on a charge of illegal eviction (a prisonable crime).

    There is 'no sign of life' in most student houses most mornings, but it doesn't mean they don't still live in there.

    Unless you can get in contact with your T and agree a signed written surrender (assuming he wants to leave), then you must validly serve the appropriate Notice Requiring Possession and follow the due process, including obtaining a court order for possession. Do not change the locks or re-let the property until you are granted possession legally.
    '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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    • #3
      Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
      my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

      it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

      i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

      am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?
      As mind the gap posts, no.
      More important: is the fixed term still runnng or has it already expired?
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
        As mind the gap posts, no.
        More important: is the fixed term still runnng or has it already expired?
        With respect I would suggest it is 'more important' that OP does not rush in and change locks and re-let! He should not do that whether the tenancy is still in its fixed term or an SPT.

        The nature of the tenancy is next most important, perhaps.
        '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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        • #5
          But any letting within the 1988 Act:
          a. ceases to be within it if T is not using the premises as only/main residence; and
          b. cannot be statutorily continued beyond fixed-term expiry if T is no longer resident.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
            But any letting within the 1988 Act:
            a. ceases to be within it if T is not using the premises as only/main residence; and
            b. cannot be statutorily continued beyond fixed-term expiry if T is no longer resident.
            Yes, in theory, but we both know that until/unless a. can be proved* and thus b. will obtain (*which may be fraught with difficulties), in practice a LL would be risking a charge of illegal eviction to assume they are the case.

            In OP's case it certainly seems unwise to rely on the possibility (rather than the certainty), that T has ceased to use the property as his main residence, etc.
            '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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            • #7
              well, i'll be changing the locks and re letting the flat this week, and ill tell you why

              many housing benefit tenants get up and go without telling me and start claiming at other properties and i get stung with an overpayment when the council finds out (likely to be the case here)

              fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)

              his neighbours havent seen him for a month, i can use them as witnesses if he comes back - does this help to prove abandonment i wonder?

              i understand what mind the gap is saying - but i wouldnt view this view as the common sense opinion based on the facts i have given

              but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?

              all other opinions on all the above would be much appreciated...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                Yes, in theory, but we both know that until/unless a. can be proved* and thus b. will obtain (*which may be fraught with difficulties), in practice a LL would be risking a charge of illegal eviction to assume they are the case.

                In OP's case it certainly seems unwise to rely on the possibility (rather than the certainty), that T has ceased to use the property as his main residence, etc.
                I agree- like any civil dispute, it's always a question of evidence (and the balance of probabilities).
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
                  well, i'll be changing the locks and re letting the flat this week, and ill tell you why

                  many housing benefit tenants get up and go without telling me and start claiming at other properties and i get stung with an overpayment when the council finds out (likely to be the case here)

                  fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)

                  his neighbours havent seen him for a month, i can use them as witnesses if he comes back - does this help to prove abandonment i wonder?

                  i understand what mind the gap is saying - but i wouldnt view this view as the common sense opinion based on the facts i have given

                  but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?

                  all other opinions on all the above would be much appreciated...
                  I am not sure why you are seeking opinions (mine or anyone else's) when you have already decided to act illegally. Please stop wasting our time.
                  '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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
                    but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?
                    You could argue so; but it probably wouldn't cut any ice when you're in the dock of a Criminal Court being prosecuted.
                    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
                      fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)
                      By asked, do you mean told? If so, he's probably gone because of that and you're lucky he hasn't pursued you for illegal eviction.

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                      • #12
                        not wasting anyone's time mind the gap, relax

                        i made my decision based on your overly cautious reply, based on my tenancy experiences and the present situation

                        if i followed ur cautious advice, ill prob be 3/4 months out of rent waiting for the possession order

                        this doesnt make prudent economic sense (as gordon brown used to say) - therefore in this instance i'm deciding to take the risk

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WarwickGrad View Post
                          this doesnt make prudent economic sense (as gordon brown used to say) - therefore in this instance i'm deciding to take the risk
                          I believe Gordon Brown was the tenant who refused to leave...

                          (Lame Political Joke)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by roryl View Post
                            I believe Gordon Brown was the tenant who refused to leave...

                            (Lame Political Joke)
                            Nah! that was a joke about a lame politician!
                            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                            • #15
                              ha ha, v funny indeed

                              if he decided to stay, they would have had to obtain a court possession order to evict him!

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