Uncontactable tenant and eviction services

Hi all,

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Tenant has raised some issues regarding property (pests, some light maintenance work) which we are of course happy to engage about and resolve. The property also needs its annual gas check.

The tenant has been uncontactable for the last 2 months via phone, SMS and email despite repeated attempts. This of course makes it impossible to arrange appointments to treat the issues.

I completely understand that we can’t just walk into the property, but where do we stand if the gas check cannot be completed?

  1. Our eventual aim is to sell the property. We will need to evict the tenant as it has become clear in past dealings that they will not leave unless ejected by bailiffs. We would like to use a managed service to do this on our behalf. Does anyone have recommendations for companies that can do this?

You give notice of the date the gas engineer will visit, which should be at least 24 hours later. You then turn up with the engineer and your keys and knock loudly. Unless you are refused or prevented from accessing the property then you let yourselves in and do the work. If you are refused access you get the engineer to witness it. You then repeat the process. Once you can provide evidence of 2 or 3 refusals, a court is less likely to reject a s21 notice as invalid.

If you’re not confident about evicting yourselves then yes, hand it to specialists to do.

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Thanks David,

So I am not breaching the tenancy agreement (or the law) by letting myself in? Is this intervention only applicable for the gas check requirement and not for other reasons such as maintenance work etc?

On the eviction, are there any recommended specialists you are aware of? My concern is that Google search will turn up any number of potentially unscrupulous providers.

S11 of the Housing Act 1985 gives the landlord a right of entry for inspection and maintenance with min 24 hrs notice. In addition you will probably find that your tenancy agreement reinforces this right. However, some tenants refuse access each time or physically prevent it. In these circumstances you have to back off and try again some time later or the tenant could claim for harassment against you. If the tenant doesnt respond to you access request and or isnt there at the appointed time, you are within your legal rights to enter the property with your own keys.

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Hi i had this with my tenant and his advise was if tenant refused to allow a gas check 3 times he is within the law to get the gas turned off as he cannot guarantee that it is safe, wrote to her with 3rd appt date and time and included that if the gas engineer is not given access he will instruct the gasboard to turn the gas off as he would deem it to be dangerous. he got access might be worth speaking to gas engineer

We have only had to evict one tenant in all our time as landlords but, when we did, we used Legal for Landlords (https://www.legalforlandlords.co.uk) and found them very helpful. They arranged court representation and were very clued up on all the possible pitfalls of the process. Their services didn’t come cheap but it was definitely worth it.

Thanks everyone for all of your replies. Really helpful info. I will certainly proceed with the 3 visit advice - and thanks also for the Legal for Landlords recommendation.

That was bad advice Dawn and likely to get you sued for harassment.

oh sorry might have to have a word with the gas engineer. he said that he has a legal requirement to ensure the gas is safe and if he cant do that he would have to cut the gas off,

Thanks again for your advice. I am now at the point where I will be writing that letter. It has been 3 months with no contact despite our best efforts.

Can I just check, when I write the letter as per David’s advice. In the letter, should I point out to the tenant that, if they are not there to answer the door that I will let myself in with the engineer to complete the gas check?

Also, where would I stand if the tenant has change the locks?