No response from tenant

Hi wondering if anyone can offer any advise, tenant is 3mths behind with rent, rent now being paid direct from UC. Sec 8 served on tenant. date to leave 15th April. tenant wont respond to me regarding handing over the keys etc. Went round on Saturday, no answer curtains all closed so dont know if tenant has left. Tried the door and she has changed the locks. Next door neighbour contacted me and advised me she is moving her stuff. I text her again asking her to contact me. nothing. so now i dont know if she has left and if i can legally go in the property, think I will be able to find a way in can anyone advise

I would stay in touch with the neighbour if I were you to see when she actually leaves. If you go through the courts it will take a long time and you wont have any rent. Once she notifies UC that she has left and the neighbour confirms it, I would then replace the lock and take lots of pictures and compile lots of written evidence of abandonment in case she tries to sue you. You can also put a note on the door for her notifying where she can get the new keys if she hasnt really left.

thank you for your reply neighbour keeping a watch

Deliver a note by hand, text and email, stating that you will be inspecting the property on …, giving 48 hours notice, and that you require a copy of the key for entry if she is not available. If no response, follow David’s advice, and take a locksmith along with you to change the lock, at her expense.
Of course, if she’s already 3 months in arrears, there’s little chance you’ll recover that cost either.
Make sure you take a witness, maybe your neighbour, to verify the property has been vacated, and leave a note of abandonment on the door.
Check with UC and Council Tax, when she notified them of her move.
If she’s left any possessions behind, you have a choice of taking a chance she’s has moved, and storing those bits for a couple of weeks, and notifying her where to collect them, or you can obtain a warrant of entry to formally / legally evict her.

thanks Chris35 took me 6mths of contact to eventually getting in to do a house check, she has already informed UC i assume as they wont talk to me as i am no longer landlord and all payments to me have stopped, but she is still in my property, i contacted legal people and i advised I cannot gain access to the property or change the locks without obtaining a possession order from the courts. I have done MCOL so she she receive it soon (be a suprise for her ) and until she returns the key she is still due to pay rent so i can do another MCOL if no keys handed over next month when she says she will be out . will let you know the outcome .

Don’t waste anymore time Dawn, It’s obvious you’re not going to see any more money from this woman. You already have the possession order with your section 8 for the return of the property on April 15th, if I understand your post correctly.
I know it costs more, but get a “Warrant of Entry”, and chuck her remaining stuff out. It will cost you far more in lost rent if you wait around another month.
Of course, you could just change the locks, and take possession, but that is termed an illegal eviction. God knows why, when the council have already started paying for a different property for her, and council tax will only acknowledge a person in one property at a time, check with them also. By rights these 2 scenarios should be evidence enough, but I believe not, as my council once threatened to prosecute me on behalf of a tenant in a similar situation to yours, although he moved in with family as opposed to a new rental property. The council only withdrew the case because the tenant never turned up to sign his complaint / statement.
I would have thought you have the right to change the locks to be in possession of a key to your property, since your contract should state she cannot change the locks without notifying you and producing a copy key.
She’s just messing you about for the mischief or vindictiveness of it. Make your move decisively, and be shut of her once and for all.

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