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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 21
Experience:  Moderator
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URGENT!!! I have just returned home from a stay in hospital

Customer Question

I have just returned home from a stay in hospital and my landlord has put a for sale sign in my garden and changed all the locks!!
I am a single mother, and ALL of my belongings are in the house!! And the kids.
I have had no notice to quit served on me or ANY court documents.
Can i change the locks back and go in for my belongings??
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
How long were you away for ? What sort of tenancy do you have?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have been in and out of the hospital for the last 8 weeks with crushed discs in my spine. My landlord knew of this and i had text him 2 or 3 times last week to let him know my family would be collecting my belongings as i am not able to be in the house without help due to my illness. i also asked him 3 times how much i had to pay him as my father would settle any bills when they collected my stuff and he replied saying he was in Barra at a relatives funeral and would speak to me when he got back! And that he hoped i was ok? I then got there today to find the locks changed!! and he has been in the house without my permission or knowing?? It is a short assured tenancy agreement. He asks for cash every month in hand. but i have had no court order telling me to leave.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.

OK It is generally a criminal offence to evict without a court order and you can call the police and with their consent break back into the house and change the locks again. However if you are telling him you would not be living there and that you would settle any bills then could you have led him to believe you were not returning? Do you actually want to renter the premises? Have you continued to pay the rent whilst you were away? The landlord is entitled to enter the property provided he gives reasonable notice. If you were not there he could not really do that. Do you have a rent book? If you are paying cash you should have and should get it receipted every month

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, he knew i was going to be leaving this week due to my illness and that my family would be collecting my belongings this weekend and settling the past months rent with him on Monday. I have it all in text on my phone. He knew my familly were coming to collect my belongings and would not answer me when i asked how much i had left to pay. i asked 3 times over text. He has never given notice to enter and when i have returned from the hospital in the past it is obvious that he has been in as my mail has been stacked in the livingroom, and i drove in once to find him there? I think he wanted it in cash because he owes money to the taxman, i have aTenancy agreement but he has never given me a rentbook. He has never given me receipts either. I just want my belongings back as agreed and to pay him my last months rent but he wont answer my calls or texts.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
When you say you wanted to leave this week when did you tell him you were gong to leave? How much notice did you give?

It sounds as if he might well be able to argue that you said you were leaving and had abandoned the property. If it was absolutely clear that you were still within your tenancy and had paid the rent I would say you could legitimately get a locksmith to break in and change the locks again. You can risk that if you want but you may well be responsible for the costs of the locks. My cautious advice is to speak to the police first to avoid issues later. I would tell the landlord he has illegally evicted you and you will break in if he does not give you immediate access to get you belongings.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No.. he knew i wouldnt be leaving until Tuesday. I still have it all on text. and the texts i kept sending asking what my final bill would be up to that date. I have kept them all.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
ok well he has clearly acted illegally in evicting you without a court order so you can reenter but i would call the police to assist. IF you just break in it may cause problems although it seems to be legally justified.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

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