Terrible time with council tenant and shock at how law treats landlords15:32 PM, 9th January 2019
About 2 weeks ago 40
I occasionally work in conjunction with a Homeless agency and provide accommodation to people from that source, sometimes things do go awry with tenants and one has to accept that possibility, (whether it be ex drug users returning to their habit or whatever), however I have a scenario at present that is a new one for me and wonder if any contributor/s to Property 118 might be able to clarify some aspects of the legalities associated with Implied Surrender notices for me.
I have a tenant – an ex heroin addict who was originally on Methadone but is believed to have drifted to also using cannabis and maybe other drugs – who has been in a property for over 2 years. Unfortunately the tenant has, in recent times, taken to hoarding rubbish – that many of us would put out for the bin men – inside the property. It is strewn all over the floors etc of the property and has undoubted environmental health concerns.
This present scenario only came to light following a small fire outside the rear door to the property to which both the fire and police were in attendance – their being alerted by a neighbour. I spoke with one Police officer who attended the fire and it was he who alerted me to the current state of the property.
It has to be said that this particular Tenant had never been the most communicative of people but did usually respond to texts, however with concerns about the fire and input from the police in mind, I – along with the manager of the homeless agency – saw the tenant, who “played dumb” with regard to who possibly started the fire however with regard to the rubbish etc it was agreed that he would clear this and I gave him 1 week to remove the mess – the tenant agreed that the rubbish would be cleared within that timescale. Black bags were provided and also, arrangements were put in place for subsequent removal of the rubbish bags once they had been filled and placed in the garden area.
Unfortunately nothing happened and, my attempts to contact him following that were unsuccessful – as a precautionary measure – I issued a Section 21 notice (delivery witnessed by “others”).
Subsequently, despite my attempts – and attempts by the homeless agency – to make contact with the tenant, by text, letters and personally (texts and letters stating that he needed to contact myself or the homeless agency or discuss further with the CAB if he wished to discuss his tenancy and the possibility of his retaining same) were equally fruitless.
The 2 month notice period associated with the Section 21 notice has now expired and, because of
1. His failure to respond to either myself or “others” if he wished to discuss and possibly save his tenancy, or
2. The input I have had from neighbours that they have not seen him for a little while,
I decided to deliver an “Implied Surrender notice” to the property which includes the following statement;
“Your conduct is inconsistent with an intention to continue with the tenancy and further leads one to accept that there is an implied surrender of your tenancy. Should this not be the case, I suggest that you ensure that I am made aware of that fact”. I also restated the various contact options as well as providing a deadline date for any response.
My query is, given that I believe that I have clearly demonstrated that I have made every possible effort to try to discuss and resolve the situation with the tenant, all to no avail, will I be within my rights – and within the law – if I act on the “implied surrender notice” effectively negating the need to take eviction action via the County Court which is now quite an expensive process.
Note; The tenant is on housing benefit which is being paid at the present time.
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