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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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hi I spoke to you a while ago about issuing a section 21 and

Customer Question

hi I spoke to you a while ago about issuing a section 21 and things have moved on since. the tenants have abandoned the property on the 23/10 but I have no idea what has happened to the keys where do we go from here,and also the section 21 runs out on the 31/12 so am I entitled to just take the property back on the 01/01/15
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Matt Jones :

Hi will try and help

Matt Jones :

Hello again

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

hi

Matt Jones :

TO what extent have the tenant moved out? Have you had a look through the window and is the place completely abandoned. ?

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

yes we looked through the windows last night and it is empty they have moved to another property in the same town according to a relative of theirs

Matt Jones :

ok thanks

Matt Jones :

in these circumstances I always advise caution. Technically they are allowed back to that property until the date the notice expires (and in in fact until you get a court order) however where a tenant has voluntarily given up possession then the landlrod is allowed to re-enter the property to secure it. The reason I say exercise caution is if the tenant has "fully" vacated the proepryy and later argues that because they left they toaster there, for example, they were still in occupation.

Matt Jones :

what i suggest you do then is to send/hand deliver them a letter saying that you believe they have vacated and you are concerned over the secutiy of your preoprty, and that if you have not heard from them within, say, 48 ours, you will breack in and change the locks to ensure that yot proeprty is secure.

Matt Jones :

(terrible spelling in that one sorry)

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

I have sent them a text reading this- we know you have left and moved out, you need to give us notice that you have left and return the keys for us to take it back. If this is not done by the 1st of December we will seek a possession order from the court and you will be liable for December's and November's rent. we can come through today or tomorrow, if we do not hear from you today, legal proceedings will start tomorrow. then it is out of our hands which i'm sure neither of us want.

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

we have had no response from them and they have only paid 1 weeks rent this month which was on the 10/10

Matt Jones :

If they have actually vacated then there is no need to get a court order. You can take possession back. You just have to be very sure they have actually vacated of their own free will. I am assuming that it is more important to get the property back and rented out again, as you will unlikely recover any arrears from the errant tenants?

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

we are not renting again we are selling but I do not want to enter the property if we are going to break the law. they have definitely left but have left a key in the front door to stop us gaining access which would mean us breaking in

Matt Jones :

is there a back door that you or the tenants can enter?

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

we only had a key for the front door but yes there is a back door which can be used

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

we also do not have a forwarding address for them

Matt Jones :

There are two lawful ways in which a landlord can get a property back; either he serves notice and gets a court order, or the tenant hands the property back to him. If a tenant leaves, and there is no intention for him to remain or come back, and all of the evidence here points to it, then the landlord can lawfully take back possession. If you have to break in to do it because they haven't arranged to give you the keys back then that is what you will have to do. However this is why i was suggesting the written notice through the door (i don't like text messages as you cant easily evidence them in court). This is a belt and braces approach. if the worse happens, the tenant returns and says you have unlawfully evicted them you can legitimately say to the court that you had texted them, and written to them, the property was completely empty and as far as you were concerned the property had been abandoned. You were worried about security, and after the expiry of the notice you had no choice but to break in and change the locks.

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

so if I gain access to the property tomorrow and change the locks is there anything else I need to do. and like I said we don't have an address for them to put a letter through the door so at present that would not be possible

Matt Jones :

sorry i mean serve the notice through the door of the property. That is the last known address. i know it sounds odd as you suspect they don't live there, but what you are doing it laying the ground work so say that, if they were in occupation (or intending to return) to the property, you had done all you could to protect their interest. Let someone else deliver it do that they can give evidence that they had done so, and I would suggest leaving it longer that tomorrow to break in so tat you have given them a good 48 - 72 hours notice of your intention. It is all unlikely to be necessary if they have moved out and never intend to return, I am just giving you the best advise in case of the slim chance that they do actually return (in my experience they very rarely do)

Matt Jones :

not sure if it was yourself who spoke to me last time, but we can have a chat over the phone for an additional fee if you wish to chat over any other concerns?

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

ok that is great thank you for your advice again, hopefully this will be the last time

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

just 1 last thing is there anything specific I need to put in the notice

Matt Jones :

As I said above, something along the line of that you are lead to believe that they have vacated the property and from the lack of furniture and lack of reply to text message you believe they do not intend to return. If this is not the case ask them to contact you immediately on receipt of the note. If not then, as you are concerned about the security of the property you intend to enter the property on the .......date at such-and-such a time,to ensure that the property is secure an free from tresspassers.

Matt Jones :

that ok?

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

fantastic thank you

Matt Jones :

also, just FYI, in my day job my firm does conveynancing if you require my service on that

Matt Jones :

when you come to sell

JACUSTOMER-96ens604- :

thanks very much bye excellent rating

Matt Jones :

cheers. If you click on the smiley face i can be paid for my time here. All the best.

Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
Matt Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello
I hope that my advice assisted you, and all has gone well. If you have time then I would welcome an update.
If you have any other legal questions then please post "FOR MATTHEW J" before you ask your further question and I will endevour to come back to you. I may not be online at that particular moment but will come back to you as quickly as I can.
All the best
Regards
Matthew J
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi your advice was great thank you we received the keys back for the house on Tuesday after pointing out they would still be liable for Decembers rent and that we would have to take them to court in order to get the house back, so thank you very much for your advice it WORKED

Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Great. all the best.

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