Rent-owing tenant did a runner – How soon can I access?

by Readers Question

12:11 PM, 24th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Rent-owing tenant did a runner – How soon can I access?

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Rent-owing tenant did a runner – How soon can I access?

He owed three months (£1000+), I served a section 21, and a couple of weeks after that neighbours tell me they saw him moving furniture out. Shopkeeper below no longer hears footsteps above. Tenant won’t answer phone or email.runner

On advice of letting agent (tenant find service only), put a 14 day Notice of Abandonment on the door.

So as to act within the rules, what other precautions should I take before entering?

I have a contact address, which I think is his brother’s, and know where he works. Even if there were some cost to me, the vengeful side of me would like to pursue him. Any advice appreciated.

Regards

Gunga



Comments

Gary Dully

5:41 AM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hello Gunga,

Issue a section 8 notice on the grounds of 8,10,11 and I think it's 12 for breach of tenancy terms and get it served properly by hand delivery with an independent witness.
(Remember the rules have changed again and you will need an up to date section 8 notice.)

Change your letting agent, who ought to know better, who won't pay the fine and compensation your tenant will get if you don't follow the rules and they go to a no win no fee solicitor.

Obtain a court order after the section 8 notice has expired asking for a money order for the amount owing.

Anything else is unlawful eviction.

It's an abysmal system isn't it?

Try it with someone found guilty of attempted murder, are in prison awaiting sentencing and see just how bad it can get. (see previous posts I have made).

Dr Rosalind Beck

9:46 AM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

I disagree with Gary (sorry Gary). I would go in after the 14 days, change the locks and re-market it. The notice of abandonment will tell the ex-tenant who to ring to get any other belongings left etc. And you could get the neighbours to sign to say they saw him moving out and haven't seen him since.
Then, depending on how much money he earns and if it is above board and not some cash-in-hand job, I would then put in a claim for the money owed (I'm not sure what date I would use as the end date).
After I got a judgement for the money owed, I would then start an attachment of earnings procedure. This will take quite a few months and you usually have to push the court on it. But as long as he is earning enough (what counts as 'enough' could be £1,000 or £1,500 per month - I think it's discretionary). We have had great success with attachments. You might get awarded £50 a month (it can take up to a year for the first payment to come through), but in a couple of years the debt is then repaid.
I must warn you though that this is, as Gary says, probably not following the letter of the law - and it is my business partner who does all the court stuff, so I don't know the names of the notices etc. Personally, I wouldn't leave the house for another couple of months, losing all that rent money when I have good evidence of abandonment. Anyway, that's my controversial advice. Let's see what others say about it! It might start a debate which could be useful.

Joe Bloggs

10:21 AM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

i know nothing about such matters thankfully but presumably if the tenant sues for illegal entry/ eviction you can counterclaim for the rent owed.

also if you have keys give 24 hours notice and do a periodic inspection. you are entitled.

Sharon Betton

14:09 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Sorry Joe Bloggs, but don't think that the tenants claim for illegal eviction is compensated by a counterclaim for the rent owed. The penalties for illegal eviction are far heavier than the amount he owes. Plus - the landlord's reputation is then blown.
Also, not entirely sure that 24 hours notice of a periodic inspection protects the landlord - he still should not enter without the permission of the tenant. Could be covered by wording "it is my intention to conduct a periodic inspection on..... I am happy to re-arrange this if this is not convenient. Should I not hear from you, I will assume that this means you are happy for me to enter the property to undertake the inspection".

Joe Bloggs

14:53 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sharon Betton" at "25/09/2015 - 14:09":

hi sharon

a tenant wont sue if there is a counterclaim so no risk of reputational damage.

sorry but no need to get tenants permission. this has been discussed at length previously on this site. right is enshrined in L and T act 1985. only requirement is to give 24 hours notice. of course its polite to try and agree a mutually convenient time but not a legal requirement.

Romain Garcin

15:39 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Landlord have a right of access upon 24 hour notice for the purpose of inspecting the condition of the property.
As such there is no need to seek explicit permission again.

I would certainly start by inspecting, as Joe suggests, and documenting the condition of the property and whether the tenant has removed all his belongings and furniture.

If he did, he would not go far with claiming illegal eviction (as a criminal offence)

Joe Bloggs

16:33 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

hi romain,

thanks.

as a matter of interest do you think a landlord could break-in i.e. with a locksmith if eg the tenant has changed the locks in order to carry out an inspection of the condition (upon giving 24 hours notice)?

obviously the place would need to be left secure and the tenant given new key (if the tenant is still in residence).

wanda wang

20:23 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Why did you say it can take up a year for the first payment to come through?
Just to update my attachment earning order. Because I read on the internet the expert said, people outraged by judge make a small of amount of instalment. That is why I went down to the county court bailiff and High court bailiff, waste of time and money came to nothing. The last straw I applied attachment earning order, fist my application was dismissed, I put objection in and went to the court for hearing, I was hoping to get £20 or £30.00 a month, however, surprised me the judge ordered them to pay £150.00 a month. In the actual hearing, the court didn’t ask for prove of income and expendure, just based on the figures they quoted and he made the order.

Dr Rosalind Beck

21:00 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "wanda wang" at "25/09/2015 - 20:23":

Hi Wanda. A year may be an exaggeration but I said it to prepare Gunga - as it can take easily 8 months or so because the organisation that sorts out the attachments is so slow and there are all kinds of in-built delays - like the tenant has 28 days to answer a letter, they don't and then it takes weeks for you to find out and then maybe another 28 days for the employer to answer and so on. If you know about these delays beforehand you don't get so angry when you actually experience them.

wanda wang

21:52 PM, 25th September 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ros ." at "25/09/2015 - 21:00":

I started application end of June, so it is already 3 month now, do you have any idea what will be happening after attachment earning order? Can debtor appeal the court order again? How long it take Centralised Attachment of Earning to action the court order? what is your experience? How can you chase up the Centralised attachment of earnings payment centre?
Thanks
wanda

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