End of Tenancy, Tenant’s Belongings, Tort Law and “Lockdown”?

by Readers Question

11:30 AM, 20th April 2020
About 4 months ago

End of Tenancy, Tenant’s Belongings, Tort Law and “Lockdown”?

Make Text Bigger
End of Tenancy, Tenant’s Belongings, Tort Law and “Lockdown”?

Hi, Here is a dilemma that many of us on Property118 might likely face in the coming weeks of these very challenging times.

The 12 month fixed term tenancy ending this week, current Tenant contacted 6 weeks before tenancy end date he verbally informed agents of the purchase of a new home and won’t be renewing the tenancy. In said conversation asks the agent if any of the likely new Tenants would wish to purchase his furniture. A very unusual request especially given he wouldn’t even reply to agents request to arrange any appointments or allow viewings.

Fast forward to the past 2 weeks, I break with my protocol to contact Tenant directly, he agrees to a viewing and we discuss that I will ask any tenants regards the furniture. The following day the prospective Tenant (1) views property alone, adhering to Government advice and social distancing, agent uses “drop box” for keys. Also purchases some of Tenants furniture. But with no appreciation it later seemed.

I am contacted regularly by the current Tenant, who has now moved to his “new home” to ask about the other items which remain. He already told me he’d advertised them on eBay some 3-4 weeks ago, but had no success. He seems now to believe that I or the new Tenant should buy them all, if not he suggests I must store them for him, in my house, until he can finds a buyer or can dispose of them. He states that all the Refuge Centers are closed.

I tried to explain that neither I nor the tenant require them, also I have asked several friends and family in the area if they would be interested, they’ve circulated this on Facebook. The tenant knows I live overseas so it’s even more difficult for myself, apart from that, it’s not really my responsibility.

In the past 2 days his correspondences have become very abrasive, hateful and threatening. Not that it bothers me…..but frustrates me more so, as I must remain polite and not stoop to his level. He still has keys and access to the property. Last night his messages became very vindictive. In a nutshell, it’s the usual b*ll**x that these jumped up spoilt brats regurgitate – “I ve spoken to my lawyers” and “you shouldn’t be conducting viewings, house moves” etc etc. So I was polite and sent the Government link, I also explained the new Tenant mitigation which would be deemed “essential” and that in the past week the LHA had discussed the very same issues with myself. Also that this is being conducted through an agent.

He was adamant that he will leave the furniture in the garden and on Monday I will be receiving an email from his “Legal team” ha ha.

So here is my interpretation of the situation, the Tenant’s likely tact and my few choices.

Tenant is not telling the truth, he hasn’t bought a new place, most possibly moved in with friends/family or back to ex wife. He is malicious and vindictive and will seek to either scupper the new tenants move, or leave the belongings in the house making excuses that he can’t move them due to the Lockdown.

So my choices are:-

i). At the Check out have the Inventory Clerk itemise those items abandoned, arrange for their removal and storage, get receipt present to Agent and DPS for claim on deposit.
ii). If the move is delayed or cancelled, I shall try claim rent and Council tax as the Tenant hasn’t vacated the property, if he provides a new address I shall find out if he has purchased or paying Council tax at that address.
iii). Arrange for removal and delivery of the items of his to be taken to said address. Keep receipt and present in deposit dispute.
iv). Bite the bullet and buy the rest of his furniture and dump it.

What is the best and most likely path of least difficulty please?

I would, as ever appreciate anyone’s experiences and advice in this matter. Thank you kindly in advance.

BB



Comments

Chris @ Possession Friend

17:02 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 21/04/2020 - 15:53
The answers are in the article you can read as described above , don't have to pay anything !

Gunga Din

17:43 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Indeed. Any expenses you incur can come out of his deposit. Of course he'll probably dispute it but you seem to have good evidence.

Sue Twyford

17:44 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 21/04/2020 - 15:53
Ooooh, I feel very uncomfortable about your comment "waste any funds on Legal Advice"; that could be a false economy. You have indicated in your article that his communication has been "verbal" regarding his fixed tenancy expiry - there's always the possibility he won't actually leave and lull into a periodic tenancy. So what is there in writing with you/the agent that he is definitely leaving, anything in writing about him wanting you to dispose/sell his stuff? Please do talk to someone who understands this whole process - get in touch with "Possession Friend"

Chris @ Possession Friend

18:15 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sue Twyford at 21/04/2020 - 17:44Thank you Sue,
Perhaps BB missed our article last week about our Advice being Free during the Corona period ?
You can't get Professional advice cheaper than FREE - can you ? 😉

Gary Nock

18:40 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

If you have an agent and it's managed they should be dealing with this pile of poo for you.That's what you pay for. And that comes from a Letting Agent. Tenant gives notice. Tenant moves out and hands over keys. Agent does book out inventory and identifies dilapidations including left possessions. Notifies tenant he has 14 days to remove property or it will be removed and cost of same out of his deposit. Agent claims on deposit, sorts dilapidations including removal of previous tenants possessions and gets property ready for re-let. Pretty basic stuff. Or am I missing something?

Rob Crawford

22:36 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 21/04/2020 - 10:39
Actually it's 3 months. I understand that some AST agreements have a clause that states you will dispose of abandoned goods after 14 days. However, I am not sure this has any legal standing. I would ask the NLA how this has been determined.

Chris @ Possession Friend

22:37 PM, 21st April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 21/04/2020 - 22:36
Its ' up to 3 months ' ( for more valuable items ) Its very extensively explained in my article. Stated cases, the works.

BB

2:08 AM, 22nd April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sue Twyford at 21/04/2020 - 17:44
Thank you for having your concerns for me with this situation Sue. Yes it's correct that the tenant only shared his intentions in verbal conversations with the LA. However between ourselves he stated very clearly in 3-4 text messages and emails his intentions to leave, that he had purchased a new place and the price he wanted for the furniture. So too his attempts or (intended ones) at disposing of them regards the Refuge Centre.
Hence my reluctance to spend money on legal advice when I can take my chance with destroying the remaining furniture at a similar cost, that is if he does return the keys and so forth tomorrow at the check out.
If not then it's £700 per month rent he owes me and I have his deposit. Thank you once again.

BB

2:11 AM, 22nd April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 21/04/2020 - 18:40
Yes agree with you there Gary totally. The LA hasn't responded yet to my emails regarding this, nor given me any advice. They have said that he has been notoriously difficult and obstructive from the start. However they have booked in the checkout clerk for Thursday. Guess it's a wait and see thing!

BB

3:32 AM, 22nd April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Possession Friend at 21/04/2020 - 18:15
Yes you're right I did miss this article, sorry. Perhaps you could send me the link please? I ll guess there's a contact for you too, in there.

1 2 3 4

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

How To Re-Purpose Defunct Commercial Buildings

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More