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”?

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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

8:27 AM, 22nd April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 22/04/2020 - 03:32
Sorry BB, I can't post links to the specific article as that contravenes this sites House Rules.
This site were happy for me to publish the address for Free Advice, as it was a service for members without commercial profit ( I.e Free )
But the address for Free Advice, that was published here last week, is YourCase@PossessionFriend.uk
Subject line, - your name and - Advice

Jan Martin

11:26 AM, 24th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 21/04/2020 - 22:36
Well I do hope that RLA contracts have some legal standing as I have been using them for years. They use the 14day period on their contracts. Obviously you let the tenant know this and give them a chance to collect which they usually wont because its rubbish anyway or they would of taken it .
I also rent out in Wales too and Rent Smart Wales use the 14day period. You then bill them if you need to pay for any removals .
Years ago it was 6months I remember well .
But always get inventory done on all items cause they may well decide at a later date that they left behind some very valuable items

Chris @ Possession Friend

11:54 AM, 24th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jan Martin at 24/04/2020 - 11:26Its not straight-forward unfortunately Jan, ( I do explain in great detail in my article )
Basically, it involves reasonableness, and the value of the items. In some cases you could be expected to attempt to sell them - see my full article, - taking bits out of it doesn't help the full context. Just relying on a contract clause, ALONE, I'm afraid, isn't good enough to protect you in a worse-case scenario, Civil claim.

david porter

7:20 AM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Russell Thomas at 21/04/2020 - 12:21
If the ast is in full force and effect send a copy of this to the local council. They will be after her for council tax.
If a tenant abandons furniture in the garden it will be of little value after a shower of rain. Simply dispose of it. The former tenant will not engage lawyers at 200 per hour to chase this issue,

Freda Blogs

8:54 AM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by BB at 22/04/2020 - 02:11How did it go at Checkout? Has your difficult tenant departed?

If so, get the locks changed fast so he can’t come back again to ‘claim’ his stuff!

Freda Blogs

9:05 AM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Russell Thomas at 21/04/2020 - 12:21
Difficult to say for sure without seeing the terms if the break clause, but I would say that if all her belongings and furniture are still at the property, the general presumption is that she is still in possession - from both a tenancy and Council Tax perspective - so still liable for both. As a solicitor she would know this and looks to be trying it on.

She can’t have it both ways and use lockdown as an excuse for not being at the property and then not removing her goods.

Danny 10

9:09 AM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by david porter at 25/04/2020 - 07:20
Thanks Freda and David for your thoughts and advice.
Sorry BB isn't able to respond, but yes the tenant left, and alls his threats were as empty as the property he vacated. It was indeed once again just all wind and bluster.

Chris @ Possession Friend

9:14 AM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by david porter at 25/04/2020 - 07:20
Yes David, IF indoor furniture abandoned , Outside, take photo's.
Unfortunately, its not just [ paid ] lawyers that will help Tenants, - Shelter, Citizens Advice, Local walk-in Law centers, Generation R. Crisis, tenant support groups - e,g Acorn, Local Authorities. No-win, No-fee solicitors ... and the list goes on.

Jan Martin

12:28 PM, 25th April 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Possession Friend at 24/04/2020 - 11:54
Well I have been renting out my portfolio for 20 years now .
Wales have produced leaflets for tenants which tells them 14days too . Tenants are contacted and they know the score . I have never been left with anything of value .Bags of old clothes ,kids broken toys ,broken furniture etc etc .
I have also claimed monies from Mydeposits with no problems
I let my properties with proper contracts and excellent inventories .I am on call to my tenants 24/7
I have a clerk that carries out leaving inventories therefore all is recorded.My tenants are all well looked after which is how it should be . Years ago RLA insisted on 6 months but I see that has now changed. So yes I do rely on my contracts and it works for me .

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