Police have taken the keys off the male tenant

by Readers Question

13:41 PM, 25th January 2021
About a month ago

Police have taken the keys off the male tenant

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Police have taken the keys off the male tenant

We have a couple on a joint tenancy who have now separated and the police have taken the keys off the male tenant and given them to the female tenant.

She has requested he is taken off the joint tenancy agreement which is now periodic, however, he still has his tenancy rights regardless of the police action to confiscate his keys to the house.

So my question is has anyone had this experience and can he be removed from the tenancy without court action, personally I don’t think he can unless he gives up his right to the tenancy and agrees to be removed.

There will be an exclusion order put in place by the court to keep him away from her however this takes time in a pandemic, so the Police are asking us to act.

Our hands are a bit tied though as if we remove him from the tenancy without his permission that’s an illegal eviction.

Any experienced advice welcome

Thanks

Gary

Comments

Gary Nock

14:45 PM, 25th January 2021
About a month ago

Oooh err....as an ex old bill this is fraught with danger. They are interfering in tenancy matters they do not understand. As you state tenant still has rights and by depriving him of the keys the police have put you in a bit of a position. (Protection From Eviction Act 1977) What they should have done is put him under bail conditions NOT to go to the house. Either police or court bail conditions.

If you have landlord insurance with legal advice thrown in then ring it. If not you may need it anyway.

The incumbent tenant cannot ask for him to be taken off. She can however give notice to end the tenancy, which gives notice for both. She can then have a new tenancy in her name. Hey presto- a new legal tenancy. Even says so on the Shelter website. ( I hate Shelter with a passion but the legal pages are quite good)

https://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/security_of_tenure/notices_to_quit_tenants#3

Thats if she can pass referencing and afford it etc.

Henderson Acquisitions

15:03 PM, 25th January 2021
About a month ago

Thanks Gary, Yes they clearly don't know tenancy rules and whilst the exclusion order is legal they should not have taken his keys and handed them to his partner.

We do have legal insurance so will contact them before visiting the tenant.

Cheers

Gary

LordOf TheManor

17:26 PM, 25th January 2021
About a month ago

Well..... I think what I'd do is contact the housing department at the local council and let them know what the situation is. Potentially, the female in the house might have a housing benefit claim as it is likely that the ousted-out male (whatever the circumstances) will not contribute or pay the rent if he's not living there. She's also on her own with the utility bills as well as everything else going on, isn't she? She could quickly slip into debt and life's downward spiral.

The male might also need housing help.... so where is he if he's not in your rental? Not that you need to know, but to be able to contact him with information you acquire from the local council would be a good step forward. They're both your tenants, after all.

All you need from the council is their emergency contact information and ideally a named contact that you can give to your tenants. You then contact your tenants and tell them that the onus is on each of them to let the council assist them at the earliest opportunity.

IMPORTANT POINT: after your call to the council, no matter what detail you give them, the council will NOT contact your tenants. It is for YOUR TENANTS to contact them in their own right, not the other way round.

Stay impartial and keep a record of your putting both tenants in touch with the housing department. Invite the tenants to stay in touch with you on how things go and let them know you'll work with the council by providing the tenancy administrative details, the rent history etc. to make things work as well as they can from here. (The aim is to foresee an administrative mess that will mean you'll be a landlord out of pocket for a longer time if you don't act now).

Park the tenancy issues - the whole situation is too volatile to say what the best end game is yet. By the time you get something sorted they could be back together again!!

However, as there is now a government entity involved (the Police), there is reason to stick with the government entities, hence the advice to get hitched up to the local government housing department. Let them sort it out.... i.e. if the cops say the male can't live at the house, let the council be the sorter of his housing issues, not you the landlord.

From a landlord's point of view, if the female stays in the house on her own, that's fine as long as her rent is paid. The reason for you as landlord to get involved is because your rent revenue is at risk. Don't leave this situation to fester or it will take even longer and more complicated to resolve.

If the female cannot afford the full rent on her own, she needs to apply for housing benefit or if already on it or on top up, she needs to inform the council of her change of circumstances as of now. The sooner, the better.

That way, she'll have the means to pay the rent to stay at your property. That is what the council will want as their end game - to keep one less homeless person/family from ending up on their books and in a hostel while they wait to be re-housed at some indefinite time in the future.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Lord

Jessie Jones

21:35 PM, 3rd February 2021
About a month ago

I would echo Gary's comments. Just because the couple have separated doesn't mean that they won't reconcile later. And even if there is Police / Court involvement at the moment, this could all cease, including if the female tenant withdraws her support of any prosecution. Bail conditions do not end a tenancy, and they can be withdrawn at the drop of a pin. A sneaky defendant could plead guilty at a first hearing, receive a community order and then seek his tenancy back. Even if a tenant gets sent to prison, it does not automatically bring his tenancy to an end.
Gary's suggestion of the female seeking an end to a joint tenancy and then starting a new one afresh does appeal. Just be mindful about how you handle the deposit as this will need to be returned and then taken back.


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