Changing locks

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    Changing locks

    I really hope someone can help me. The husband and I broke up back in January and he moved out of the house a little while later. We were renting from a private landlord and were joint tenants, both named on the lease.

    When he moved out, he ceased paying any of the rent/bills and I took sole responsibility for them. I asked for his keys back and he refused, saying he would take them directly to the landlord. I had no reason to doubt him so left it at that.

    I saw him later, in March and asked had he returned them to which he said no, he didn't think he would have to. At the time he was trying to make amends and trying to get me to reconsider trying again so I assume he thought he would be able to hang onto them and we would sort things out. As it stood, I told him that there was no chance and that it was over and we parted on good terms, or so I thought. Again, he assured me he would return the keys to the landlord.

    Fast forward to now and I've asked him 3 times in the last 6 weeks to return the keys to me and every request has gone unanswered. My son then text (he still sees him) and asked if he could bring them back when he picked him up and he said no, he would return them to the landlord and get a receipt.

    The landlord today has confirmed that he still hasn't done this.

    The problem is, he owes me cash - over £2000 and he has ignored all requests of mine to come to an arrangement to pay this back to me. As a result, I'm hanging onto some of the stuff he has left here (books, dvd's, power tools, etc) until he comes to an agreement to pay me what he owes me.

    However, I'm going away next week and the house will be unattended for almost a week. I am really anxious that he has keys to my house and can enter without my permission or knowledge. I spoke to my landlord and asked if I could change the locks (at my own expense) and he said he didn't think I could legally do that as technically, his name is still on the tenancy agreement, which runs out at the end of this month.

    What the hell can I do? I don't trust my ex one bit and I believe he will use the keys to get into the house whilst I'm away.

    He hasn't live here or paid towards the rent for almost 5 months - can he really keep the keys to the house even though he isn't living here and the landlord has been notified that he has moved out?

    Thanks!

    #2
    Unfortunately he is still legally a tenant, because the two of you agreed a tenancy with the landlord and you are still there, so the tenancy stands.

    First things first (and please read my signature below!). As I see it, the landlord is right that HE cannot change the locks and could get into all sorts of trouble for illegal eviction if he did so. But I don't see why YOU couldn't change them (and give a copy of the key to the landlord). I don't think you can be prosecuted for illegal eviction because you're a co-tenant.

    Next, later on you should find out how to end the current tenancy and start a new one - albeit in the same property. For instance, if the Fixed Term is over and the tenancy is periodic then any one tenant can give notice to end the tenancy. Why not do so and then sign a new agreement with just your name on the AST?
    IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Grrr View Post
      Unfortunately he is still legally a tenant, because the two of you agreed a tenancy with the landlord and you are still there, so the tenancy stands.

      First things first (and please read my signature below!). As I see it, the landlord is right that HE cannot change the locks and could get into all sorts of trouble for illegal eviction if he did so. But I don't see why YOU couldn't change them (and give a copy of the key to the landlord). I don't think you can be prosecuted for illegal eviction because you're a co-tenant.

      Next, later on you should find out how to end the current tenancy and start a new one - albeit in the same property. For instance, if the Fixed Term is over and the tenancy is periodic then any one tenant can give notice to end the tenancy. Why not do so and then sign a new agreement with just your name on the AST?
      If you do change the locks and give one to your landlord, then your ex could ask for a copy, I don't think your landlord would be in a position to refuse, he is legally entitled to enter the place. He could also get a locksmith to open the door in your absence.
      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

      Comment


        #4
        I'm sorry to read all of this. However unappealling might be the advice, my advice is as follows:

        1. Ask him for an address to which you can send all over his stuff and let him know its being sent over on such and such a day in a minicab and that he needs to be present to receive the items and pay the driver the fare.

        2. Fit a new cylinder to the lock of the house. I don't see any reason in particular why you should provide one to the landlord during the term of the tenancy.

        3. When you get back issue divorce proceedings with an application for ancillary relief (ie wonga) Unless he is absolutely completely broke he will be obliged to pay you some money. You can make application for a decree nisi online with various online divorce portals. The conduct of the parties are taken into account in determining any monetary order.

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++***************

        If the above is impractical for you (and especially if you are a fiery redhead!!) let him know that you are resolving matters by selling all his stuff forthwith and retaining the proceeds. List all his stuff, individually, on a three day auction sale on ebay; put the proceeds in your pocket on the basis that you weren't paid back despite numerous request having been made. I would still change the cylinder on the front door. I don't suppose you'll be sent to the tower

        Comment


          #5
          The husband is a tenant of the property. He has the legal right to access it whether you change the locks or not while he is still a joint tenant.

          Being brutally honest, the other issues are really a mattter for Relate
          My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Ebony73 View Post
            I really hope someone can help me. The husband and I broke up back in January and he moved out of the house a little while later. We were renting from a private landlord and were joint tenants, both named on the lease.
            You seem to be saying that the fixed term is about to expire - ? If that's the case, there could be a fairly simple solution to your problem.

            Please tell us:


            Is the rental property in England/Wales?
            What date did the fixed term commence (dd/mm/yy)?
            What is the length of the term, and is an 'end' date specified?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by westminster View Post
              You seem to be saying that the fixed term is about to expire - ? If that's the case, there could be a fairly simple solution to your problem.

              Please tell us:


              Is the rental property in England/Wales?
              What date did the fixed term commence (dd/mm/yy)?
              What is the length of the term, and is an 'end' date specified?
              Hi, yes, it was a 12 month contract that ends on 31st July. The tenancy will be renewed in my name only. The property is in England.

              Many thanks to all who have replied so far, basically confirming what I already thought

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ebony73 View Post
                Hi, yes, it was a 12 month contract that ends on 31st July. The tenancy will be renewed in my name only. The property is in England.

                Many thanks to all who have replied so far, basically confirming what I already thought
                Then once the current tenancy ends, locks can be changed and the LL has no obligation to supply keys to ex. Until then, the information given above stands.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ebony73 View Post
                  Hi, yes, it was a 12 month contract that ends on 31st July. The tenancy will be renewed in my name only. The property is in England.
                  Okay, so you can get out of the joint tenancy on 31st July.

                  Strictly speaking, you should vacate (if only for one night) on 31st July - as legally, if the tenant (and currently that's you and your husband jointly) vacates at the end of the fixed term that ends the tenancy. The LL can then grant you a new tenancy on 1st August, in your name alone, and can change the locks that day.

                  Note that the tenancy commencing 1st August would be a completely new tenancy, so if you/husband paid a deposit that should be refunded to you/husband, and a new deposit taken in respect of the new tenancy.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    Strictly speaking, you should vacate (if only for one night) on 31st July - as legally, if the tenant (and currently that's you and your husband jointly) vacates at the end of the fixed term that ends the tenancy. The LL can then grant you a new tenancy on 1st August, in your name alone, and can change the locks that day.
                    That could be deemed to be a sham. Better, once the fixed term has ended for the OP to serve a notice to quit and for the landlord to agree a new tenancy starting the day after the notice expires.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Why the need to vacate for one night? Both options in posts 9 and 10 are an exercise in sorting the legal situation lawfully.

                      The original tenancy expires at 23.59.59 on the 31st July. OP moves out before the 1st August commences, to comply with the issue raised by westminster at 9, if she does not? The original tenancy expires in law and in practice. OP moves in again on the 1st August, with a new contract which commences at 00.00.01.

                      Does it really matter for how long OP is out?

                      pm
                      Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If the tenant moves out with the intention of moving back in again she will be deemed never to have moved out.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                          That could be deemed to be a sham. Better, once the fixed term has ended for the OP to serve a notice to quit and for the landlord to agree a new tenancy starting the day after the notice expires.
                          Ah well, then OP has to wait a bit longer. As it's the LL who is the one at risk here - i.e. of the husband alleging illegal eviction - would he be advised to insist that T's notice to quit, if served on the first day of the periodic tenancy, must expire at the end of the following tenancy period, so that it is inarguable that he has received proper notice?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by westminster View Post
                            ...would he be advised to insist that T's notice to quit, if served on the first day of the periodic tenancy, must expire at the end of the following tenancy period, so that it is inarguable that he has received proper notice?
                            Indeed he would.

                            Comment

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