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Tenant has left with no handover or keys

Hi, I have a tenant that made excuses to end contract shortly after moving in.
The blog it at Tenant wants to leave after 1 month

Today (05-Nov-2019) is the date mandated to me by the tenant that they will be leaving.
They have paid up to today.

Past 2-3 weeks I have been emailing the Tenant to agree a time when we can meet to inspect the property and handover etc.
They will not respond so today I have been to the property and no answer.
I can see that property looks empty buy yesterday kitchen window was open - today closed - so someone has been back to the property.

I wish to know when can I legally enter the property and inspect it. Garden is a mess and neighbour said at least 10 people where living there.

I am preparing myself for the worst.

What are my rights to enter property ?

If there is damage then what action can I take?

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I would have gone in thru that open window

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They have said they have left the property so you are now entitled to go in as they have no entitlement to carry on living there as they have terminated the contract and now don’t have a right to live there rent free. If they have moved out change the locks and apply to have your bond returned if they have caused damage or taken stuff that is yours.

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@Colin3 Not that window - too small. I’m the lean machine I used to be :slight_smile:

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Hi - I entered the property today and was not pleased:
I have started to draft a letter as follow:

  1. Front garden – not maintained
  2. Rear garden – not maintained
  3. Shed – not cleared of belongings
  4. Front door – weather strip missing
  5. Front kitchen window – seal damaged (the rubber seal has been removed)
  6. Lounge – damaged paintwork
  7. Kitchen
    a. not fully emptied of belongings
    b. oven – extremely dirty
    c. Hob – extremely dirty
    d. Cooker Hood – extremely dirty
    e. Microwave – very dirty
  8. Main Front bedroom – broken curtains mechanism and also pulled apart. The curtains no longer fold up.
  9. Rear Bedroom
    a. broken curtains mechanism and also pulled apart. The curtains no longer fold up.
    b. window that I offered to fix as it did not open has been forced open and now no longer closes.

The neighbours came round once they saw me and complained. There were approx 10 people living in the house. Its a 2 bed mid terrace.
The tenant posted 1 set of keys through letter box. I gave 2 sets and the ones posted were copies. Still has Timpsons tag on it. Have changed all locks.

Is anyone aware of a letter template I can use to draft this letter professionally and correctly.
I estimate approx £500-600 to put everything right. I will give tenant opportunity to reimburse me or face court action.

That sounds like all stuff you can deduct from the deposit, you do still have the deposit right?

Hi Vijai. No need to write formal letter. Everything is governed by the tenancy agreement. This should have the reasons for witholding the deposit set out in it and they should cover everything you’ve listed. Good news is that it doesn’t sound too expensive, just annoying. Get the work done, keep the receipts and deduct the total from the deposit. Notify the deposit protection scheme (DPS) you are holding the deposit pending the repairs. When they’re done, the tenant gets the balance if any or you claim from the tenant (good luck with that!). DPS rules will give youmore guidance.

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Hi Vijay, Be very careful regarding taking possession if the tenant has left anything behind, unless you have their departure date agreed in writing.

I had a similar situation wherein a tenant agreed to move out as he couldn’t maintain his rent payments. On the agreed date (verbal) we went in and found a load of, in my opinion, junk, all his documents, valuable electronic equipment, decent clothing etc had been cleared out. So we bagged up the remaining items and moved them out to safe keeping. We left a note on the main door confirming how to contact us to recover the items removed and that he had abandoned the property.

We were then contacted by the local authority accusing us of illegal eviction, and had this miscreant made the effort to go into their offices to sign his complaint, they said they would definitely have prosecuted us. He had, in fact, moved out to his Uncles in another County, we know as we tracked him down to chase his debt, waste of time of course but made him uncomfortable and embarrassed in front of his family.

The police also phoned us, asking if we’d changed the locks. I replied not only the lock but the entire door, as we had already given notice to all tenants that we were upgrading the fire rating of their unit doors & frames to regulations as demanded by the HMO.

It’s a very difficult situation, as you obviously do not want to spend months obtaining an eviction order through the courts. We have taken a few chances wherein errant tenants have disappeared leaving debt and dilapidations and no keys returned. They only need to leave one item to claim they had not moved out. But, as we all know, you need to take a punt every now and then, as you will get no assistance from the police or local authorities, unless or until you obtain a warrant for possession.

Thankfully it sounds like you are facing a relatively small refurbishment bill, and should be covered by the bond, as you say he has paid up to date. I would call that a good result!

@Chris35 Thank you for the sound advice. I will take a photo/s of whats left behind and send it to the email I have for the parting tenant - allowing them 7 days to contact me to arrange collection or thereafter I will dispose of them.

Make it thirty days. to be covered

Hi Vijai, do you mind if I ask what town this property is in? :slight_smile:

I would put together a dilapidations statement, including repair costs, replacement locks / keys, rent due to the end of the contract term and council tax liability to the end of the tenancy period.

Having looked at your earlier blog, I notice you are concerned about the return of the DPS bond, if she doesn’t cooperate. Keep all communications and write a log of contacts / discussions with her, complete the above suggested Dilaps Statement, these together with your Tenancy Agreement should be more than adequate to obtain a favourable outcome if you had to agree to the DPS arbitration system to settle the dispute, assuming she does dispute your claim for the return of the bond. If she simply does not communicate with DPS you should then follow their advised procedure to obtain a stat dec. for DPS to release the bond to you.

Good luck, and welcome to the real and frustrating world of property letting.

I agree with Colin’s suggested 30 day period for holding their possessions in safe keeping, and make it a condition of handing over her property that she hands over all the keys, although this would not be strictly legal to actually do so. If you have standard locks wherein the keys can be easily copied then it’s not worth hanging onto the old lock, because it is no longer secure. I have 15 pin mastered security locks on my properties and the keys cannot be legally copied, therefore I can guarantee tenants security, unless they do not return all the keys I provided, then it’s an expensive lock replacement.

Ha ha. Although I would hope you retain a key for your access when required also… so no need to go on that diet Colin :slight_smile:
Entering without permission is also a no no, unless in the case of emergency…

Vijay, beware of the illegal eviction laws when changing locks arbitrarily, unless you have their statement to quit in writing.

Hi Alice - That would be Luton (Bedfordshire)

I have had this happen a lot. with properties in cheaper areas they just disappear usually after failing to pay the last months rent. you are meant to leave notices et saying property is abandoned etc which is great way to tell burglars and squatters the place is empty. usually i text/phone/e mail and if no reply just knock. i look thru windows and if it empty go in. you can go in if you have had a report of smoke from a neighbour or other important life threatening potential. some landlords just say this. some landlords even look thru mail to see where they might be moving and one phone call to the new agent can really bring the tenants to heel with payment.
most important know the law, then work with it. you have to have entry for a risk to life. when you look round you know if they are gone, your stress disappears, you know what to do etc. ref belongings legally you are meant to keep them, i just say i cant keep them either collect them or if i dont hear will assume it is junk. laws are way too biased to tenants as are judges in the main who have no idea the practicalities of renting props

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