Implied surrender and changing the locks

Implied surrender and changing the locks

18:59 PM, 6th April 2013, About 11 years ago 15

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Implied surrender and changing the locksIs this a case of implied surrender and is it safe for me to go and change the locks, asks Landlord Karen Southworth.

“My tenant gave notice on the 6th march by text message.

The AST was due to run out on the 9th April and I also had issued a Section 21 notice for the 9th April.

My tenants last rent was due on the 20th March which she did not pay.

I arranged to meet the tenant at the property on the 5th to sign it off.

On inspection there was extensive damage to a kitchen worktop and also the sofa and bed frame were dumped in the yard. I pointed these things out to her and asked if she would rectify them herself or prefer me to do them and levy charges from her deposit, bearing in mind that the unpaid rent was already coming out of her deposit.

She has refused either option stating that she will contact a solicitor and refused to give me the keys back.

The property is empty and she has not lived there for at least two weeks as she sent me a text saying she had moved out.

Can I now go in and change the locks ?

Is this a case of implied surrender ?

Your comments will be very much appreciated.


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Industry Observer

11:00 AM, 10th April 2013, About 11 years ago


NEVER put a notice visible from outside on a property unless you want to invite at best scams using the property for deliveries, or at worst squatters. If a tenant finds locks changed they are bound to contact LL or agent.

Mark - you are of course quite right. It is also why Landlords and agwents get sued for unlawful eviction

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:02 AM, 10th April 2013, About 11 years ago

@Industry Observer, like I said, it's a commercial decision 😉

Industry Observer

11:17 AM, 10th April 2013, About 11 years ago

Unlawful exclusion even with a Court Order but not enforced by the bailiff (which is the only way to ever be 100% rock solid safe from any claim) is always a matter of risk assessment.

The simple bottom line is ANY exclusin without a Court Order leave a Landlord (or agent) open to a claim for breach of Quiet Enjoyment by the tenant. The Court frowns on such cases and deals with them very harshly where the LL or agent has been precipitate in their actions.

If all possible evidence has been gathered, time has been taken, every effort made to contact the 'ex' tenant (like using the post contact address on the PI form and/or NoK on an application for referencing) then the Court will mitigate any damages awarded to the tenant.

But you are almost always looking at an award against you to some degree unless you can buy the tenant off and avoid Court. The biggest argument as stated is ex tenants are unlikely to go to Court because of costs unless they find a no win no fee lawyer.

If they do then you are in trouble as those are normally only taken on where the lawyer is as sure of victory as they ever can be - as in TDP offence cases, for example.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

11:43 AM, 10th April 2013, About 11 years ago

@Industry Observer - I can't dispute anything you and/or Mary have advised IF, Karen wants to be 100% certain of being in the right. However, she may well incur substantial extra costs, both in terms of court fees and lost rent which may well not be recoverable. Therefore, I stand by my initial post in terms of what I would actually do in practice, assuming of course that we have been given the full story. That's just me though.

Indy Tihar

14:19 PM, 10th April 2013, About 11 years ago

I too had a tenant who left prior to agreed date, house was left in a bad way, tenant informed me via text she had gone and that she had left the keys on kitchen worktop, i went immediately and took photos of whole house, i then made notes of damage caused, i informed her via email what she had done and that she was in Breach of contract, she replied trying to counter what i put to her, I then sent her photos of house as she left it and asked her to check photo Inventory made at start of Tenancy and sent her an email of damming evidence i had on her aswell as what i was withholding against her- this scared the s**t out of her and she acknowledged everything and paid up all that was owed, I take my responsibility as a Landlord seriously and any contact i have with all my Tenants now i log for my records, I have done this from day 1 and i can say it can be slightly time consuming but worth it if you have to go to court and tenant has made up a pack of lies and you pull out evidence in your favour which shows dates and times of Landlord being responsible. That particular tenant for the record has 4 kids by 4 different men now and has moved from house to house and will continue to do so, She will be a burden on the state and worse thing is the Councils look out for these so called ppl.
Animals wouldnt behave half as bad as these rotten tenants but hey we live and learn, Brilliant forum for discussions reg Landlords and Tenants

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