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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, four months to go on the letting contract and my tenant

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Hi, four months to go on the letting contract and my tenant stopped paying, the letting agency issued an abandonment notice at end of Jan. the guarantor refused to pay any rent owing but changed the locks a gave over the keys. the contract now ends this month and I have been told I cannot enter property until then. when I go in can I dispose of the tenants belongings. Dave
What type of contract is it?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

assured shorthold tenancy agreement

Has the tenant abandoned the property?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

yes, no contact from her since January, council rang agent as she was reporting homeless to them, agent went through what he had done and council said they were satisfied that she had voluntarily made herself homeless. all documents issued by agent are still on front door but she has made no contact with us.

Do you have any contact details for her? Mobile phone or email?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Mobile phone which just goes to voice mail, agent has left messages.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

guarantor also has no further contact with her

Have you been to court to seek a possession order?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No, agent said should be ok if she has not returned before contract ends. looking through windows she has taken most possessions. just looks like clothes and toys everywhere, bed base, no mattress, arm chair and settee, and household rubbish everywhere.

Ok. They are relying on abandonment.

Abandonment is a much misunderstood concept in law. Abandonment notices are all very well and they are certainly better than doing nothing but they are not fail safe protection.

There is a legal rule which states that if the conduct of the tenant is inconsistent with an intention to continue with the tenancy this will be considered implied surrender. It is the action of the tenant that does that though not the action of the landlord.

Return of the keys is prima facie evidence of an intention to surrender and the removal of most belongings is another. Long absences are not sufficient though.

The problem with this situation is that your agents seem to be saying that you can rely on abandonment of the property in law but that you must wait for the end of the AST. That would seem to combine the worst of both worlds.

Either the property is abandoned in which case you can gain access immediately. Or the property is not in which case there should have been breach proceedings under S8 to get you a possession order.

The agents need to be clear which is it. If they are relying on abandonment then you can get in straight away although it would be a good idea to call up her phone and leave a message or send a text giving her 7 days to collect.

If they are saying that you cannot rely on abandonment then you might want to ask why they haven't served S8 breach proceedings and to ask for some form of compensation in negligence for failing to do so.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you, suppose as her rent guarantor changed lock and returned keys that that cannot be assumed the intentions of the tenant.


Thank you Dave

I wouldn't suggest relying upon it. The actions of the guarantor are not necessarily those of the tenant especially when she is not paying.

The best point you have here is that she has removed some of her goods but I wouldn't depend on it.

But the guarantor is liable if you want to recover your losses.