Repossession Order and what to do with tenant belongings?

by Readers Question

13:40 PM, 18th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Repossession Order and what to do with tenant belongings?

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Repossession Order and what to do with tenant belongings?

Following the serving of a Section 21 Notice on a tenant of mine and subsequent application to the Court for a possession order, it was successfully granted. My tenant is due to give up the property in 2 days time.personal belongings

My tenant has not been living at the property for quite a while (I know this as I have been notified of this by neighbours and by the fact that he has failed to top up his electric and gas meters – they are down to zero credit). He fails to respond to any form of communication (phone calls, sent letters, emails and text messages). A lot of his belongings remain at the property.

Come Tuesday, when we go round to the property to take back possession, am I able to change the locks and start putting the property back into a lettable condition even though his belongings remain there? (the tenant has smashed it up and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage. Hence the serving of Notice to Quit and criminal action being taken against him).

If so, what do I do with his belongings, am I able to remove them from the property and dispose of them?

Many thanks

Marinus



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:49 PM, 18th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Marinus,

Tessa Shepperson's article "I think my tenant has left, can I change the locks?" >> https://www.property118.com/i-think-my-tenant-has-left-can-i-change-the-locks/5736/

Please also see the article from The Sheriffs Office "Disposing of goods left in properties after eviction" >> https://www.property118.com/disposing-of-goods-left-in-properties-after-eviction/83626/

Paul Franklin

9:29 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

These situations are all about covering yourself and weighing up risk. You can dispose of them but you risk being sued. However you may have legitimate counter claims for example. You may want to write a few letters/emails/texts and record all attempts to contact the tenant giving ample time for the goods to be collected before disposing of them. That's not to say you've got to keep everything in the house though. They can be stored anywhere as long as you don't damage them etc and the tenant can be charged for reasonably incurred costs such as removal and storage costs.

Mark Lynham

9:38 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

also, my understanding is that you dont have possession until you have the keys or an eviction notice.... Tessas article is very good....
maybe do a search on facebook and see if you can find them... its helped me a few times..

Man on Stilts

10:56 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Thanks for your comments.

I have a Possession Order which grants me possession of the property today. Should the tenants belongings remain in the property, and although there is truly no sign of him having lived there for quite some time, do I now require a warrant i.e. bailiffs, before I can change the locks and take possession?

I have attempted to make numerous repeated forms of contact with the tenant, yet to no avail. What do I do?

Paul Franklin

11:14 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Man on Stilts" at "19/07/2016 - 10:56":

Technically yes Man on Stilts you do. If the tenant hasn't returned keys and belongings are still in there with no contact from him. Is the rent still being paid?

Man on Stilts

11:22 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Paul,
No rent is being paid, and hasn't been for months now. I contacted council to have payments made to me directly but only received one payment before I was informed that no further payments would be made to me. This was because council required more/new information from the tenant. I don't believe that information was forthcoming.

So far I am out of pocket by 3 months rent, over ten thousand pounds worth of damage to my property (caused by tenant), legal fees, management fees etc. Now it looks like I will have to wait a further 4-6 weeks for bailiffs to arrive, and possibly a further two months before it will be let again.
Don't you just love this letting game!

Paul Franklin

11:38 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Man on Stilts" at "19/07/2016 - 11:22":

It's again all about weighing up risk. The (slim) risk is that tenant returns and says 'ah ha, got you!', now I'm going to sue you for unlawful eviction. He then somehow gets some form of legal aid to do that (because he's on benefits as you have said) and you have to pay him compensation. This would surely be reduced because you a) already have a possession order b) have tried numerous times to get hold of him c) have multiple counter claims for all that money he owes you. In reality I can't see a solicitor taking this on in the first place. This senario is why there will now be a change in the law bringing in a formal procedure for abandonment - hopefully soon in the future landlords will not need a court order in these cases (Housing and Planning Act 2016). You know your tenant more than we do - what's the likelihood of him doing taking you to court? Will a Council take on this guys case in terms of a prosecution for unlawful eviction - is it in the public interest? They can't even get hold of him. No, they probably wouldn't. Extremely unlikely. But technically, yes, a tenancy only ends when tenant gives back keys (surrender), issues you with a NTQ, or you execute a possession order (baliiffs).

Man on Stilts

11:54 AM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Again, thank you Paul.

The tenant was contacted, again, this morning explaining he has to come and meet my property manager at the property to remove his belongings and surrender keys. He was emailed the same message and also a copy of the possession order. I believe he has absconded and has no further interest in his belongings. He is facing criminal charges with possible jail time, and threatened to seriously harm himself a couple of times. I'm thinking he may want a clean fresh start.

i'll let you know how I get on today by re-posting.

Regards

Anthony Endsor

16:12 PM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

If you believe the tenant has left the property and won't return, you need to put an abandonment notice on the property.
This requires the tenant to contact you within 14 days, failing which you then have the legal right to assume surrender of tenancy, and therefore enter the property, dispose of belongings, change locks and return the property to order for the next tenant.

Paul Franklin

16:25 PM, 19th July 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anthony Endsor" at "19/07/2016 - 16:12":

Sorry Anthony but that is pure fiction.

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