Tenant not handing back keys in HMO?

by Readers Question

11:26 AM, 2nd February 2017
About 2 years ago

Tenant not handing back keys in HMO?

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Tenant not handing back keys in HMO?

I have recently taken a tenant to court 26 Jan 2016, for non payment of rent, and we won, and he has 14 days to move out. He texted me on Fri 27 Jan, to say he had moved out that day and just left some bedding and food that he would collect the following day and he would leave the keys.keys

He has not done either. I have sent him a nice reminder, but got no response.

This is a room in a house i.e. an HMO,with 2 other tenants.

Can I give him 7 days notice to collect belongings and then change main door lock. I am happy to bag his bedding and keep it for him..

There is no deposit as we fell foul of the prescribed information, so he has had that back before we took him to court.

I know this is a bit of a grey area, But we have already spent a lot to get him out and can’t really afford to throw more good money after bad!

Is there a period of time that lapses that after the locks have been changed and no access from him it would automatically be surrendered.

Please advise
Thank you

Felix



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:40 AM, 2nd February 2017
About 2 years ago

I am not 100% convinced it is clear here that the tenant has surrendered possession.

Man on Stilts

11:27 AM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

It sounds like your (ex)tenant is playing games and not likely to return. 9 times out of 10, these people like the last word by leaving you hanging on - it makes them feel good.

Your next course of action is down to you, how you feel. You can either keep chasing him for the key whilst in the meantime go down the bailiff route and wait a further considerable amount of time; spend a further considerable amount of money, and lose more of both. Or you could give him the 7 day notice, gather his belongings and change the locks. Then simply notify him that you have his bedding and food. I doubt he'll return to pick up his last few belongings. He, more than likely, won't want to face you again.

I have gone down both routes in the past, know which methods usually work based on the current circumstances, and know which methods i would employ again should i have to. Remembering, we are not in this profession to be messed around by game-players and idiots for our valuable time and hard-earned, dwindling, profits.

Robert Mellors

11:32 AM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

You could offer to deliver his possessions to him and collect the key at the same time, that would solve his transport/collection issues and resolve your ambiguous situation, i.e. has he surrendered it or not.

If he will not collect, or allow you to deliver, then I would keep reminding him (by text or email so you have a written record), and then on the possession date set by the court, change the locks and put his possessions into storage for him to collect. Do you know his forwarding address?

Jamie M

11:51 AM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

collecting the keys is pointless! I he wants to do you amage, he will have copies already
Change the locks, keep his stuff for 14 days then throw it way (tell him this)

Robert Mellors

11:55 AM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jamie Moodie" at "03/02/2017 - 11:51":

Hi Jamie

Yes, change the locks anyway (in case he has copies of the keys), BUT still collect the keys from him if possible as this indicates a formal surrender of the tenancy, so can help to prevent subsequent legal claims or accusations of unlawful eviction. The handing over of the keys is evidence of the surrender of the tenancy.

Paul Green

12:00 PM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

It's easy. Ask the courts to arrange bailiffs after the the 14 days grace the judge awarded him and arrange a locksmith to meet you their on the day the bailiffs arrive. Store his belongings and bobs your uncle. No ambiguity. You only have to store his stuff for so long and then skip it. Just make sure you evidence that you have let him know we're and how long he has to collect . I would do an inventory of his belongings too. You'll have to ask or look up the legal length of time you are obligated to store his bits and bobs. Full possession is your again this way and all legal ...good luck

Jamie M

12:01 PM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

Sorry about my spelling, didn't check it

Just txt and email him re that he's gone/vacated and has stuff to collect which you'll hold for him, that he has your keys, that will do
He would have to reply and disagree for there to be any proof otherwise

Ian Narbeth

12:56 PM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

I would be cautious. You have already tripped up over the deposit.

If the court order gives him 14 days from 26 January then you should assume he has the room until that period expires unless he hands back the key or confirms he has vacated before then. Do not change the door lock for the time being. If has moved out (i.e. his stuff has been removed by him) but not handed back the keys when the 14 days are up then you can change the locks. If you go in before then you risk a claim that you have interfered with his quiet enjoyment. If his stuff is still there after the 14 days take some legal advice about the next step. Remember, if landlords step out of line the courts come down hard on them.

Jamie M

16:37 PM, 3rd February 2017
About 2 years ago

You can change the locks (see below) and we don't have to be victims of this idiotic system every time there is a rule

Try to think logically round these impositions and what scenario would have to be true and reasonable for others to accept it

Change the locks because one of your tenants ruined the tumbler breaking his key in it coming home pissed, then txt him that locks have been changed and to collect his new key from you etc

Simples ekekekeekekek

Thom Hill

0:03 AM, 4th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Just to be clear, Jamie's plan is literally to illegally evict the tenant and then make up a lie to cover it up.

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