Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Could you tell me if you have any form of formal lease or licence agreement in place please?
No. Nothing. Only verbal.
Thank you. Does he use the garage for business or personal use to your knowledge?
Do you have evidence he has paid rent in the past?
He said that he stored his equipment in it. He's an electrician. I looked yesterday and it's full of rubbish, old wardrobes, boxes, etc.
He's been renting it for about 3 years. But has always been late paying.
Thanks. Has he paid in cash or in some traceable form? If cash have you issued receipts?
Direct to my bank account.
Thanks. Finally were any terms agreed verbally or in correspondence with regards XXXXX XXXXX length of tenancy?
No. Only that we would give 3 months notice on either side if possible.
Thanks - was this in writing or just verbally?
Nothing was in writing.
This is what I last sent. "
Thanks. This will be a common law month to month tenancy and in default of any conditions agreed in writing the relevant notice period will be equivalent to the period of rental - e.g. if rent is paid monthly, one month.
The first step is to serve upon the individual a notice to quit. This is simply a letter or notice headed notice to quit giving the individual one months notice to leave. If you have already given him notice previously as above, you can consider discounting the period of one month notice by the amount of notice you have already given.
You can also advise that it he has left any items in the garage that you will arrange to have them removed and sold or disposed of according to their value.
Already covered by my mail to him.
If he ignores the notice you can change the lock and arrange to clear the goods in the garage. You are required to give him 3 months notice in respect of any goods in the garage before you dispose of the under the Torts Act if he owes you money. If after that time he has not collected the goods, you can sell or dispose of them applying any money raised to offset the debt owed.
There is no need for a court order for possession in thee circumstances.
I plan on getting the contents removed and dumped. Is that ok provided I've given him notice?
If the goods have any value you can be sued by him if you dispose of valuable goods without giving him 3 months notice. The Tors Act requires three months notice to be given.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
So, I've waited over 3 months for the rent that still hasn't been paid but must now give him a further 3 months notice. Is that correct?
When did you give the above written notice to him please?
I finally texted and e-mailed him on Friday, 21st March asking him to clear the garage. No response.
Thanks. There are two components to the eviction - the possession of the garage and any goods he has left in the same.
To take possession of the garage you will need to give one months notice in these circumstances. After that time you can attend to change the locks. If you are satisfied he has received the above notice, this will do.
I'm not evicting him from anything. Can I remove the contents of the garage and dump it in his front garden?
If you find goods have been left there then you can have them cleared but the Torts Act requires you to give him 3 months notice before you dispose of them or he can sue you for any loss if he claims the goods were of value. You can claim costs of clearing and storage if you have to pay to store them somewhere. If the goods are obvious junk, he would have no financial claim to sue you for but if you do consider them to be junk and intend to dispose of them without giving him the require three month notice, it would be wise to retain photos of the items so you can disprove any claim that they had value.
If you know where he lives, certainly; you could return the goods to his address.
You will have a claim against him for unpaid rent together with interest at 8% per annum. If he refuses to pay following a formal demand, you can recover the same in the small claims court and costs by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk
It seems to me that I will leave myself exposed here as he will say that there was a 60inch flat screen tv in the garage. I can't prove otherwise even with photos.
If you are concerned to protect yourself from a claim when you attend to change the lock you can either attend with an independent witness and a camera or you can attend and record the gaining access and items found within using a video camera / phone. He must prove on the balance of probability what he claims was in there - he cannot just invent items and expect his claims to be accepted. A video record of the access and inventory will be fairly conclusive in the event of a dispute.
is there anything else I can help you with?
Is a text message good enough for written notice.
The law requires that a notice is in writing and is served on the other party so it can be. The problem with text messages and emails is that the other party can deny they received it. Also text messages are by definition short and therefore typically can lack detail.
Ideally you would give a further copy of what you sent by email and perhaps put it though his letter box or post it retaining proof of posting to be safe.
I understand. He can of course deny also that he has received a letter ! You have been most helpful. Many thanks.
He can. There is in fact case law on the point...
If you wish to prevent him denying receipt case law has confirmed that a letter sent by recorded delivery will be deemed served on the recipient on the day it is posted irrespective as to whether the recipient actually signs for it.
If you want to be completely safe you could send a copy by recorded delivery but it is probably overkill for possession of a garage.
A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.