Can’t get in to rental property due to domestic violence team putting in mortice locks and alarms?

by Readers Question

11:27 AM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Can’t get in to rental property due to domestic violence team putting in mortice locks and alarms?

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Can’t get in to rental property due to domestic violence team putting in mortice locks and alarms?

My brother has been letting out a mid terrace house privately to a tenant for three years, lady with children and a dog, then three months ago it went to council rent – only one month was paid and then they told him she was leaving. deadlocks

She stopped paying rent and he cant get into the house as the locks have been changed to mortice locks.

She said she had posted keys but didn’t, he texted her, she’s being very rude and has told him that the the domestic violence team put in the locks plus alarms to windows, and have deadlocked front door with metal strip.

He knew about none of this. My question is does he get the door broken down and can he get the Domestic violence team to pay for any of the work required?

Are they allowed to do this on rental property without his permission?

Suzan



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:31 AM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Suzan,

If and only if your brother has proof that the tenant has given up possession of the property then he has the right to gain access,

However I have no idea what powers a domestic violence team have or why your brother was not informed.

Hopefully another reader will have some experience in this area, but hopefully fingers crossed the property will only need a new door when you do get in.

Gary Nock

12:39 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Suzan,

Generally a Domestic Violence Advocate will have worked with a Police Protection Unit and used volunteers to have the locks fitted. They do have protocols for rental properties but these vary between local authorities. Generally due to the DV threat the DV teams will not notify the landlord or give spare keys in the event that the landlord inadvertently lets the estranged partner in or is duped into giving them a key. It is left to the tenant to liaise with the landlord and provide copies of keys. And it is very unlikely you will get them to pay. Best confirm that the tenant has gone and then get a locksmith in. But make sure they have gone either by a surrender of tenancy, abandonment procedure, or a court order.

Robert Mellors

12:50 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Suzan

Generally speaking, tenants are allowed to change the locks so if the tenant agreed for someone to do this for her (whether a domestic violence team, done herself, a builder, or a private locksmith) then the lock change is the responsibility of the tenant, so it is up to the tenant to ensure that the keys are handed to you at the end of the tenancy. If she has not ensured this, e.g. by handing the keys to your personally or sending them by a secure "signed for" postal service, then the tenant is liable for the loss of the keys and the cost of any action required to re-gain access to the property. - Of course, the fact that she is liable for the costs is entirely different to your chances of actually getting her to pay these costs!

Luke P

13:39 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

New locks or not, you have no automatic right of access/entry so the fact that the doors are more secure makes no difference here. See the additional locks as a good thing (it has improved the security of your brother's property), but as for the frustrating lack of access, having a key would make little difference if the tenant is uncooperative...yes a tenant can withhold/withdraw permission at any time (even after it's been given).

Robert Mellors

13:44 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "19/12/2016 - 13:39":

Very right. I was reading the post as if the tenant had given notice or surrendered the tenancy, but upon re-reading it, this point is not clear. If the tenant has not surrendered the tenancy (or it has not been lawfully ended, e.g. by court order), then there is no automatic right of entry so the landlord needs to obtain this first, before trying to enter the property.

terry sullivan

16:35 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

r u sure tenant can change locks? i think not!

Gary Nock

16:41 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Terry it's at best a breach of tenancy agreement and leaves them open to a discretionary eviction - but try getting that past a Judge if it's a Domestic Violence case.

Gary Dully

18:03 PM, 19th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "19/12/2016 - 16:35":

The tenant can change the locks at any time.

Your tenancy agreement may contain a clause that all duplicates should be handed to the landlord at the end of a tenancy, but I think that's about it.

It should also say that the tenant should supply you with a copy, but legally there isn't much you can do about it.

Neil Robb

18:13 PM, 24th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "19/12/2016 - 16:35":

Hi Terry

Believe it or not Tenants can change locks and not allow you a key. Even if the AST says they can't.
All the tenant has to say is they believed someone came into the house and if you try and force them to give you a key they will more than likely claim harassment.
My thoughts would be contact tenant ask them to confirm they are no longer living there. State until the keys are returned and a surrender notice is done the rent is still due. Be calm and polite as the landlord needs the keys back.

H B

9:57 AM, 26th December 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "terry sullivan" at "19/12/2016 - 16:35":

Being able to have your own home without the thought that a stranger could walk through the door without any notice is a pretty basic right.

I always change locks between tenancies in case previous residents made copies. But it is up to them if they want to change locks again.

I also recycle the mechanism between properties which saves some money.

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