View Full Version : Absent tenant has left light on

06-11-2009, 13:37 PM
I took on this flat in a high rise but only the tenant had a key. The tenant has not responded to phone calls or letters over three weeks now, not paid rent for months. I noticed they left a light on and door slightly open to make it look like someone is in. I am concerned this could cause a fire and is also negligence. I read here certain cases you can enter without the notices do you think this is one? I guess I should get a witness or maybe more than one.

06-11-2009, 13:47 PM
You posted last month. What steps have you taken to regain possession of this property? Is the front door open?

06-11-2009, 14:05 PM
I've tried ringing them, left three letters now, called each time in person and waited several hours but no response. Door not open only tenant had key.

06-11-2009, 15:41 PM
Your next step should be to schedule a property inspection, issue notice in writing that you intend to enter the property(give at least 24 hours notice minimum, if hand delivered before 5pm, give 3 days at least by first class post (with proof of posting)). May want proof of posting if you post that notice just to be safe.

From the inspection, you can look for clues that the property has been abandoned. Check for the date on any letters (from the postmark, do not open any) to ascertain when they were last at the property. When you leave, you can ensure the property is made secure and switch off any appliances or lights. If possible, check with neighbours to ask if they have seen the tenant in recent history.

If it does look like the property has been abandoned, affix a notice to the door with your contact details giving them 14 days to contact you as you believe the property has been abandoned.

The safe route is to obtain a possession order for the property as you cannot guarantee the tenancy has been surrendered in this case. It could be that the tenant is in hospital, or in Jail, and still has full rights as a tenant.

The actual process for obtaining the possession order would be better served by the more legally minded bods who hopefully will expand on this.

The main jist of my response is that you always have to be a bit wary with abandoned properties and take all reasonable steps to guarantee the tenancy has been abandoned.

mind the gap
06-11-2009, 15:46 PM
The above advice would be useful except that it presupposes OP has a key to his own property. It would seem he does not.

06-11-2009, 16:01 PM
The tenant has not responded to phone calls or letters over three weeks now...

As Poppy points out, this is the issue you posted about before.

You would find it more effective to start proceedings to get a possession order.



06-11-2009, 16:03 PM
The above advice would be useful except that it presupposes OP has a key to his own property. It would seem he does not.

That is an extremely valid point which I had presupposed :)

The only option is to issue the Section 8 notice anyway due to the rent arrears (you are going to need a repossession order to stay 100% legal in the long run).
Give notice shortly after that you believe the property has been abandoned, and inform the tenant that you intend to change the locks on such and such a date unless they contact you.

Once this date arrives and you have a locksmith change the locks, again you should affix a notice with your contact details that you believe the property is abandoned and have changed the locks. This allows that you are not denying the tenant access to the property.

All the other advice stands.. the locksmith is the dodgiest area since you 'technically' shouldn't do so until a possession order has been granted, but as long as you have taken reasonable steps to ensure the property has been abandoned and you have given provision that the tenant is not being denied access, its not a huge risk.

Again thou, surrender of a tenancy is not guaranteed until the tenant surrenders the keys, and/or you have obtained a posession order.