Help tenant won't return key

Husband and son did the same found out where they had gone and dumped the lot outside their house think they enjoyed it. Bless them no comeback either .


Your problem is that if you go down the safest route, it will take about 18 months to get the property back and you’ll have no rent during that time. You have to weigh that against the risk that she will sue you and the likely fine of perhaps £2k -£3k in the unlikely even she wins.

Given what you’ve said about the note and the Council Tax, I would be inclined to write to her saying that I accept her surrender of the property and will now re-take possession, remove her things and retain them for a month before disposing of them and if she has any questions or concerns she should contact me ASAP. I would then give it a few days and change the locks

Clearly there is some, perhaps small risk to the above and only you know whether this is something you would be prepared to do.


I think I’m going to risk it . The last message said I could have keys back . I haven’t spoken to her since before Christmas we have communicated through Facebook messenger deliberately on my part as I’ve photo shot and stored all of her messages . I also think she’ll just lay low because she owes rent and didn’t pay anything for over a year as UC didn’t pay and took her to court for fraud unfortunately we had covid so getting her to court wasn’t an option. She now owes over two years of rent and we’re both pensioners . Thank you so much for your help and logical reasoning

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The council will refuse to confirm anything, citing data protection. Unless you get a council tax demand from the council proving that the trnant claims to have left.

I had a letter from council telling me she had left and giving me 6 months free council tax until new tenant takes over . She denied telling that but I can’t see them making it up

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the thing is ,if her furniture is there ,she is there .

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If this was me I would take legal advice. You don’t want to be the victim of entrapment in addition to all that you have suffered. She could argue it was an error at the council. It’s not unheard of that the council makes mistakes. If she has 12 months of arrears cannot you not give one months notice for a s21 or s8 under current rules?

She is playing both cards. She has told the council she has left to save on council tax but she has left all her belongings in the property and not returned the keys when she said she would.
It looks like entrapment. She may be looking at you as a cash cow ( how else will she repay her UC fraud).
If you take legal advice you will get 20 minutes for free and have to pay for any additional advice.

We had an issue with abandonment. Our solicitor advised us every step of the way. To cut a long story short, the council said they would come to the property to confirm the property was in fact abandoned. They then reneged on their commitment verbally, not in writing. My solicitor was involved as we were having problems. The solicitor told me to call the police (he suspected foul play at the council -it’s not unheard of) to confirm abandonment (they were involved because of violence) so we did. We had to wait till 930 pm that evening before they turned up but it was worth it. When we did the exit inventory the tenants could not argue with our data as it was witnessed by the police.

This is a complicated situation. Legal advice will ensure if there is a problem you are doing it the right way so if a problem arises you have anticipated it. You will have a lot more confidence going forward as you know you are being guided legally. Anxiety comes from lack of knowledge and Knowledge is power.
I use Stewart Bailey of Hibberts. David Smith of JMW is also reputable. Anthony Gold are reputable. You can get free legal advice at LandlordLaw or the NRLA.

Make in haste repent at leisure.

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I’ve emailed the nrla I am a member and expect them to reply Monday . Furniture she says she has removed and her last message said there was a chest of drawers and a few bits everything else she has taken and that is supposed to be removed today . She is definitely messing me about but she one of those idiots who know we have a large house but fails to understand that we have both worked long and hard for it . A stay at home mum :joy: I didn’t have that luxury . She also thinks I’m stupid she has a candle business and the partner she says left hasn’t his social media says he is back . I just had enough really have

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I see David122 that you who likes to think they have all the answers, repeats advice already given by others and then contradict it by playing fast and loose and break the law when it suits you.

I’d give your advice a wide berth.

That’s your prerogative Mike22.

Trish, it sounds like you have several messages evidencing the tenant having surrendered the tenancy. I would suggest you phone the NRLA so that you can give them the new information which will help with their advice. If it were me, I would accept the surrender.

Just phone council re my liability for council tax and according to them she remains liable my account has been closed. Just told her she is still liable don’t think she’s happy judging by message now says I can have keys at 3pm Wednesday . Doubt it she’s changed her mind twice we shall see .

Good job you did not change the locks. There would have been hell to pay.
This smells of entrapment. She has already committed a criminal act against the DWP.
I think her moral compass is broken or missing…
Do this by the book serve an eviction notice. Formalise the process. Get a solicitor involved as the process is complicated since the pandemic you need to serve correspondence that you are aware of how the pandemic has affected the Tenant.
She has not paid rent so she can be bumped to the top of the queue!
Do not take her word for it. This has been going on since September.
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me…
However tell her that she is now liable for double rent on a daily basis since she has reneged on her withdrawal since September 25.
That the distress for rent act of 1737.
If that doesn’t get a fire lit under the proverbial I don’t know what will.
Speak to Gothard Rowe and see if they can help you recuperate the rent

Good luck


Does your contract have any stipulation that they can’t have left it vacant (without permission) for more than 2 weeks? If they have, then they’ve broken the terms of the lease.

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Yesterday after she said she would return key I decided to use my brain took a couple of hours but I know know where she lives so if keys aren’t back Wednesday I’m going to get legals to send her and him precourt action letter two reasons first it will bother them I know where they are and two the debt will terrify them she still selling candles and DWP won’t pay so he has to be working . To be honest I just want the house back but they don’t know that . We’ll see

Trish, if you do what you’ve suggested without taking legal advice, you will probably be acknowledging that you believe the tenancy is ongoing and you will not then be able to row back from that if a solicitor suggests a different path. I fear that you in danger of making the situation worse. I strongly urge you to ring one of the specialists, such as JMW or Anthony Gold. The first conversation is usually free of charge.

I’m giving her until tomorrow at 3 then if no keys I intend to seek legal advice she has to go and soon bloody people.

I find the law pretty useless when dealing with this stuff… but you need to know it to work around it.
Just take pictures of how it is , remove the stuff and re rent it. Change your locks… oh and how come you dont have a key for your own property? (Be prepared to write a couple of backdated abandonment letters if you get challenged ). I would keep the council out of it as much as possible . however they will come after you for council tax, some councils wont even allow one day empty. So get it re rented get your cash flow going. The number of flats i’ve had abandoned is maybe 100. In the lower echelons of rental its a different reality. You may be overthinking this and getting yourself in knots. Wasters rarely go to court and right now its hardly going to be prioritized as they are so backed up

Don’t have key cos apparently she changed locks when partner left . She says she will meet me Friday 12 midday if she not there I am going to her house (doesn’t know I know where it is ) ask for key if I don’t get it I thought about backdated letter of abandonment going in Saturday. I also doubt she will do anything as she owes rent and has conviction for DWP fraud . My husband cannot quite comprehend tenants he says it’s a parallel universe and the only four letter word they don’t know is work. Bless him ex navy officer.


I thought you were going to take legal advice
This will go on for another six months or worse, longer!
She is praying on your gullible nature.

She is not going to give you back the keys or the property.
It’s gone on for over six months. Don’t procrastinate any more and take legal advice


If she’s not living there there and has moved most of her old junk out, she’s just playing cat and mouse with you for the sheer fun of it - think A_A is right.
You mentioned she hadn’t paid rent for two years.
Please aim to speak with that solicitor.
So awful what she is doing to you.