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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have learnt today that my tenant isn't living at the property

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I have learnt today that my tenant isn't living at the property and has sublet to someone claiming to be her sister but isn't able to answer basic questions about my tenants surname. My tenant who was supposed to move out today suddenly had a cardiac event so can't move until Friday, we know this to be untrue. We have agreed that the bogus tenant (who has started packing) can stay until Friday but that we will meet at the property at 11.00am on Friday with a locksmith present and that she has 2 days to remove her possessions. Can you let me know what I need to consider to make sure I don't end up in a legal nightmare as a result of Friday. Thankyou.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What evidence do you have that she isn't there?
Bearing in mind you might need to prove it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The house is 3 bedrooms, 2 are where the 3 children sleep and the other is where the mother sleeps. The faux tenant has said that she pays rent to my tenant. My tenant had told me the children where hers, when they are not, they belong to the faux tenant and she admitted to me and the estate agent today that she has been living there with her children for 3 months ( I suspect that she has been there the entire time). I don't know how to prove it, other than the fact that she is never there and I have a number of tradesmen who have attended the house who can confirm that the person they met is a lady called "Patience' and not Marceline. What would count as proof?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Will the bogus tenant give evidence?
Or do you have a record of her saying this?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I recorded the conversation where she admitted to living there and accepted that she was subletting from Marceline.She had initially insisting that she was there just there to watch the children ( who are indeed hers) and but is still claiming my tenant lives there despite there being no sign of her and not enough beds. I have no other proof, except there has been a significant web of lies and many cancelled appts whenever I have wanted to attend but happy to have tradesmen there. She has never been there. There are signs that they are packing things up and have somewhere else to go, I just want to be able to take possession on Saturday. A section21 notice was served which expired on 30th June, I agreed to an extension of one month as the property they wanted wasn't available. The extention ran out on Friday, they then said they couldn't move until today, and then today the 'tenant' said she couldn't move because of a cardiac event and she wouldn't be released from hospital until Friday ( we have called 5 hospitals and there is no record of her) and the fake tenant has confirmed that she can't access the new tenancy until Friday. Can I change the locks on Friday if I can show the the tenant, doesn't live there?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok. You need to be more careful about this.
Do not change the locks at this stage.
Do you believe she will go Friday?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I believe she will go on Friday, a lot of the possessions were packed and she has agreed to meet us at 11.00 to hand over the keys. I have a locksmith booked to come at 11.30 to change the locks, is there anything I need to be concerned about ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, unlawful eviction. That is a criminal offence. I don't know who suggested doing that but it is not a good idea.
The trouble here is that clearly she has misbehaved but you have to prove it and she may well turn up pretending that she was away for a short time and then you are in difficulty.
The sub let tenant has no right to be there and actually you could get the police to put out if she doesn't go. She will have a claim against your tenant that she can pursue at her leisure.
However, you then need to gather evidence the property is empty. Packed possessions would be helpful. Absence of goods. Usually the way to do it is to attach an abandonment notice to the front door and take photographs of yourself doing it giving her 48 hours to contact you if the property is not abandoned.
Then if she does not you can change the locks but it is not a good idea without proper evidence.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Jo. To clarify, a section 21 notice was served and expired on the 30th June ( I agreed to an extn of 1 month) and I don't believe the true tenant has lived there for some time. So on that basis that I plan to go to the property as agreed at 11.00am tomorrow. Assuming the fake tenant has moved her possessions and the real tenant is not present, I will post an abandonment notice as suggested and change the locks after 48 hours. Assuming it is empty, am I allowed to go into the property and clean it or make repairs during those 48 hours?

Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I really would leave it alone.
You are open to all manner of allegations as sometimes these professional victims do lie.
It is only 48 hours so I really would let notice run its course.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Jo I have had written confirmation via text that she understands the tenancy has ended and she also confirms the house will be empty tomorrow and that keys will be returned. In that event, can I then change the locks and move on?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, for the reasons above.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69534
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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