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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am a landlord. I have tenants who are renting my property

Customer Question

I am a landlord.
I have tenants who are renting my property and are on full housing benefit. The housing benefit was paid directly to me. In April I served them a Section 21 Notice due to their behaviour and wanted them out. They did not move out on expiry of the notice. I spoke to them and they said they had difficulty finding other accommodation so I allowed them a few months before I took action and applied for an accelerated possession order. The accelerated possession order is now with the court and I am still waiting to hear. On the 1st December I was notified by housing benefit that the benefit was going to be stopped as from the 1st Dec as they had been notified by the tenants that they had moved out of my property. I tried contacting the tenants as they had not served me notice that they were leaving. I asked them to meet me at the property on the 2nd Dec to give me back my keys and give me the opportunity to inspect the property. They refused and said that they could not meet me and that they still had property in my house. Since then I have tried to contact them but they are not answering my calls or texts. I have not as yet been down to the property. In the interim I contacted the housing benefit to say that as they have left property in my house they are still living there so they should not stop paying me. Today I received a letter to say that the tenants have informed them that they are not occupying my property as their home as from the 1st December so will not be paying anymore rent. I would like to know how I stand now legally about taking back possession of my property? Can I enter and reclaim? What about their property if they have left something there? As they have not served me notice that they were leaving I am very wary about venturing on to the property even though they have admitted to the housing benefit that they no longer live there. What should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

Sadly unless they have given you the keys back or notified you that they have left, you can't re-enter WITHOUT a Court order.

Alex Watts :

So once you get that bailiffs can enter for you.

Alex Watts :

You can't enter and reclaim unless they have handed the keys back or said they have left.

Alex Watts :

If they have left something there, unless they have given you a forwarding address you can dispose of it

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Hi Alex

Alex Watts :

Hi

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Hi Alex why is that? Surely as they have notified the housing benefit people that they have left that is proof that they no longer live there? How is it possible that a tenant can move on to another property and claim benefit for that property and still have legal entitlement to mine and not pay the rent??The law does not appear to protect the landlord. Also when I receive notification of when they have to leave through the courts I then have to wait for the time to lapse before getting the bailiffs involved which could take a few months. All this and the tenants are no longer occupying my property?

Alex Watts :

No, because they could have notified HB but not left the property yet.

Alex Watts :

You can take possession but you run a risk that they can claim an unlawful eviction

Alex Watts :

Then you would be sued and taken to Court.

Alex Watts :

You are FAR safer waiting for a Court order.

Alex Watts :

But if you want to run the risk you can - but I am just warning you of the putfalls

Alex Watts :

* pitfalls*

Alex Watts :

You are not entitled to possession without a Court order

Alex Watts :

Otherwise its an unlawful eviction

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and it is certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

I do understand this but what if there is proof that housing benefit is being paid to another property which they are now living in. Housing benefit have stated by letter that the tenant has told them that she is not occupying my house as her home as from the 1st December.

Alex Watts :

Its your risk.

Alex Watts :

If it was me I would get a Court order.

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

If this is the case the law is an ass.

Alex Watts :

But it may be they have left and you are fine

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

But how will I know?

Alex Watts :

But if they have not abandoned the property it would be an unlawful eviction and you could be prosecuted.

Alex Watts :

You don't - that is the problem

Alex Watts :

That is why I would wait until there was a Court order

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

I know this might seem as I am running around in circles I do understand you however if she has told housing benefit that she no longer occupies my house how can I be prosecuted for unlawful eviction?

Alex Watts :

Because they may not be telling the truth to HB.

Alex Watts :

They may NOT have actually moved out

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

This I do understand however if there is proof that housing benefit are paying her HB to another landlord then they cannot live in two places?

Alex Watts :

I agree. But you don't know whether they HAVE actually moved out.

Alex Watts :

That is the problem

Alex Watts :

Its your choice, you can risk entry, take possession - but what if they are still there?

Alex Watts :

I agree.

Alex Watts :

But you are making an assumption they have moved out

Alex Watts :

You do not know for a fact

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

I suppose I can notify them and give them 24 hours notice to ask to come down and enter the property as an inspection as per their tenancy agreement?

Alex Watts :

You can yes.

Alex Watts :

But then if there is anything they have left, even if it is a bed or sofa, you have to assume they are still there and wait the Court order

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Okay thank you it still baffles me that if there is proof they are claiming benefit on another property then they can still be living in mine?

Alex Watts :

But you are making an assumption, you dont know for a fact they have moved out

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

You mean they can live at mine and claim housing benefit on another property??????

Alex Watts :

But you do not know for a fact they have moved out.

Alex Watts :

They could be claiming HB yes. It could be fraud.

Alex Watts :

You dont know they have moved out

Alex Watts :

1) They have not told you

Alex Watts :

2) They have not given you the keys back

Alex Watts :

I dont think the fact they have told HB on its own is enough. You run the risk. But its a commercial decision for you.

Alex Watts :

If it were me, I would wait for a Court order.

Alex Watts :

But if you are confident 100% they have moved out then go and look.

Alex Watts :

Have an inspection just to be sure.

Alex Watts :

If they have moved then you can claim

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Absolutely this I do understand there is definitely a loophole when it comes to the law and housing benefit. The morale of the story is never rent to scum housing benefit tenants! Will never do so again!! Many thanks to you I can see that my hand are tied until the court order. What if ask to go and inspect as is my right and they do not respond can I just go down and take a look?

Alex Watts :

Depends on what your tenancy says.

Alex Watts :

If it says you need their consent then you do.

Alex Watts :

If not then you can just go ahead and do it

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

When you say if they have moved I can claim? do not understand....

Alex Watts :

Ok - if they have moved out you can claim possession.

Alex Watts :

But you need to be 100% they have.

Alex Watts :

If there is anything left to suggest they have not 100% moved out then you can't

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Okay many thanks I do understand this however not impressed with the law in this situation.

Alex Watts :

I agree, its unfair

Alex Watts :

If you become an MP you could try and change it!

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

Well I might think about that!!!! Many thanks no there is nothing else I will proceed cautiously.......

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

Can I help with anything else today?

JACUSTOMER-qq7ahomx- :

No thank you have been very informative sadly not the info I wanted to hear!!! Take care and thank you again.

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

Can I ask you to rate my service before you go today - the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.


If the system won’t let you please click reply.



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