Deed of Surrender – Landlord and Tenant Q&A

by Readers Question

13:41 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Deed of Surrender – Landlord and Tenant Q&A

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Deed of Surrender – Landlord and Tenant Q&A

Dear Readers,

If a tenant signs a tenancy surrender form (Deed of Surrender), but subsequently changes their mind and refuses to move out or return the keys, is the landlord legally allowed to change the locks and deny the tenant access? Would this then be in breach of the Protection from Eviction Act?

Putting it slightly differently:
If the tenant has surrendered the tenancy, by signing a tenancy surrender form, but remains in occupation, are they then an illegal squatter?

Does a landlord need a court order to evict them, or is there a different lawful way of getting them out?

Many Thanks

RobertGood Question



Comments

Mark Alexander

13:48 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Brilliant question, I've never even considered this scenario before so this thread is going to be an education for me.

Logic would suggest to me that notice would not be required but that an eviction order would, unless the tenant could argue they signed the surrender under duress of course. That said, I really don't have the slightest idea so I'm looking forward to reading the answer.


.

13:57 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Good question! I don't know the answer but interested to learn it.

One way to avoid all the nastiness is to "incentivise" them to leave.

It can stick in the craw to do this, but it might end up being a lot less expensive in the long run and also minimise the stress of enduring this situation.

Sometimes, you just have to take a view ....

Steve Masters

13:58 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Interesting question Robert.

I don't know the answer but I will watch this thread with interest as I have a tenant moving out in unusual circumstances and I will be getting them to sign a Surrender Form as they leave.

If the answer to Roberts question is No, what would be the difference between that and a tenant returning to the property with a spare key and letting them selves back in again after they had supposedly left?

Yvette Newbury

14:05 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

No, I don't believe a tenant could ever become an illegal squatter because their continued stay in your property is the continuation of a legal right of entry to the property - just because they have overstayed does not make them a squatter as they were originally given the keys and have not left..

The usual landlord/tenant eviction process would need to apply in this case and the landlord would not have the right to gain entry until the court authorised him to do so, or the tenant had left and returned the keys and removed their possessions.

Romain Garcin

14:06 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

No he cannot change the locks.

It's the same as if tenant remains agter expiry of notice to quit: there is no tenancy but occupier is still protected by the Protection from Eviction Act, and the landlord must get a court order.

Ex-tenant would be a tresspasser but not a squatter.

Ian Ringrose

14:16 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

"double rent" comes to mind, like when a tenent does not leave after giving notice. Hopefuly someone that knows the law of this willl leave a detailed comment.

Mark Alexander

14:22 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "20/02/2014 - 14:06":

In your opinion Romain, would notice need to be served or would the Deed of Surrender be deemed equivalent to a notice served and expired?

Mark Alexander

14:27 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "20/02/2014 - 14:22":

Further thought .... would it be incumbent upon the landlord to prove that a tenant moved out as per the Deed of Surrender and then regained illegal entry the day later or would it be incumbent on a tenant to prove that he didn't?

Fascinating this, I just hope I never have to deal with the scenario!
.

Romain Garcin

14:27 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

My understanding is: The Deed of Surrender ends the tenancy, so thereafter the ex-tenant becomes a trespasser and the landlord can immediately seek a court order on that basis.
The landlord must make sure not to accept rent, etc.

Mark Alexander

14:44 PM, 20th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "20/02/2014 - 14:27":

Same as my thoughts then, I prefer your words to mine though 🙂
.

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