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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31747
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a tenant who won't move out of my house and he is

Customer Question

I have a tenant who won't move out of my house and he is damaged my whole property from inside and out
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I am based in Hounslow, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have been through a court process
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Could you please connect me as I would like to explain the whole situation to the lawyer
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

I am very sorry to read of the above.

  1. May I confirm if the tenants fixed term of tenancy has yet expired please?
  2. Have you served either a section 8 notice or section 21 notice to date?
  3. Did you protect the tenant's deposit within 30 days of receipt?
  4. Did you provide the tenant with an energy performance certificate, gas safety certificate ( if applicable) and a copy of the governments how to rent booklet being the edition in force at the time the tenancy commenced?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi Joshua, thank you for your replyTo give you a brief description of the whole situation, so basically I had a tenant move in 4 years ago to my property. For the first few months he paid the rent and then decided not to, after doing a lot of chasing I decided to take him to court. The court process was really delayed due to the Covid, but finally I got a court date on 04/04/2022, and it was finalised that the tenant needs to move out on 07/05/2022, however I had to pay the tenant £10,000 due to the fact the tenant did some work/renovation to the house as he is a builder too. I paid £5000 but was unable to pay the rest of the £5000, as my financial status is not good due to all the court expenses for the past 4 years.I was passing by my house on Monday to check and heard some banging noises, I went round the back yard and saw that the tenant with his sons was breaking everything with hammers. When I went round the front and looked through the window the whole house was damaged and broken from inside, they were basically breaking and ripping everything apart, like also removing the floorboards.I called a locksmith and got him to change the locks, he said someone had put glue all over the lock so it could not be accessed. The locksmith then had to drill and break the lock, he changed the locks for me and I went inside my house and was really upset and disgusted at the state he had done to my house. I did make recording and took photos.Could you please advise on what I can do as this has really affected my life, 4 years of my life have been ruined due to this, my financial status has really gone down, I am struggling a lot with everything. I just want my house back , please help and advise me.
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

  1. I am very sorry to read of the above. Presumably you will be contemplating making a claim against the tenant for the damage caused including consideration in respect of a claim against his deposit?
  2. May I confirm if you have reported the matter to your insurer? Does your insurance policy cover malicious damage?
  3. Did you obtain a warrant for possession from the court in addition to a possession order?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
No we didn't obtain a warrant, as the court said if we are unable to pay the £10,000 the we are unable to get the property, however I have paid £5000. But what about the damage done to my property, will the court not take all of this into consideration, or will they not give me more time to pay the remainder £5000
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
This whole process has been really frustrating, I mean its my house, I have been paying ridiculous amounts for this whole court case for the past 4 years and in the end I was the one who still needed to pay £10,000 and now I will have to pay more than £100,000 for all the damage he has done
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

my apologies for the short delay in reverting to you. I had to step into a meeting.

My immediate concern is that by changing the lock, you potentially may have exacerbated the problem because it is a breach of the protection against eviction act to evict a tenant without a warrant. accordingly, you may have provided the tenant with a basis to claim civil damages against you if you do not have evidence that they have voluntarily surrendered their tenancy and left the property.

Accordingly, you may wish to liaise with the tenant to advise that having been unable to contact the tenant, you have gained access to the property in order to properly secure it as you become aware that criminal damage was being committed leaving the property insecure.

you can go on to say that you have evidence that the damages that have been caused were undertaken by the tenant themselves and you would ask them to explain the damage that has been caused.

You can go on to say (if they have not returned the keys to the property or message due to surrender the tenancy) that there tenancy is obviously still in effect and they can collect the keys from (address / from a mutually convenient time/place) and that they continue to be liable for rent.

You may need to consider raising a claim against them for the damage caused to the property in the county court which presumably can be offset against the existing order made against you

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Will there be any serious problems for me for the fact that I changed the lock. I mean does the case go against me, will the court take anything into consideration on my behalf
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
As ai mentioned, the fact that I have paid half of the amount from £10,000
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

as above, changing the locks or taking any other action which violates the rights under the tenancy or seeks to encourage the tenant to leave can constitute a breach of the protection against eviction act. Accordingly, as per my above narrative, it seems to me you need to think about how you would frame the actions you took in the context of being appropriate to secure the property in the circumstances as opposed to being an action to prejudice the tenant's rights under the tenancy.

examples of situations in which actions you carried out may have been appropriate would be for example if you believed there was an emergency at the property requiring immediate access, if you are concerned that the property had been made insecure as a result of damage, if the property was being actively damaged and you need to put a stop to it or if you exercising a right to inspect the property under the terms of the tenancy and you are unable to gain access due to damage to the locks - in this latter case, you would likely need a detailed report from the locksmith setting out that you are unable to gain access due to damage to the lock which appear to be intentional.

Coupled with that, it is important to make clear that keys are available to the tenant so that they can be no suggestion that you have changed the locks and subsequently deprived the tenant from access

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok, thank you. I will discuss your points advised with my partner and will get back in touch with you
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I'm I able to just send you message here
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Also, what are your working hours so I know when to message
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

you are welcome to post a message here at your convenience. I am typically available during the week during extended office hours and from time to time outside of these hours. However you can post at any time and if I happen not to be available, I will respond as soon as I next am

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Okay, no problem. Thank you Joshua for your time and help, I really appreciate it. Thank you once again
Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

I'm glad the above answers all your questions for now. If you have any follow up questions please revert to me.

Expert:  Joshua replied 15 days ago.

I hope I was able to answer your question. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favourite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish. Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer and see you again in the future I hope.