Tenants have done a runner – what should I do?

by Readers Question

10:44 AM, 3rd September 2014
About 4 years ago

Tenants have done a runner – what should I do?

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Tenants have done a runner – what should I do?

It looks as if the two tenants in a property of mine have done a runner as the flat shows no sign of occupancy.

The next rent payment is due on 7th September 2014 and I don’t expect to see this as there are no personal items in the flat. Tenants have done a runner

What are legal responsibilities regarding repossession of the property?

I have the e-mail addresses of both tenants but they do not reply to my questions.

Regards to all

Michael O’Conner



Comments

Jay James

16:52 PM, 4th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Michael.
I'm no expert.
I have seen comments on here about not being too quick to enter a property, lest an absconded tenant could claim they were going to return and so were illegally evicted.
I'm sure there are many on here who could clarify this.

It may be a good ideaa to go through the formal eviction process.

Farah Stehrenberger

9:56 AM, 5th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Michael

Is there a written tenancy agreement?

Usually there is no unlawful eviction if the landlord genuinely believed that the tenants have vacated the property.

You should give some time before doing anything, keep record of your e-mails, ask them to confirm whether they are returning or not, to be on the safe side, you could apply for a quick eviction order on the basis that the tenants have moved out.

Dr Rosalind Beck

13:20 PM, 6th September 2014
About 4 years ago

I think it is a good idea to ask neighbours when was the last time they saw the tenants. If they say a month or more and/or say the people have left, you could use this in the future if necessary.
In similar circumstances - but where the tenant had left a three piece suite and quite a few belongings - we moved the stuff out, stored it in our garage for 6 months, we then put a notice in the front window with our contact details, saying the tenant should ring if he wanted them back, we changed the locks and we went about reletting it immediately. I would not go through the formal eviction process here as it will cost you months and months in lost rent and the judge will even award the absent tenant who doesn't even appear in court maybe another 28 days to get out etc. Take the risk, is my advice and assume they're gone.

Neil Robb

22:21 PM, 6th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi

I have had a similar situation this year and did the same as you and asked for advice. I took the risk changed the locks Put note on door been 5 months heard nothing, I re let the property back out the last few months.

I should have sought a possession order on the grounds of abandonment as the tenant not only took her stuff but most of mine as well.

It is a risk as I am sure the police and criminal system would pursue the landlord for illegal eviction quicker then pursuing the tenant for there wrong.

I emailed the police stating my disappointment that nothing has been and the fact this lady had outstanding warrants and appeared to be taking the P*** out of the legal system to be told she no longer has outstanding warrants and a file has been sent to the DPP to see if they will prosecute her for the theft.

12:00 PM, 9th September 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Farah Stehrenberger" at "05/09/2014 - 09:56":

And take photographs of the empty property

Marcus Taylor

16:13 PM, 12th September 2014
About 4 years ago

I'm no expert on this but yesterday I went to a property event where an expert from a Landlord's Association was talking about this very same issue in the seminar I attended. You'll probably need to look into this further but he told us about a chap that had a property, tenant disappeared, no rent, no communication nothing and this went on for some months. Assuming he'd abandoned the place, the landlord went in, threw away the tenants junk, spruced the place up and re-let it. Anway, 5 months later tenant returns and it turns out he was in jail !! 😮 Landlord ended up in a barrel full of legal troubles because he'd unlawfully gained possession and also he had legal obligations to the chap he'd re-let the property too, so much so that all the issues ultimately bankrupted him. The lesson the speaker was saying was to make sure and go through all the correct legal processes to gain possession even if it seems obvious the tenant has abandoned the place.

I know sometimes speakers at events who are legal practitioners can seem way too technical and lacking in 'real world solutions' but I didn't get that from this speaker as on other issues he was pragmatic and seemed very averse to over complicating things with legal people when it might just be better to take a loss.

As I say, I'm just paraphrasing what he said, members on this board who understand these issues better might just jump in and give their thoughts to further expand this.

Best of luck.

Dr Rosalind Beck

16:30 PM, 12th September 2014
About 4 years ago

It's an interesting cautionary tale, but I'm confused as to how it would bankrupt the landlord. I'd have liked more detail; whether he had to pay large sums of compensation and/or astronomical legal bills... Perhaps if he'd asked the neighbours one of them might have known the guy had gone into clink.


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