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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9879
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have a property in newcastle england in which i had a

Customer Question

Hi I have a property in newcastle england in which i had a letting agent looking after it. I have been trying to contact him for several months without any sucess
I contacted another letting agent who went to the property there are people inside which are not answering the door they have a camera watching the outside I dont know it they are squatters how should i contact them ie ask the police or do they class it as a civil matter i am at a loss as to what to do. I am based in northern ireland
Regards
Francis nugent
Submitted: 22 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 22 days ago.

Hello for clarification - how long has this agent supposedly managed this property? exactly how long ago was your last contact with this missing agent? when was the last rent payment and what is it your want to do with the property? thanks

Customer: replied 22 days ago.
I had been in canada for a couple of years and the agent was doing some repairs and to use the rent in leiu it could be a year since i ha spoke to him he had been looking after it since i bought it about 8 years ago. I want to get the people out and get it rented
Expert:  F E Smith replied 22 days ago.

Although you are in Northern Ireland, the property is in Newcastle England and hence, it is English law which applies.

If the tenants are squatters, then it has been a criminal offence since 2012 and that becomes a police matter but, you going to have to prove that they have not just overstayed the tenancy (if they have overstayed they are not squatting) and that they have entered the property illegally. It’s unlikely that you would be able to prove that based upon what you’ve told me and the police would just say it was a civil matter.

You need to serve the tenants with a section 21 notice to quit, assuming that the property has been occupied for more than 6 months on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which has now gone past the original term and has become periodic.

Here is some reading on section 21 notices. http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/pdf/servingS21.pdf

It is sufficient for the notice to be simply dropped through the letterbox although you would be better getting process server bailiffs/solicitors to deal with that because they can then sign a Affidavit of Service confirming that they served the notice.

More section 21 notices are defective because they don’t have enough time on them than are correct and although the minimum period is two months, just one day short of that in the time you give them to quit and the notice will be thrown out and you will be back to square one. If you want to be absolutely certain that your notice is not defective because the timescale is too short, then give three months.

If the tenants do not leave when the notice expires, you are then faced with making an application to court for an order for possession and if they still don’t leave, you make a further application to court for a warrant for possession where the bailiffs will turn up and physically throw the tenants out.

A word of warning. If the agent did not protect the deposit in a statutory scheme, and the tenants take advice, the tenants can end up claiming three times the deposit from you as compensation under the provisions of the Housing Act. You would be able to recover that from the agent but you do need to be aware.

Although there is no legal reason why you cannot do this yourself, because you are in Northern Ireland, and because of what’s potentially at stake here, I suggest that you found solicitors in Newcastle to deal with it for you.

If you visit the Law Society website www.lawsociety.org.uk

You can search solicitors by postcode and specialism.

There is no tenancy agreement, then it needs a different application for eviction which is certainly not a do-it-yourself job.

.Can I clarify anything else for you? I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 18 days ago.
How can i trace the agent that was lookong after the property i have tried his phone numbers which are dead i have an address wich i think he is not there anymore also he had spoke of taking over a pub but i dont have an address for that i have checked facebook to see he would pop up no luck there
Regards
Francis
Expert:  F E Smith replied 18 days ago.

If you let me have the details of the agent I will do some digging but meanwhile, just appoint another agent and/or firm of solicitors to get these tenants out.

If you know the name of the individuals the agency, you can do a trace using companies like this who do no find no fee for about 50 quid. However they will usually only work through solicitors or agents they won’t deal with individuals

http://www.ccsformations.co.uk/Tracing-25-c.html

To be honest, I wouldn’t get hung up on the original agent (unless they owe you money) I would just reappoint.

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
My concern is that the people would have paid a deposit and if so i would maybe have a claim against me
Regards
Francis
Expert:  F E Smith replied 18 days ago.

That is indeed a potential problem for you and that liability rests fairly and squarely with you. If you assigned the job (employed in agent to an incompetent, and the incompetent is fails to deal with it, then you who is on the hook.