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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 32257
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am the owner of a house where 7 illegal Vietnanmese were

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Hi, I am the owner of a house where 7 illegal Vietnanmese were living (we don't have tenancy relationship. I have let the house to someone else who illegally sublet the house to the Vietnamese). Those Vietnanmese were arrested by police 4 months ago for drug offence. There were released by police today by now under Home Office detention. The Vietnamese have cause damages to house, i have spented time and money to clear/clean the house, storage of their personal belongings (a garagefull stuff). I wish to know if I can sell their 2 cars to recover my financial loss please?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Cambridge, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Nothing yet. I have written a letter to the Vietnamese suggesting them to take their stuff from my garage or I will give their stuff to charities.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: The Vietnanmese are in Home Office detention centre. I wish to know if I can sell their cars to recover my costs/loss.

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.

I am sorry to read of the above. Putting the Vietnamese occupants to one side for a moment, how did you go about ending the tenancy with your tenant who unlawfully sublet the property? Did you obtain a court order or did your tenant surrender the tenancy?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
After the police have arrested the Vietnanmese from the house, police have contacted me. I and police bother tried to contact the signatured tenants (contractors), but we failed to got them.

thank you. So to be clear, you simply enter the property without having either accepted a surrender or at the keys returned from the tenancy did rent the property to a without obtaining a court order. Is that correct?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
The tenancy contractors have disappeared - I counldn't get them any more.

thank you. Finally, may I confirm if you're tenant, as opposed to the unlawful subtenants, was an individual or a company tenant?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Therefore, I have sent an email informing them to end the tenancy one month after the police have made arrests there. The tenants didn't reply.

may I confirm if your tenant, as opposed to the unlawful subtenants, was an individual or a company tenant?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I couldn't recover my costs/loss from the contract tenants (they have run away) . The 2 cars owned by the Vietnanmese are the only potenctial source to recover my costs/losses. But I cannot sell the cars which I don't own.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
There are 2 indivudals.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
They are 2 individuals. Brother and sister.

thank you. I am bound to point out the danger of taking back the property which you rented without either accepting an express surrender from the tenants or obtaining a court order. Technically, this is an unlawful interference with their tenancy and is a breach of the protection against eviction act. Regrettably, this is the case regardless of how egregious the actions of the tenant were and exposes you to a potential claim by the tenant's for civil damages. I do not suggest that the tenants will bring such a claim but I am bound to highlight the risk that they may do so.

in terms of being able to remove the cars, you can do this relatively easily by serving a tort notice. This is a notice giving the owner or owners of the property in question reasonable notice to remove the possessions failing which they will be sold or disposed of. I'm attaching an example of how to serve a tort notice.

in terms of whether you can keep the money, you have no contract with the subtenants and as such, have no means to charge them rent and do not wish to do so as this would create a direct tenancy as between their menu. If you can demonstrate that they have damaged your property, then you could sustain a claim in tort against them and use the proceeds from possessions they have left to offset any judgement obtained against them

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks for your advice. About the "without either accepting an express surrender from the tenants or obtaining a court order" to end the tenancy. In the signed Contract, it states "The landlord can retake the property if the rent is not paid in 14 days, or tenants have breached their obligations". They unlawfully sublet the house - is a breach of the Contract, Cannot I retake the house? Should I still need court order?

sadly not because the housing act 1988 requires notice to be served and the protection against eviction act prohibits the ending of the tenancy without a court order other than where it is  surrendered by the tenant. Statutory law trumps any contractual provision I regret

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you very much for your advice! Should I now taken any eviction action? (for court order). It's already 4 months after the police arrests and I have taken the house back. The problem is I couldn't get the contract tenants - by phone or by email, they simply no reply.

in a sense, it is really too late in this respect to retrospectively seek a court order. Most of the damage by this time has already been done. however, you may wish to consider carefully whether to bring proceedings against your tenant for damage caused to the property which  ordinarily would be able to bring because this may prompt the tenant into looking at what they can do in the circumstances which of course could include  a counterclaim for civil damages

Joshua and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
the tenants may counter-claim against me. Thank you very much for your helpful advice.

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