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papito88
12-10-2011, 21:17 PM
Hi All

I am new to this forum and wondered if anyone could give me some advice please.

I issued my tenant with a section 21 notice as I required possession of my property.

The tenant was on a 6 months assured shorthold tenancy which was due to end on 30th of October.

The tenant vacated the property at the end of September with no notice to me and he has not paid any rent for that month nor has he handed the keys back yet.

I understand he can hold onto the keys until the end of October but where do I stand as far as the non payment of rent is concerned as I know he will not be paying for October's rent either.

The tenant has not given any forwarding address as I was not aware of them leaving so really he has abandoned the property but I have no keys to get back in.

Please advise where I stand.

mariner
13-10-2011, 02:15 AM
Legally you need to start s8 ground 8 repo action when 2 months rent is due & unpaid. Papers served at Ts last known address ie your property. Recovery of any rent is unlikely unless there is a deposit but I would certainly look to get a CCJ against ex T to mess up his credit refs for 6 years.

Interlaken
13-10-2011, 07:38 AM
Golden rule - keep a master set of keys! You could enter with a locksmith arguing possibility of gas leak but tenant could come back at you saying you prevented his quiet enjoyment of the premises.

Mariner's advice is the legal one to take - annoying though.

westminster
13-10-2011, 10:49 AM
The tenant vacated the property at the end of September with no notice to me and he has not paid any rent for that month nor has he handed the keys back yet.
How exactly do you know he has vacated?

papito88
13-10-2011, 15:02 PM
I know he has vacated because I have called at the property and all the blinds/curtains are closed and looking through the letter box you can see no furniture in the house. After speaking with the neighbours they confirmed that he had vacated on the 30th September.

westminster
13-10-2011, 16:54 PM
I think in your shoes I'd firstly ask the neighbours if they'd be willing, if necessary (i.e. protection in the event T alleged illegal eviction), to be witnesses to the fact that they saw the T vacate/remove all his furniture.

Secondly, I'd write to the T at the property (or get my solicitor to do it), stating that you're been informed that he has vacated, and say that you'd be most obliged if he could contact you to confirm either way. If you don't get a solicitor to write, then take a witness to hand delivery of the letter through the letterbox. (Also, if you happen to have any other means to contact T, such as his mother's phone number or email or even look him up on Facebook, try everything you can to get in touch).

Thirdly, as it's not long to go, I'd wait until the day after the fixed term expires before going round with a locksmith. (This is because, if the T vacates by fixed term expiry, this ends the tenancy). Ideally, don't actually change the locks if you can help it, just in case you discover signs of T occupying.

If you do find any sign of recent occupation, (e.g. fridge full of fresh food, etc) then leave immediately. If you've had to change the locks, then leave a discreet note on the front door informing T that he can obtain keys from you (and/or a neighbour, if they're the obliging type - but at least tell the neighbours that if T returns he can get the keys from you).

You say you have served a s.21 notice. Can you give us more details, just to check it was valid:

1. Date fixed term commenced?
2. Length of term and whether an 'end' date is specified?
3. If T paid a deposit, did you protect it and provide T with the prescribed information?
4. Date of delivery of s.21, and whether it was hand delivered or posted on that date?
5. Date of expiry (exact wording)?

Also, re unpaid rent:
6. Is rent payable monthly in advance?
7. Is the rent for September and October owing and unpaid, or just October currently?

papito88
15-10-2011, 15:31 PM
The tenancy commenced on the 1st May for 6 months due to end 30th October. All this was stated in the tenancy.

No deposit was paid and no rent upfront either (as doing a favour for a so called friend)

The section 21 notice was served at the beginning of September and was posted to the tenant asking for possession of the property on the 30th October (end of 6 months tenancy).

The rent was paid at the end of each month, so September's rent has not been received.

No keys have been returned yet as the tenant has up until 30th October (end of tenancy) to give them back.

But I know that if September's rent hasn't been paid there is no way that he's going to pay October's

Tenant left the property on 30th September and neighbours have confirmed this. Tenant has left no forwarding address and still has the only keys to the property.

Snorkerz
15-10-2011, 16:03 PM
Your s21 sounds to have been defective as it doesn't seem to have given the minimum of 2 months notice. You could then potentially have had a further 2 or 3 months whilst you went through the court process. So, lets start by counting blessings - they have gone.

Your tenant remains liable for rent until the earlier of:
- the end of the fixed term; or
- you do something inconsistent with the tenancy continuing

Do you have a telephone number for tenant? Email address? Are they on Facebook? If you were to obtain a court order to say the tenant owes you £X, would they have the money to pay it?

If you think they could pay, then you need to find them. Sugestions above, but you may have to use a tracing agency - expect to pay £50 no-find-no-fee.

westminster
15-10-2011, 16:13 PM
The tenancy commenced on the 1st May for 6 months due to end 30th October. All this was stated in the tenancy.
Does the contract actually specify that the last day of the term is 30th October (as this would mean that the term is six months less one day)?


The section 21 notice was served at the beginning of September and was posted to the tenant asking for possession of the property on the 30th October (end of 6 months tenancy).
You need to answer my questions 4. and 5. with specifics. Actual date of posting, actual wording of expiry date.

However, from the information you've given, it sounds as though the notice is invalid because even if you served it on 1st September and even if the expiry date was "after 30th October" (as opposed to "on 30th October"), this gives T less than two months' notice. The earliest that a notice served on 1st September could expire would be "after 1st November", and the earliest a notice posted on 1st September could expire would be "after 5th November" (because it would be deemed served on 5th September).


The rent was paid at the end of each month, so September's rent has not been received.
Does the contract say that the rent is payable in advance? (even if T didn't pay in advance)