Hello, I am a solcictor with 20 yeasr experience. I will try to answer this.
1 if you assume that the sister is acting with her brother's authority then you could treat the property as abandoned/vacated from the date she told you that he was not coming back. You can change the locks if you wish to do so. 2 Your idea on how to deal with the sofa is sensible and you should send a warning letter telling her to get them removed or you will sell them as part payment of the arrears. 3 How much are the arrears? You cod seek a court order for payment of the outstanding arrears but If he was on HB and is in prison now will he be able to pay any judgement y obtain? No point getting a money judgement against a man of straw. Your claim would be for payment of rent for the entire term of the tenancy (or until you relet the property to another tenant for the same of higher rent). 4 You could reasonable pick either the date he went to prison or the date his sister contacted you as the date when the tenancy ended.
my desire to change the locks was only to prevent her from going in as she pleases. I was hoping not to do so for the cost but if I do then I can thenat least say she has to meet me at the property to collect the remainder belongings on my terms/time.
he is approx. £1000-1500 in arrears.
to be clear are you saying I have a claim for the rent until I relet or the full 2 year tenancy whichever is sooner.
he may be a man of straw but to prevent a ccj etc his father may pay.
finally re the warning letter or message to her on whats app, can ijust say I have been fair givinf her four weeks to collect all items that now if she goes in she is trespassing and I will call the police. Additionally the remainder items will now be sold and deducted against the rent?
additionally can you confirm...the tenancy end date i.e when notified by the tenants sister is different to the claim date for arrears (i.e when relet or end of 2 year tenancy?
1 Re: the rent you have a contractual right to rent for the whole term but have to mitigate your loss so you can claim for the whole term but have to attempt to relet the property and can only in reality claim for your actual losses.
2 Although you could call the police. In the normal course of events trespass is not a crime but a civil wrong so they may not respond.
3 His father may pay but I doubt a convict has a very good credit rating.
Strictly speaking no you can not do this unless you get a court order for the money and then enforce that order. In practice there might not be much risk to you in holding on to it until the debt is satisfied. Selling it without court sanction could lead to problems.
If you give reasonable notice for them to be collected on pain of disposal that is entirely reasonable and you will not be liable in law for any losses if you do get rid of the furniture or sell it but you must give reasonable notice and give them a reasonable opportunity to remove the items before treating them as abandoned and therefore yours.