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WarwickGrad
30-05-2010, 17:00 PM
my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?

mind the gap
30-05-2010, 17:21 PM
my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?

No, you're not. If you do, you risk being arrested on a charge of illegal eviction (a prisonable crime).

There is 'no sign of life' in most student houses most mornings, but it doesn't mean they don't still live in there.

Unless you can get in contact with your T and agree a signed written surrender (assuming he wants to leave), then you must validly serve the appropriate Notice Requiring Possession and follow the due process, including obtaining a court order for possession. Do not change the locks or re-let the property until you are granted possession legally.

jeffrey
30-05-2010, 17:33 PM
my housing benefit tenant hasnt been seen for about a month

it's highly likely he's left the property without informing me as his post has mounted up and no one has seen him

i've already checked the flat, no sign of life there, apart from a v small rucksack by the bed

am i allowed to change the locks and rent out the property to someone else?
As mind the gap posts, no.
More important: is the fixed term still runnng or has it already expired?

mind the gap
30-05-2010, 17:41 PM
As mind the gap posts, no.
More important: is the fixed term still runnng or has it already expired?

With respect I would suggest it is 'more important' that OP does not rush in and change locks and re-let! He should not do that whether the tenancy is still in its fixed term or an SPT.

The nature of the tenancy is next most important, perhaps.:)

jeffrey
30-05-2010, 17:43 PM
But any letting within the 1988 Act:
a. ceases to be within it if T is not using the premises as only/main residence; and
b. cannot be statutorily continued beyond fixed-term expiry if T is no longer resident.

mind the gap
30-05-2010, 17:56 PM
But any letting within the 1988 Act:
a. ceases to be within it if T is not using the premises as only/main residence; and
b. cannot be statutorily continued beyond fixed-term expiry if T is no longer resident.

Yes, in theory, but we both know that until/unless a. can be proved* and thus b. will obtain (*which may be fraught with difficulties), in practice a LL would be risking a charge of illegal eviction to assume they are the case.

In OP's case it certainly seems unwise to rely on the possibility (rather than the certainty), that T has ceased to use the property as his main residence, etc.

WarwickGrad
30-05-2010, 17:59 PM
well, i'll be changing the locks and re letting the flat this week, and ill tell you why

many housing benefit tenants get up and go without telling me and start claiming at other properties and i get stung with an overpayment when the council finds out (likely to be the case here)

fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)

his neighbours havent seen him for a month, i can use them as witnesses if he comes back - does this help to prove abandonment i wonder?

i understand what mind the gap is saying - but i wouldnt view this view as the common sense opinion based on the facts i have given

but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?

all other opinions on all the above would be much appreciated...

jeffrey
30-05-2010, 18:00 PM
Yes, in theory, but we both know that until/unless a. can be proved* and thus b. will obtain (*which may be fraught with difficulties), in practice a LL would be risking a charge of illegal eviction to assume they are the case.

In OP's case it certainly seems unwise to rely on the possibility (rather than the certainty), that T has ceased to use the property as his main residence, etc.
I agree- like any civil dispute, it's always a question of evidence (and the balance of probabilities).

mind the gap
30-05-2010, 18:01 PM
well, i'll be changing the locks and re letting the flat this week, and ill tell you why

many housing benefit tenants get up and go without telling me and start claiming at other properties and i get stung with an overpayment when the council finds out (likely to be the case here)

fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)

his neighbours havent seen him for a month, i can use them as witnesses if he comes back - does this help to prove abandonment i wonder?

i understand what mind the gap is saying - but i wouldnt view this view as the common sense opinion based on the facts i have given

but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?

all other opinions on all the above would be much appreciated...

I am not sure why you are seeking opinions (mine or anyone else's) when you have already decided to act illegally. Please stop wasting our time.

jeffrey
30-05-2010, 18:04 PM
but, lets assume worst case scenario, i change the locks and he claims illegal eviction at some point in the future - can my offer to re house him to a similar/better flat be enough to offset this charge?
You could argue so; but it probably wouldn't cut any ice when you're in the dock of a Criminal Court being prosecuted.

roryl
30-05-2010, 18:04 PM
fixed term has expired - he also doenst have a copy of his contract (he was asking for one a few months back and i refused to give him one as he was playing too many games and i asked him its best he moves out instead)

By asked, do you mean told? If so, he's probably gone because of that and you're lucky he hasn't pursued you for illegal eviction.

WarwickGrad
30-05-2010, 19:23 PM
not wasting anyone's time mind the gap, relax

i made my decision based on your overly cautious reply, based on my tenancy experiences and the present situation

if i followed ur cautious advice, ill prob be 3/4 months out of rent waiting for the possession order

this doesnt make prudent economic sense (as gordon brown used to say) - therefore in this instance i'm deciding to take the risk

roryl
30-05-2010, 19:50 PM
this doesnt make prudent economic sense (as gordon brown used to say) - therefore in this instance i'm deciding to take the risk

I believe Gordon Brown was the tenant who refused to leave...

(Lame Political Joke)

jta
30-05-2010, 20:10 PM
I believe Gordon Brown was the tenant who refused to leave...

(Lame Political Joke)

Nah! that was a joke about a lame politician!

WarwickGrad
30-05-2010, 20:58 PM
ha ha, v funny indeed

if he decided to stay, they would have had to obtain a court possession order to evict him!

Snorkerz
31-05-2010, 10:09 AM
this doesnt make prudent economic sense (as gordon brown used to say) - therefore in this instance i'm deciding to take the riskIs 3 months rent more than £5k? That is the maximum fine the magistrates can impose for illegal eviction. Is the rent more than 6 month of your life? That is the maximum sentence the magistrates can impose. Both are much higher in the crown court.

I wouldn't say MTG and Jeffrey are being over-cautious - You may still feel that this makes economic sense - but it is against the law.

jeffrey
31-05-2010, 21:03 PM
ha ha, v funny indeed

if he decided to stay, they would have had to obtain a court possession order to evict him!
Ground 16 (letting in connection with employment that has ceased)?

WarwickGrad
01-06-2010, 09:25 AM
how long does a tenant have to be absent to prove abandonment i wonder?

there are no possessions in the flat, letters havent been collected for a month, neighbours havent seen him for over a month, contract has expired

thanks

Snorkerz
01-06-2010, 09:42 AM
how long does a tenant have to be absent to prove abandonment i wonder?

there are no possessions in the flat, letters havent been collected for a month, neighbours havent seen him for over a month, contract has expired

thanks

There is an abandonment process (http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/legal/abandonment.htm) on this site, but it does not guarantee protection from allegations of illegal eviction. The only safe way is to get your section 8.