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sa_cheng
09-04-2010, 18:39 PM
Hi,

Would appreciate your advice on the following:

My tenants have been burgled twice and they now want to move out (3 months left in their contract).

First time burgled - there were no sign of force entry and they did not lock the door properly. They think that the previous tentants had the keys and demand me to change the lock. The thing is, they were my first tenants as I used to live in the place so nobody else would have had a set of keys. So they are irresponsible for not locking up properly. Anyway, I changed the locks.

Second time burgled - again, no force entry. I only kept one set when we changed it and I asked them to make copies. Either they have not locked up or someone has the keys. After this incident, they want to move out.

Oh, I forgot to mention that in between the two incidents, they accidentally locked their new born baby in the flat and had to call the police to break in (!).

What are my responsibility at this point? They will move out as soon as I find new tentants. Do I need to change the locks for them while they are in the flat? Do I keep the deposit?

mind the gap
09-04-2010, 19:02 PM
It is not your fault as LL if your Ts get burgled unless you fail to provide locks at all, which is clearly not the case. They sound a bit clueless.

Nor do you have to agree to let them move out before the end of the tenancy - if you do not agree, they remain liable for the whole rent for the whole of the fixed term.

If they want to fit different locks, that's up to them, but they must replace yours when they leave.

Have you protected their deposit in a scheme?

sa_cheng
09-04-2010, 19:07 PM
It is not your fault as LL if your Ts get burgled unless you fail to provide locks at all, which is clearly not the case. They sound a bit clueless.

Nor do you have to agree to let them move out before the end of the tenancy - if you do not agree, they remain liable for the whole rent for the whole of the fixed term.

If they want to fit different locks, that's up to them, but they must replace yours when they leave.

Have you protected their deposit in a scheme?


Thanks for the quick response!

I have protected the deposit.

If I agree to let them move out before end of term do I have the rights to keep the deposit as they are breaking the contract? I know it is quite traumatic for them having lost their belongings and talking about deposit doesn't help the situation.

mind the gap
09-04-2010, 19:11 PM
Thanks for the quick response!

I have protected the deposit.

If I agree to let them move out before end of term do I have the rights to keep the deposit as they are breaking the contract? I know it is quite traumatic for them having lost their belongings and talking about deposit doesn't help the situation.
If you agree to let them move out before the end of the fixed term, you can dictate your terms, more or less. I would certainly be looking to insist that they forfeit their deposit but you need to have all this drawn up in a Deed of surrender. Also insist that they pay your solicitor's costs for doing this.

If they refuse, just withdraw your offer of a surrender and tell them they are still liable for all the rent until the last day of the fixed term. There is no obligation on you to mitigate your losses by re-letting as soon as they move out. In fact, unless you have agreed a formal surrender, the tenancy continues and you cannot regain possession.

You deserve credit for trying to be a decent human being here but you need to distance yourself from their problems to some extent, as they were entirely of their own making. They will presumably be claiming for their stolen possessions on their contents insurance. If they did not pay for any insurance, that again is their problem, not yours. You should not have to subsidise their carelessness. Just put in writing what you propose and keep it all professional and businesslike.

It will be a learning experience for them if nothing else. They will learn to lock their doors and arrange insurance.

sa_cheng
10-04-2010, 21:52 PM
If you agree to let them move out before the end of the fixed term, you can dictate your terms, more or less. I would certainly be looking to insist that they forfeit their deposit but you need to have all this drawn up in a Deed of surrender. Also insist that they pay your solicitor's costs for doing this.

If they refuse, just withdraw your offer of a surrender and tell them they are still liable for all the rent until the last day of the fixed term. There is no obligation on you to mitigate your losses by re-letting as soon as they move out. In fact, unless you have agreed a formal surrender, the tenancy continues and you cannot regain possession.

You deserve credit for trying to be a decent human being here but you need to distance yourself from their problems to some extent, as they were entirely of their own making. They will presumably be claiming for their stolen possessions on their contents insurance. If they did not pay for any insurance, that again is their problem, not yours. You should not have to subsidise their carelessness. Just put in writing what you propose and keep it all professional and businesslike.

It will be a learning experience for them if nothing else. They will learn to lock their doors and arrange insurance.

Thanks for the advice!