How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Remus2004 Your Own Question

Remus2004
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69987
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
12826847
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Remus2004 is online now

My tenants have vacated the property, the AST agreement has

Resolved Question:

My tenants have vacated the property, the AST agreement has not yet been voided as the tenant are claiming unreasonable compensation. Can I legally change the locks?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What is the evidence that they have vacated?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have informed me verbally and my agent has been round to the property.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
What has the agent seen?
Why does he believe they have gone?
As opposed to just not being there when he attended.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not sure but I also have an email which states that I need to pay a portion of all bills for the for period from 4Sept - 10Oct, which is the day they claim to have vacated. They are also insisting on payment of the deposit in advance before DPS releases funds. If I don't agree they intend taking me to court for solicitors fees, I have yet to see any letter, doctors fee as claims the property has caused illness.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The flat was completely empty
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
All of their property had been removed?
Have they returned the keys?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All property has been removed.Keys have not been returned.
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for that
You have two options really and neither of them are really very fair. Unfortunately the law is very heavily biased in favour of tenants basically because of the activities of a notorious landlord in the 1960s. 

The first option is obviously just to seek an accelerated possession order. You will need to serve a S21 notice and let it expire though.

The second though is this. It does have risks so consider carefully. Where a property has been abandoned there is a legal doctrine of implied surrender. Quite a lot of agents and some solicitors seem to think this is a simple way to bipass a possession order but I have to say that I disagree.

To serve a notice of abandonment you need to do this to the letter. Print up a notice that says something like 'We believe that you are no longer in permanent residence at this address. If that is not the case then please make contact with me on X number at your earliest convenience and, in any event within 7 days.' Make sure it is dated prominently. Laminate the notice. Put the laminated notice on the front door of the property. Take photographs of it there and of yourself putting it on there.

There are some agents who take the view that within 7 days and no contact you can just get back in. Quite a lot of agents think 24 hours is sufficient.

Personally I think you need to do more work than that to protect yourself. 

Implied surrender is all very well but its the actions of the tenant that creates implied surrender not the actions of the landlord. I have to say that I'm not sure that an absence from the property alone is sufficient to prove surrender. I have been away from my house for more than 7 days at a time over Christmas, Easter, holidays, cases where I had to stay elsewhere. It doesn't mean I'm not living here.

Thats not to say that you shouldn't do this but just that you need also to look for more evidence. Genuine abandonment is usually signed by the tenant by the removal of his possessions, leaving the keys behind etc. Potentially leaving the house insecure. If you have evidence of that then take photographs and you can repossess without an order.

There is an argument that if there are genuine signs of abandonment you can repossess without an abandonment notice but I wouldn't suggest the risk. As you know unlawful eviction is a criminal offence and I am primarily a criminal lawyer. There are many problems in criminal law but an abundance of evidence to prove that an offence has not been committed is not one we should cry about.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information
Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 69987
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Remus2004 and 2 other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Remus2004

    Remus2004

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    2446
    Over 5 years in practice.
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Remus2004's Avatar

    Remus2004

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    2446
    Over 5 years in practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TG/TGraham12/2012-7-17_81212_bigstockBusinessHandshake508163.64x64.jpg Thomas's Avatar

    Thomas

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    453
    UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    42
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4708
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AS/Aston Lawyer/2013-10-8_19517_JAPROFILEPICTURE.64x64.jpg Aston Lawyer's Avatar

    Aston Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1907
    LLB(HONS) 23 years of experience in dealing with Conveyancing and Property Law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CH/chathamchamber/2011-4-24_191833_1.64x64.jpg chatham-chamber's Avatar

    chatham-chamber

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    846
    LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CL/clairep80/2013-8-25_191218_dreamstimexs267279822nd.64x64.jpg Clare's Avatar

    Clare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    308
    I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
 
 
 

Related Property Law Questions