9:14 AM, 1st June 2022, About 3 months ago 11
I have a long term tenant who’s been renting from me for donkey’s years. Rent paid on time without fail. He pays weekly as suits him best. He lives alone, and keeps himself to himself. Mid 50’s.
He stopped paying in April. Very strange. I call him, then email no response. I eventually get him on the phone. He’s been unwell and in and out of the hospital. Due out shortly. Confirms he can pay over the phone the arrears via the banking app. Nothing materialises. Try calling again and emailing (I live hours away so can’t just drop by) no response.
Then his mate calls me (he occasionally stops with him and the tenant asked me a while ago if a mate can stay on occasion – no problem I said though never met him in person). Mate says he’s is back in the hospital and has no idea when he’s coming out. I find out the tenant’s mother’s number and give her a call just to see if she knows anything else. She says he’s having tests for possible cancer but he hasn’t told her much as not to worry her. I ask her about his mate. Apparently, the tenant has known him for a few years and she has met him herself once. Seems a nice guy.
Question – I still can’t get hold of the tenant myself. I have no idea where he actually is or when he is due out of the hospital. His mate by all accounts is staying in the flat. Rent arrears are mounting. I would consider a payment of the rent from the mate on the tenant’s behalf while he is incapacitated, but he would have to sign and confirm in writing this is the case and that there is no contract made with him of any sort as a result)
But….Should I explain to the mate that in the absence of the tenant, and that I have no obligation to him, he needs to leave the flat until the tenant actually returns? I feel I owe a duty of care to protect the tenant’s home and possessions – I have no idea who this mate is in reality.
I am considering going down to the property, then when I am there asking the mate to leave and changing the locks. Worried if I tell him too far in advance worse case he could change the locks on me (?). I have a lockbox literally 2 flats away so I can store the new key here so the tenant can access it when he gets home, so I am not denying entry whatsoever to him – just looking after his best interests actually and securing the property.
I could get the mum to sign something if I explain this to her if necessary I expect but don’t really want to drag her into this as she is 80 odd years old.
Any other ideas?