Tenant / Tenant Dispute

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    Tenant / Tenant Dispute

    Hello,

    I'm terribly sorry if this is in the wrong place; it was difficult to know where to post.

    A couple of months ago our housemate (one of three) decided she wanted to leave our property. Two of us chose to remain and renew our tenancy. We have a shorthold tenancy agreement.

    According to clause 13A of said agreement, upon notification of our intention to terminate the contract we are obliged to pay rent up until the "anniversary date" of our tenancy whilst still giving no less that 30 days notice.
    We began our tenancy, and pay our monthly rent, on the 11th of every month.
    Our housemate chose to terminate our contract on December 21st 2011 meaning that she has given at least 30 days notice but should still pay until January 21st 2012.
    Unhappy with this arrangement, she telephoned our letting agent and strongly voiced her disapproval at this fact until they agreed that she would not have to pay until the end of her contractual period and would pass along the additional costs to myself and my other housemate upon commencement of our renewed tenancy at the property instead. We were totally excluded from this decision, and in fact, only learned that we would be footing 2/3rds of our housemate's January rent with 10 days notice to scrape together the extra money.

    Whilst it was the third housemate's obligation to pay her share of the rent for the full month, unfortunately the letting agents, mistakenly, very clearly told her she would not have to after 21.01.2011.

    Eventually, after weeks of disagreements the letting agents have agreed that they were, in fact, in the wrong in agreeing this with her, especially without discussing the situation with the two remaining housemates first. We have managed to convince the letting agents to waive the fees involved in renewing our contract as a gesture of goodwill.

    Apologies for the long post, but the plot thickens; our letting agents told us that it would be far easier if we returned the departing tenants' deposit to her directly and that, providing we can have her sign a series of receipt and letters to confirm this transaction, they will then carry over the original deposit onto our new contract. We understood that this was something of a "shortcut" in legal terms, but it made more sense for us financially; we simply do not have the facility to obtain a new deposit before the return of the last one in order to successfully renew our contract and we are remaining in the same property anyway!

    The third housemate is supposed to vacate the property and return her keys by midnight this evening in order for our new tenancy to commence tomorrow. Furthermore, I have returned her deposit, she has signed a receipt to confirm this and she has already vacated the property.

    Things have really broken down in the last week and yesterday she accused me (wrongly) of killing a plant that she left, unattended, at our property for almost 6 full days. She seemed very threatening and, based on her saying she would be returning her keys this morning (20.01.2011), that she has nothing left in the property and that her deposit has been returned to her, in full, meaning that she has no further financial interest in the property, we "dead bolted" the door before we left for work this morning in order to prevent her "exacting revenge" on the property or our belongings.

    She has, as expected, tried to return to the property today whilst it was unoccupied and upon finding she cannot gain entry without us being home has become furious and is refusing to return her keys until she HAS gained entry to the property because she claims she may have left 1 book inside and has a legal right to collect it. We have told her she may come back to collect it after we have come home today

    I understand that she has a remaining 10 hours of rent paid on the property and is still a key holder, but as her deposit has been returned, we are genuinely concerned that she has been trying to gain access in order to deface the property or damage our belongings.

    Questions:

    Can she gain access to our property by means of force if she wishes as we have locked her out? Her father can be very... pushy.... in matters concerning his little girl.
    Can she refuse to return the keys?
    Can she call the police?
    Can she take us to court to claim damages for the period she could not enter the property?

    Please respond quickly - Very time sensitive!

    Thank you,

    A

    #2
    If her rent is paid up til - lets say, midnight tonight, she has a legal right to
    enter the property.
    but if she does not return the keys, it can be argued ( difficult, but can be )
    that as she deliberatly refused to return the keys, then rent is still payable,
    and she made a decision not to return the keys before the agents shut.

    When you get home, say - oh sorry, i inadvertantly dead locked the door,
    apologies for that.
    Make sure someone is always in over the next few days and get the front locks
    changed ( just the "key" bit ) maybe £ 5 + £ 30 to fit, and get it done now.

    She can probably get dupicate keys cut, so change the locks, beg borrow or
    abduct someone who can do it tomorrow.
    Then you send 2 keys to the agent.

    You are allowed to change the locks so long as you give the agents a key.

    R.a.M.

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