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Tenant vanished during lockdown

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Author Topic: Tenant vanished during lockdown  (Read 173 times)
Newbie
Posts: 3

New landlord

« on: May 02, 2020, 09:22:16 PM »

Hi all,
I am a landlord with one property, a 6 month assured short hold tenancy starting  December 2019 with 1 tenant +2 children. These are my first tenants. I did all the pre tenancy checks and everything checked out.

My tenant has dissapeared, I have no phone contact and no one knows where she is (not even her mother/guarantor as she has been blocked). The neighbours have told me that she is not living at the property and has not for some time. Furniture has been moved out. There is only a table and a child's bed left, there are some other possessions in bags but I can not see properly without going in. The curtains are always closed and there is no electricy, there is a pile of mail at the front door. She has been seen in town, so shes still alive.

The last communication was in March when she was 2 months in arrears. She had mentioned in a text that she could no longer be able to physically stay at the property and she would pay me what she owed on the 10 March and put her notice in. I told her that I would accept a surrender notice but she refused. I don't have her keys or formal notice. I have arranged 2 meetings at the property that she did not turn up to.

I have contact with the tenants mother/guarantor who has told me via email that the tenant had moved in with her boyfriend. I am working with the Guarantor to get a payment plan in place but my main concern is repossessing the property.

I have sent a section 21 (form 6a 3 Months updated for coronovirus bill) to the tenant at the property.

I believe I may be a victim of Fraud as the tenant is knowingly causing me loss. I also believe that she may still be claiming housing benefit at the house.

Can I gain entry to the property to check everything is ok?

I am at a loss as to what to do and things are made more difficult with the lockdown in place. I would be very grateful for any help or guidance. Many thanks
Jr. Member
Posts: 65

People can be funny.. so keep laughing.

« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2020, 10:06:32 AM »

Ask your local Council to stop the Housing benefit payment. Tell the Guarantor you will expect payment from them and leave it at that.. I can't advise on repossession methods in this instance but it "sounds" like you have an abandoned property so just clean it out, drop the stuff off at her Mum's and issue a bill for outstanding rent/ expenses etc..

I don't think she'll be back so you need to move on..

Do you hold a deposit.. properly protected etc...?

Please report back with any progress or developments.. people can learn from each others experiences and avoid potential dramas from them, but only if people can be bothered to finish the story.. a lot don't seem to..

I hope it goes well for you, one house rented out is a lonely place when it stops earning income but the councils are quick to ascertain a date to start your Council Tax charge from and the gas/electric company will soon be onto you.. I'd hang back with them and the Water board... clear your own lines before you accept too many bills, your tenant is still liable for those outgoings at the moment..

And consider your insurance exposure too.. if the place gets broken into are you covered for damage etc..?

Good Luck and welcome to the madness.... ;)
Newbie
Posts: 3

New landlord

« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 08:35:54 AM »

Thanks Bloofox, for the quick reply.

I have talked to the insurance company. The Guarantor is working with me and will be getting a bill.

Just found out Yesterday that my tenant has done the same thing last year to another landlord. I phoned him today. It cost him over

10000 to get possession of his property and carry out repairs.

She now has a CCJ against her, that was given at the end of February.

She had also forged at least one of her references, I found this out yesterday when I re double checked by talking to the referrer
at the business address.

I think that going to the Police is one thing I will do as this is obviously section 2 Fraud 2006 act.

Another option is voiding the tenancy agreement as the reference was a deception and I think it will be easy to prove she had no

intention of paying the rent.

I will also talk to the DWP as she is on Job seekers and claiming for housing.

My biggest concern is how to regain possession of the property, I do believe that I have a good reason to enter the house and will

ask the police or a PCSO to witness me going in. I would then put a notice of abandonment on the door and lock up. Could I also put

up a no trespass sign to remove any implied right of access to anyone but the tenant.

I would then get her mother to move her remaining stuff out and sign for it (a reciept).

Next seek legal advice about reclaiming possession.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks in advance
Hero Member
Posts: 837

I like property

« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2020, 10:27:08 AM »

I would be following much the same plan.I had something similar years ago.The mother guarantor was fully aware that her son had lied and left other landlords with arrears,but happily signed the form to get him out of her house.Don't get your hopes up about either the guarantor coughing up,or the police being interested in the fraud.You will probably be told it is a civil matter.Pursuing her through court will get her another CCJ,but she does not seem bothered by those.Claim the deposit,get the place ready to relet (really hope she has not done any damage)
Good luck.Never take another tenant who need  a guarantor- contracts not worth the paper they are written on.   
Jr. Member
Posts: 70

I like property

« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2020, 04:40:52 PM »

You can forget all about fraud and/or the police.

The stuff you have read about abandonment notices is all bull.

If the tenant had moved out, the chances are the first thing they'd do is tell the council to get the council tax stopped, so, if the council haven't written to you, she's unlikely to have moved out,

You can give 24 hours written notice saying you want to inspect the property and let yourself in if there's no answer at the door when you go there 24 hours later.

Once you have some idea of what's there you can decide what to do next.
The best outcome would be an implied surrender, but that would depend on what you find.
If the tenant has decided, for example, to isolate with her boyfriend rather than alone, there's not much you can do except start the repossession process.
Newbie
Posts: 3

New landlord

« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2020, 08:38:05 AM »

Good news, I got a call to say someone was in the property so I went round to find the tenant and her friend there. I confronted
them and she handed back the keys but said nothing other than to acknowledge that this meant the tenancy was over, then got in the car and went.
I recorded everything.

The place looks scruffy but the only real damage is in the kitchen where the lino has been ripped and mangled when they took the fridge out earlier this year.

Now I have the small problem of her remaining possessions. Its just carrier bags and a table.
I have no forwarding address so can not give notice that she has a certain time to contact me or I shall dispose them as I see fit.

Also there is money owed on the Gas/Electric, minor problem.

There will be debt letters as people were going to the property looking for her before the lockdown. What can I do with any mail that comes?

What is the best way to proceed with the guarantor and how do I bill her and then, how do I take her to court when she does not pay?

Thanks for your replies they are much appreciated.
Hero Member
Posts: 837

I like property

« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 10:07:24 AM »

This is something to celebrate,you have your house back.You are not responsible for paying her utilities,just contact the suppliers and give the mother's address as the only one you have.Do likewise with the letters that arrive,put "No longer at this address" on the outside,maybe add the forwarding address if you feel inclined.
What is the total amount of arrears? You can make a claim yourself through the small claims court,go online for details.Did you do a credit check on the mother when you agreed to this? Really,your chances of getting anything from her are slender.Send a proper letter,with proof of postage,stating the amount owed and giving say 14 days before you commence proceedings.If you get something,great,if not get on with finding new tenants.Forget your legal rights,people like this know all the tricks. It is better to have a void property than have a lousy tenant,be very fussy next time.Good Luck!
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