How do I go about moving out if landlady moved abroad and her whereabouts are unclear, her UK postal address is no longer valid, and the only way of reaching her is an email address -- but she doesn't respond there either?
My understanding is, as we can't reach her and she didn't provide us with an updated UK address, that she already is in breach with the law. On top of that, I don't think our deposit has ever been put into any of the approved schemes either (another breach of the law).
So, aside from the deposit repayment, how do we move out in such a situation without getting ourselves into legal trouble? Just stop paying rent, vacate the property (and get someone in to witness that we left)? Who's going to pay the utility bills after that date? It's getting colder and it's quite possible that pipes freeze and break if heating is switched off entirely. What to do with the keys?
She's a private landlady, who used to live here herself (we still receive letters addressed to her; 5 years on!). Then she went for a voluntary year to some developing country and later to the Middle-East. We haven't seen her or spoken to her in about 2 1/2 years at least. Any help is much appreciated.
Main question is really: How to move out under these circumstances without breaching laws/contracts (speaking of which: it's a AST-type contract, which was never extended formally, so probably a monthly rolling contract now).
The deposit and some bills (repair of boiler etc) are secondary. That may well have to go through difficult legal channels after we moved.