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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9390
Experience:  Solicitor
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I am the landlord of a one bedroom town house that was

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Dear Sir,I am the landlord of a one bedroom town house that was rented to a sole male tenant.THE TENANCY
6 month AST (A freehold, unfurnished property from 2 Jan 2018 to 2 July 2018: rent £550 pcm; DPS deposit £650) becoming a contractual periodic tenancy on expiry of AST.THE PROBLEMProperty vacated on 18 March 2018 without informing the landlord.
No notice to quit served & keys not returned.
Tenant not responding to the landlord’s phone calls and emails.
No forwarding address provided when requested.CURRENT SITUATIONTenant has paid rent for April and part of May but not living there.
Property is currently empty.
Tenant closed his electricity account with EDF on 18 March 2018.
Tenant is now living on site at his new job.
The tenant has taken all his possessions.
Independent witness saw the tenant loading his possessions and moving out, and can confirm property left empty.BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM
In March 2018, the tenant asked to be released from AST. The landlord and tenant entered into the agreement below, where both parties agreed in writing (via email) to the conditions below:The Agreement:
1. The tenant must release of the DPS deposit of £650 within 72 hours to the landlord. (This has been done.)2. The payment of the council tax until the end of the tenancy or until re-let. (The tenant is responsible for this, anyway.)3. The payment of £450: agreed on a weekly basis of £112.50 to be paid by the end of April 2018.These monies represent the payment for the rents for April and May 2018. It was agreed that the tenant would be released on fulfilment of this agreement, and that he would not have to pay rent for June 2018.QUESTIONS1. Is this agreement legally binding on both parties? If not, what should the landlord do to avoid any liability?2. When can the landlord legally re-rent the property?3. The tenant has paid the rent for April (£550) and part of May (£100 of the £650 DPS deposit), but he has moved out of the property and retained the keys. What are the landlord’s rights in this situation?Thank you for your attention to this matter.Mr Francesco ‘Frank’ Evans
(B.Sc. (Hons), P.G.Cert.Ed., M.Sc.)

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with your question today. I am reviewing it, please give me a moment.

Has the tenant said they have moved out and won’t be returning ?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello again. No.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello? Please answer the three questions that I have asked you.

I am in and out of Court.

Will the tenant confirm this or hand the keys back?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have written a detailed account of the situation - if you bother to read it, yo will see that the tenant has stopped communicating with me. PLEASE ANSWER THE THREE QUESTIONS THAT I HAVE ASKED YOU.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
If you are 'in and out of court', that;s your problem. I expect my matter to be dealt with properly.

Hello

My colleague has opted out.

Please provide the information he asked for and please note that I cannot be permanently available to you.

We are all running a practice too.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have sent you a detailed set of notes. The tenant has stopped communicating with me. PLEASE ANSWER THE THREE QUESTIONS THAT I HAVE ASKED.

Yes, so can you provide the information he asked for please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Your colleague asked, 'Has the tenant said they have moved out and won’t be returning ?'
I replied, 'No.' However, the tenant informed me that his new job required him to live on site. HAVE YOU BOTHERED TO READ MY COMMENTS?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Your colleague also asked, 'Will the tenant confirm this or hand the keys back?' I can only say 'No' because, as I said in my notes - the tenant has stopped communicating with me.

Thanks.

Following your responses I am not prepare to continue.

all the best.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The only reason you are not prepared to continue is because you want me to pay the extra £44 for a live call. You behaviour is deplorable to say the least. I shall ask for an immediate refund.

OK. Good luck.

Let me try this one more time. As experts, we do not worry about phone calls, because many of us are in and out of Court. It is an automated request from the system to which we have no control.

The reason we need to know whether the tenant will return the keys, or has agreed they have left the property, is that a different process applies if not.

The agreement for payment April/May, was that agreed in writing?

If you can respond then I can assist you.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Are you taking back my case?
I appreciate what you are saying about the keys, and I have answerd you (ut supra): everything has been fully explained in my notes: have you carefully read my notes?
I quote from my notes: 'The landlord and tenant entered the following agreement, and both agreed in writing (via email) to the conditions below:'
The tenant left without saying anything and took the keys with him. I cannot answer as to his state of mind. To reiterate, he closed his electricity account with EDF, and the property is empty. He is not communicating with me.

Yes, I read the notes. If he left and will not hand back the keys, this will take a longer way to sort out for you.

If he had abandoned it, then you could take re-entry. But you can not.

Is it a term of the tenancy that he has to occupy it, or for a specified period?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have just responded. I don't believe this! HERE IS THE MESSAGE AGAIN.
HAVE YOU CAREFULLY READ MY CASE NOTES?
I appreciate what you are saying about the keys, and I have answerd you (ut supra): everything has been fully explained in my notes: have you carefully read my notes?
I quote from my notes: 'The landlord and tenant entered the following agreement, and both agreed in writing (via email) to the conditions below:'
The tenant left without saying anything and took the keys with him. I cannot answer as to his state of mind. To reiterate, he closed his electricity account with EDF, and the property is empty. He is not communicating with me.

Yes, but I didn't ask for that.

I asked if it was a term of the tenancy that he occupied it?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Please give me a moment to reply.
He is on a 6 month AST. I agreed to release him if he paid me for those two months.

But it was not a term that he must hand the keys back?
It didn't specify that?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The AST states: 'The landlord agrees to let and the tenant agrees to take the property and contents for the term at the rent payable above'

Ok - but the agreement where the tenant agrees to leave, it does not say that specifically, the keys are to be handed back?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
End of Tenancy
7.3 To return the keys to the property to the agent (read landlord)...

Ok. But this agreement where tenant leaves early.

Anything in that later agreement to return keys?

In the email trail about tenant leaving, do you or he use those words?

Or is the entire agreement the 3 points at the start of the question?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
End of Tenancy
7.3 To return the keys to the property to the agent (read landlord) on the agreed termination date, or the end of the tenancy (whichever is sooner).
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The entire agreement is based on the three points mentioned. Clause 7.3 if from the AST.

Ok. In the email trail where the tenant (I assume) asks to leave early. Are those words used?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The tenant asked to be released from the contract.

And you have that in an email?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Her is an extract from his email of 01-03-18
'
However, I have found myself a new job, as the general manager of a pub in Tamworth. Unfortunately however, the position requires that I live on site. I shall therefore need to vacate Hawksworth Drive and move into the pub in the next few weeks.Please therefore take this letter as notice of my intention to vacate the property by the end of March.I understand that my agreement was a six month AST, but I am really hoping that due to the changes in my circumstances as described above you will be understandable and agree to release me from the agreement early.'

Ok - that is better.

If there was no direct wording, then you would have needed to serve a S.21 notice and wait 2 months, or wait until the tenant was in breach of the agreement and serve a S.8 notice.

You would have risked being sued for an unlawful eviction, which is why I needed to be quite sure about what was said and any discussions.

That is why I needed to be absolutely clear about what was said, agreed and discussed.

On the basis of this I can answer your questions in order:

1. Yes, the parties can agree whatever terms they want.

2. As soon as you take back possession

3. You can enter once the agreement has been fulfilled.

On the basis the deposit was released, payment of £450 was agreed and Council tax etc done, then you can take back possession now.

Clearly, a new tenant would be liable for Council tax from the time they moved in. But on the basis of the agreement and actions taken, then you can take back possession and re-let.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

If not I would appreciate a positive rating for my answer. If you need more help, you can ask follow up questions for free and I would be delighted to assist. Thanks!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Just a few quick points:1. The agreement is legal - fine.
2. Do I take back possession simply by walking in?
3. I don't understand.What about the keys?

2. Yes

3. You can re let once you take possession

Does that assist?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is the tenant - landlord agreement legal?
How do I get the keys back?

Yes the agreement is legal.

You probably won’t, you need to change the locks or get new keys cut.

Does that clarify?

Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9390
Experience: Solicitor
Jamie-Law and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Fine, this week I shall re-possess the property and re-let it.
Thank you very much for your time and attention to my case - greatly appreciated. 5 star work!
No hard feelings as it concerns your colleague, Jo. C.

Sure. Glad we got there in the end.