Sort of abandonment and theft

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    Sort of abandonment and theft

    Tenancy agreement for my first tenants signed 5 October2013; moved to periodic on 13 April 2014. Everything was ok but then started paying rent a week behind on 19 April 2014. They caught up, but this happened agian in May, August and October. From 13 December 2014 I have received no rent whatsoever. Posted a letter, regarding rent arrears, through the letter box on 15 November 2014. No response and tenants not answering phone.

    As tenants had failed to be available for gas inspection on 21 November it was rearranged for 20 December and I informed the tenants that I would be present to let gas man in if they were not available/present. They were and I spoke to the male tenant (his wife disappeared) about the arrears and he stated that they had been unableto pay rent as they were paying off a tax credits overpayment.He continued that he had applied for a rent rebate and had been informed that the full rent rebate would be paid into his wife's account on 5 January 2014. I wrote out a statement to this effect and he signed it. Gas hob was condemned so I immediately purchased a replacement. The gas man stated that he could fit it on 23 December. I text the gas man's phone number to the tenants and asked them to confirm, to him, that they would be available for him to fit the hob. They failed to contact him.

    Female tenant posted on Facebook, on 28 December that she moving into a new house. I queried this with her and she said that she and her husband were splitting up. I informed her that she had to give one month's notice and would be liable for payment of the rent. I text them to say that I would be calling on 3 January 2015; they were out. A look through the windows showed all funiture in situ.

    Returned today ( 8 January) after seeing post on Facebook, that they had moved. Look through windows showed that furniture had gone, but suitcases and bags in most rooms. Not sure if I could go in. It was clear that my fridge and washing machine had also gone (theft). My keys have not been returned to me; the garden is full of rubbish.

    I have a registered deposit of £500 and was prepared today to discuss with them signing over the deposit but due to the theft and their failure to be available for the gas man, and me, I would really like to know what I should do now. Everything that I have read seems to state that I can't take out a possession order until they are 8 weeks in arrears. Is this true? Is the theft a police matter? Would really appreciate some advice.
    Last edited by Pandy1978; 08-01-2015, 16:59 PM. Reason: Spelling corrections

    #2
    Could you break it up into sentences/paragraphs? I tried reading it but gave up.
    "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

    What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

    Comment


      #3
      Sorry, have broken it down to create more paragraphs. Hope it's clearer now. By the way, I only accepted her 'friend request' on Facebook as it seemed a useful way of keeping tabs, if necessary. They were previously council tenants and I did speak to someone from housing. Their desire to move was based on the number of drug raids carried out on one of their neighbours.

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        #4
        It may be that they are still moving out (suitcases and bags) and you may be able to bump into them to discuss things if you're lucky, and maybe ask for your fridge back.

        Did they both sign the tenancy agreement as joint (and several) tenants?
        If so, until one of them gives notice or you do, they are still renting the property and still liable to pay rent (and council tax and utilties etc).
        They may not realise this, and it might be useful to point it out to them.

        If they give you notice (even if it doesn't seem much point if they've done a runner) getting legal possession is much simpler than anything you can initiate.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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          #5
          Theft is a Police matter and you should report if only to get a crime reference number to deal with insurance etc at a later date. No point accusing someone then being asked why you didn't report it at the time.

          I can't take out a possession order until they are 8 weeks in arrears. Is this true?

          Yes and no - as they are on a periodic then you can issue a no reason notice (section 21) which gives 2 months notice. I'm sure you could get them to surrender the tenancy though as they have moved out.
          "I'm afraid I didn't do enough background checks apart from checking her identity on Facebook" - ANON

          What I say is based on my own experience and research - Please don't take as gospel without first checking the gospel yourself.

          Comment


            #6
            Unlikely to bump into them as I live 46 miles away. I don't have a forwarding address but do know where they work.

            They both signed the tenancy agreement and I did tell them that they would be liable fro the rent etc. until notice had been given and the date of termination reached. They have moved into a council house (she posted the name of the road on Facebbok) so will therefore be responsible for 2 lots of rent and council tax (?). What if they have notified the council that they are no longer responsible for council tax for my property?

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              #7
              I would report the theft to the police.

              Also try and contact tenants asking them to surrender the tenancy and sign document to say so. At this point discuss the theft and it's implications and try to resolve matters saving yourself a load of grief.

              Does an inventory state the items are the property of the landlord?



              Freedom at the point of zero............

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                #8
                Will report it to police now.

                I intended getting them to surrender the tenancy today but was so stressed out I couldn't face going to the pub where they work because male tenants' mum and step-dad is the licencees of the pub and I would have been outnumbered.

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                  #9
                  So, I report theft to the police and then discuss it with the tenants?

                  The items are on the inventory. I have my copy but the last time I went round male tenant said that their copy of the file was in the loft. I had asked to see it because I had a new boiler fitted and wanted to check the manual, which he said was in the file. I haven't a signature on my inventory, but I do have the receipts and guarnatees for the fridge andwashing machine.

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                    #10
                    The police response is likely to be: "Are the items you are reporting stolen post-coded or did you make a note of their serial numbers?" If the answer is "No" they may tell you there is nothing they can do.

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                      #11
                      The items are not postcoded but I do have the serial numbers.

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                        #12
                        It's not theft yet. Once the tenancy has ended and the inventory items are not returned, then it might be theft. And the police probably still won't be interested.

                        Try and get them to surrender the tenancy as soon as possible and cut your losses - lost rental income over the next few months will probably outweigh the missing items. And then decide if you want to pursue them for monies owed.

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                          #13
                          I don't understand why it isn't theft. They have moved out because there is no furniture in the bungalow. They have left bags and suitcases in some rooms.

                          Will try to get them to surrender the tenancy asap and consider whether or not to pursue monies owed, as you suggest.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It is not yet theft as they are still tech your Ts.
                            You know their new address, so visit and politely request they both sign a Deed of Surrender dated for that day and return keys, or one T could sign a NTQ to expire on that date (binding on both).
                            If not forthcoming, serve a prepared s21a. to expire after next rel date 2 months hence, and copy of 48 hr Notice of LL inspectionsent to your property. (negotiate mutual convenient date time for inspection).
                            Report back her with result, for further advice.
                            re s21 - was it protected and PI provided within 30 days of receipt and PI re-issued within 30 days of start of periodic term?

                            CTax status is a matter of debate between you and Council.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks Mariner, I thought it was theft becasue they had been removed from the property as has their furniture.

                              I don't know their new address, only the name of the road. Can't visit, 90 mile trip, and I only know where they work a pub licensees are his mum and step dad. It's a rough pub and I don't want to go on my own. Planned on going through with one of my sons after notifying them, 48 hours in advance (by text which I shall screenshot) and will take copy of s21a, a deed of surrender (and ask them to add their new address) and so inspection too.Then the issue of the 'theft' of washing machine and fridge freezer can also be dealt with.

                              Deposit was protected within 3 days, copy of certificate of protection issued to tenants after 7 days. PI issued same time as tenancy agreement signed, then re-issued at time of signing periodic which was 8 days after fixed ended.

                              Ct is between tenants and council offices, I believe, until they have signed Deed of Surrender. Correct me if I'm wrong.

                              I really appreciate al of the help and support offered, thanks to all. Will keep you informed.

                              Comment

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