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zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 14:04 PM
I purchased an auction property in a high rise block in London, I am now the legal owner however the only keys were with the previous tenant who's tenancy agreement expired several months ago, has stopped paying rent and does not reply to phone calles or letters. Am I intiltled to assume the property is empty and therefore employ a locksmith to change the locks and regain possession. And then if it transpires that there is evidence of occupation put a notice on the front of the door for the intruder to contact me to recover their possessions.

Paul_f
23-10-2009, 14:19 PM
You should have sorted out this with your solicitor beforehand.

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 14:23 PM
thank you paul but I didnt find that answer very helpful

Poppy
23-10-2009, 14:36 PM
So, why didn’t you reap the benefit of your solicitor’s knowledge before deciding to buy?

What do you ultimately want?

To meet your tenant?
To get a copy of the keys?
To find out what your property looks like?
To receive rent from the tenant?
To learn your tenant's rights?
To learn your rights as a landlord?
To evict the tenant?
To learn a new knock knock joke?
A combination of the above?

mind the gap
23-10-2009, 14:52 PM
I purchased an auction property in a high rise block in London, I am now the legal owner however the only keys were with the previous tenant who's tenancy agreement expired several months ago, has stopped paying rent and does not reply to phone calles or letters. Am I intiltled to assume the property is empty and therefore employ a locksmith to change the locks and regain possession. And then if it transpires that there is evidence of occupation put a notice on the front of the door for the intruder to contact me to recover their possessions.

The most obvious thing to do is to visit the property and if no-one comes to the door, knock on all the neighbours' doors until someone tells you whether there is anyone still livng there or not.

In your shoes, I would be very concerned had my solicitor not made it clear whether the property was being bought tenanted or with vacant possession. Did you use a solicitor for the conveyancing or not? What does the sale contract say?

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 14:56 PM
omg I'm under attack! why didnt you .. you should have .. any more?

Like I said as far as I am concerned there is no one in the flat because no one is answering phone or letters or physical knocking on the door, so I want to get a locksmith and change the locks which I think is 'peacefully entering the property', so is therefor legal.

I have been to the property but no one answers, I have delivered a letter from my solicitor, but no answer to that, I only used a solicitor after the sale, I believed the property had a tenant who was paying rent, ok I'm green so please dont be mean...

mind the gap
23-10-2009, 15:01 PM
omg I'm under attack! why didnt you .. you should have .. any more?

Like I said as far as I am concerned there is no one in the flat because no one is answering phone or letters or physical knocking on the door, so I want to get a locksmith and change the locks which I think is 'peacefully entering the property', so is therefor legal.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooo!!!!

You obviously know nothing about Landlord and Tenant law. If you do as you propose, you could well find yourself arrested for illegal eviction which is a criminal offence. It might be your porperty, but it is the tenant's home until you have legal right to possess it.

It would appear at present that you do not have a clue whether the T is there or not, or whether her tenancy is ended or not.

The reason you are under attack is because you do know seem to have a clue what you are doing!

Why are you asking our advice if you have decided on a course of action anyway?

Poppy
23-10-2009, 15:09 PM
You need to tread carefully when contemplating entering a tenanted property uninvited. I hope this tenant isn’t the type that sets a trap for an unwitting landlord - just waiting to kick off about the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 and entitled to legal aid to boot.

Danger I sense, hmmm!

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 15:10 PM
It would appear at present that you do not have a clue whether the T is there or not, or whether her tenancy is ended or not.


who said it was a her? the tenancy ended months before I bought it





The reason you are under attack is because you do know seem to have a clue what you are doing!




I am looking for advice, not to to be kicked when I'm down ok

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 15:15 PM
You need to tread carefully when contemplating entering a tenanted property uninvited. I hope this tenant isn’t the type that sets a trap for an unwitting landlord - just waiting to kick off about the Protection From Eviction Act 1977 and entitled to legal aid to boot.

Danger I sense, hmmm!


There is no evidence that the property is tenanted therefore surley it can be presumed empty surley thats logical? What makes you assume there is a tenant in there?

Poppy
23-10-2009, 15:35 PM
Because I don’t want to be taken to court accused of unlawful eviction which is a criminal offence, harassment, whatever.

I recommend that you camp out for a week and intercept anyone who enters/exits. If you do not experience a close encounter of the fifth kind, then make a decision whether to call in the locksmith or pick the lock yourself. Other members may have a different approach.

Do you intend to answer post #4?

mind the gap
23-10-2009, 16:25 PM
who said it was a her? the tenancy ended months before I bought it


What do you mean exactly by 'the tenancy ended' and how do you know?

This is a serious question and until you can explain why you think it is ended, we cannot really advise you further. For instance, the fixed term of the original AST might have elapsed yet the tenant may have remained in occupation. That does not mean the tenancy has ended. The original AST may not have ended, even though she might have vacatated (you do not know yet if that is the case), in which case it obviously hasn't ended yet unless T agreed a surrender with original LL.

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 20:59 PM
mind the gap I dont know why you keep saying the tenant was a she I never mentioned the gender of the individual
the ast ended 6 months before I purchased the property, I have the document to show that, rent was paid sporadically after that for a few more months then stopped altogether suddenly, as far as things are going it seems to me the only way to find out if there is someone in there or not is to get a locksmith and get in there plus no one knows if there is someone in there injured or dead sorry to be so blunt but it happens, if there is no answer from the property I have to think of the worst case scenario and find out what is going on.

mind the gap
23-10-2009, 21:09 PM
mind the gap I dont know why you keep saying the tenant was a she I never mentioned the gender of the individual
Because you gave the impression that there was only one tenant and 'she' is as appropriate a singular pronoun as 'he'.


the ast ended 6 months before I purchased the property, I have the document to show that, rent was paid sporadically after that for a few more months then stopped altogether suddenly,
No, you have not understood the nature of an AST - which is why I asked the question about how you knew it had 'ended'. The fixed term of the T's AST may have ended (you could indeed deduce this from the tenancy contract), however, if T remained in occupation - with or without LL's agreement - the tenancy would have become periodic and if T is unwilling to vacate, LL cannot regain possession without giving 2 months' notice then obtaining a court order, (unless there are two months' rent owing at least, in which case you serve a section 8 notice requiring possession before applying for a court order).

as far as things are going it seems to me the only way to find out if there is someone in there or not is to get a locksmith and get in there plus no one knows if there is someone in there injured or dead sorry to be so blunt but it happens, if there is no answer from the property I have to think of the worst case scenario and find out what is going on. If you think there maybe someone injured or dead in there, ring the police and ask them to accompany you to the property as witnesses.

zarnticolz
23-10-2009, 21:37 PM
to answer your post poppy

I want to

gain access to the property

If there is anyone in there I want them to leave

If there is no one in there I would like to get new decent tenants in

mind the gap
23-10-2009, 22:03 PM
to answer your post poppy

I want to

gain access to the property

If there is anyone in there I want them to leave

If there is no one in there I would like to get new decent tenants in

So go about it professionally as you have been advised, and avoid breaking the law!

Did you understand my explanation about how tenancies may be ended?

Bel
24-10-2009, 00:02 AM
Tenancy is only ended if you have a court order for possession or know that the T has surrendered the tenancy by handing over keys.

If you do not have keys then a court order is the only safe way. There is risk in every other way.

Why not put an unobtrusive seal on the door to see if anyone is using the flat. Check it after a week.

If seal is unbroken, you could then take a calculated risk and get locksmith to change lock. You would then need to post an abandonment notice outside (attracting attention from other people) so that if the Tenant is still in the property, they can get new keys from you and you can not be prosecuted for illegal eviction. If you keep the old lock intact you can post an abandonment notice inside the property which the tenant should see if they come in. Do a forum search on abandonment.

If there looks like someone is still in there, you applogise and get legal advice and wish you had done so in the first place.

jeffrey
26-10-2009, 10:24 AM
Go back to basics. In the sale contract, did V sell:
a. with vacant possession; or
b. subject to the tenancy?

zarnticolz
26-10-2009, 14:51 PM
Hello all I really appreciate all your help and patience with me I guess I am on a steep learning curve. The property was bought subject to an assured shorthold tenancy which was for a term of one year and expired in 25/02/2009. So it looks like if I want vacant possesion I will have to get a possession order, which I understand I can do myself to save costs using the online service on the hmcs website. But do I need to know the names of the people in there, as the origional tenant may have moved out and let someone else in.

westminster
26-10-2009, 19:34 PM
But do I need to know the names of the people in there, as the origional tenant may have moved out and let someone else in.
You seek possession from the tenant named on the tenancy agreement, not any unauthorized occupants.