Repossession Order and what to do with tenant belongings?

Repossession Order and what to do with tenant belongings?

13:40 PM, 18th July 2016, About 5 years ago 18

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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

by Anthony Endsor

18:37 PM, 19th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Franklin" at "19/07/2016 - 16:25":

You better tell my agent that then because that's exactly what happened in a case of mine a few weeks ago. I can't see how you can allow a tenant rights in this case when the court has already granted possession. Because of the abandonment order placed on my property, the court granted me possession forthwith. Strangely, the tenant hasn't been back since to pay the £4k rent he owes. The insurance company are furious 🙂

by Man on Stilts

23:21 PM, 19th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Update - after repeated phone calls, texts and emails sent to the tenant this morning advising him of the fact he had to vacate today (as per possession notice), he failed to completely respond. When visiting the property, It became abundantly clear he has not been living at the property for quite some time. We know this because there is rotten food in the fridge and freezer; there is no credit on either gas and electric meters, and many of his belongings remain in exactly the same position as the pictures we took of them back in May 2016. He has been there to remove some of his items though, although many of his belongings are still there.

He is due me thousands in rent; thousands in refurb costs, and thousands more in legal and management costs.

Any more thoughts from anyone on whether to change the locks now and let him make contact with me, should he wish to pick up his belongings before I bin them, or leave the current lock in situ; apply for a warrant, then once that date arrives change the locks and bin his belongings?

by Lyndon Whitehouse

7:20 AM, 20th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Re Anthony's comments - what act and section are you referring to? I can't find any legislation re abandoning property. I've been looking for 14 years.
Paul is right, it's about balancing the risk. Given these circumstances it's unlikely any action will be commenced by the a scent tenant, who is either giving another landlord headache or in jail.
If he did pursue you, it is likely that a court would take a very lenient view on this case.
Me - sometimes you have to do what is morally right. Locks changed, everything skipped property re let move on!
Tip - these problems all begin with the vetting process of the potential tenant. Do it in their current home!!

by Paul Franklin

9:27 AM, 20th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Man on Stilts" at "19/07/2016 - 23:21":

Agree with Lyndon's comments. I think most people would take that point of view.

Anthony - now you are saying you obtained a possession order, that is different to what you said earlier? The only way to obtain such an order would have been to firstly serve a Section 21 or Section 8 notice. But even a possession order doesn't end the tenancy - it says so in Section 5 Housing Act 1988 - the order must be 'executed', by court appointed bailiffs.

There has been no such thing as an 'abandonment notice' until very recently - the Housing and Planning Act 2016 s.57 - but I don't think that's even in force yet and the procedure requires more than one notice to be served and lots of pre-conditions to be met.

by Colin McNulty

8:24 AM, 24th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Man on Stilts - be aware of the risks if you don't follow the proper legal eviction procedure. IANAL however I believe a tenancy only ends in one of two ways:

1) The tenant surrenders his tenancy. Ideally you want proof which includes the keys being handed back and a signed surrender declaration.

2) Court appointed bailiffs enforce a possession order.

Practically, as many agents do, you could post an "abandonment notice", and change locks etc, but you take a commercial decision and accept the risk, as others have mentioned.

I would say the biggest risk here is as has happened to me a couple of times: your tenant might be in jail. That would explain his absence and his lack of communication.

There is a gov't "Find a Prisoner" process as documented here: https://www.gov.uk/find-prisoner but in my experience, it takes the government longer to find their prisoner and tell me where they were, than it takes for their sentence to expire!

by Man on Stilts

11:29 AM, 25th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Colin,
Thanks for your response.
I know my tenant visited the property two weeks ago - I have proof. I also know he has not been living there though. I have emailed, text him and phoned him so many times now, as well as sent letters to him and pinned letters to the property door - he just does not reply to me. His phone rings everytime but eventually goes through to voicemail.
I know he is in Court on 29th July 2016 on criminal damages charges (to my property). I am hoping he receives a jail term. What happens if he does receive a jail term (for however long); do I still require bailiffs to attend in order to gain re-possession?

by Lyndon Whitehouse

12:01 PM, 25th July 2016, About 5 years ago

I've been here previously. Attend court and attempt to have a friendly chat with his solicitor (probably duty solicitor). Take a pre typed letter from him surrendering all claims to the tenancy and any property therin. You'll probably find most solicitors will be sympathetic, discuss it with him and if he signs it - sorted. If he doesn't either take a risk and deal with it as you see fit or instruct bailiffs and wait. That's the correct legal method.
Abandonment notices are a myth and if he's been there two weeks ago it weakens your case that he has surrendered possession.
I've been to prison with a tenants solicitor once and got a letter signed. That was quicker than waiting for bayliffs.
Good luck

by Colin McNulty

14:07 PM, 25th July 2016, About 5 years ago

Yes you require bailiffs to enforce a possession notice, unless you get him to sign a tenancy surrender declaration. His going to prison doesn't change any of that.

I know it can stick in the throat a bit, but it's even worth offering cash to get them to sign the tenancy surrender. I'm evicting 2 tenants at the moment and have offered them £500 toward their removal costs, if they're gone by the time the s21 notice expires (and hand the keys back, sign a surrender declaration, and leave the place in reasonable nick). One's gone, one's not yet.

It's marginally cheaper than going to court, but definitely less hassle to pay them to leave.

Understandably in your case you'll have a strong emotional reaction against paying money to your tenant, but if it solves the problem and gets possession of your property back 4-6 weeks earlier, it may be worth it. Try to remember that this is just business, it's not personal.


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