8:08 AM, 15th November 2012, About 10 years ago 17
Alex sent the following email last night outlining a bizarre situation he finds himself in which looks to us like a “landlord setup”.
We have invited some of the most knowledgeable people we know to comment on this thread as the circumstances Alex has described look to us to be potentially fraught with legal problems.
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I would like some advice on a situation I have never faced before.
My tenant was due to pay his rent on the 1st November 2012 and I usually go to the property to collect it, however I got a message from him to say there was a problem with his bank account and could I collect it on the 4th instead, which I agreed to. However on the 4th he requested I meet up with him on the 5th instead.
On the morning of the 5th I had a text message to say he had been attacked outside the property and had been admitted to hospital!! I contacted the police the following day out of concern but had been told they would not give me any information about the situation, and I should speak to the tenant direct, but I told them it was difficult to do this as he was in hospital, to which they advised he had been discharged. When I tried to contact the tenant no one was answering or returning text messages, eventually he contacted me via a text to say he was still in hospital and could not pay the rent,(but he didn’t know the police had already told me he had been discharged), he also said he did not feel happy to go back to the property or continue with the tenancy agreement because whoever assaulted him knows where he lives.
The following day he text to say he has “gone into hiding” as the police have provided somewhere safe for him stay and he would not be able to pay the rent. I tried several times leaving messages asking him to call me so we could sort this out, but he just ignored them all.
That night I had a call at 10pm from a neighbour saying someone was trying to kick the side gate in which is the entrance to the property. We went down to check it and found the key would not fit in the door and the gate was wide open. We secured the gate and had to change the lock because the key would not go in, at the same time I contacted the tenant to inform him of the situation, but only through texting and got no answer from him.
On the 9th I had a text from him saying I had no right changing the locks or bolting the side gate from him and he wanted access to his flat as he had been to the citizens advice bureau informing him of his rights. I phoned him straight away and said I was more than happy for him to have access but asked why he had not returned any of my calls. In the meantime I had contacted the police asking for them to give me more information about the situation because the tenant was claiming he had a broken jaw and fractured ribs and he had gone into hiding, however the police said it sounds as if the tenant was fabricating his story and he has not been put in a “safe house”
As you can imagine there is a picture forming here so I agreed to meet with the tenant at the flat , he collected some stuff and asked I lock up and keep the gate bolted because he did not want his “stuff” pinched. I asked him about the rent owing and he said he would be in contact. Days later I still hadn’t heard anything from him so I contacted his guarantor who was aware of the assault but not the rent left outstanding.
I have had the tenants girlfriends mother on the phone accusing me of being insensitive and uncaring but I explained I have been very patient and still had not received any rent 12 days on and no contact from the tenant! I also explained to her my mortgage still has to be paid regardless, to which she slammed the phone down!
I am now left with a dilema, the tenant claims he cannot go back to the flat and no one knows where he is and he’s still got his stuff left in the flat but also he did not take a key when I met with him asking I keep an eye on the property for him. The guarantor has been informed that we will take action if the tenant does not pay the rent. What action do we take as I presume we have to give him 8 weeks grace to pay it? How can you serve any notices if you do not know where he resides? What happens with his possessions and could he be deliberately waiting for us to evict him so he can get out of his Tenancy Agreement? Finally why did he not take a key which at the time I thought nothing of it but now I’m concerned it will look like we have changed the locks to stop him having access.
I realise this is a long email with lots of detail but would appreciate any advice on moving this forward.