Landlord Changes Locks To keep Scumbag Tenants Out

One of the most active and interesting articles (in my opinion) on this website is the I’m evicting my tenants post. The post is basically about me throwing my toys out of the pram and having a gutless whinge about my tenant, and how I want to evict her stupid ass. For the record, if there’s any justice in the world, she’ll be slowly burning in hell like a skewered lamb kebab right now.

The post is interesting because a lot of people have been actively commenting on the article; majority of the them being Landlords that are also experiencing frustrating situations with shit-for-brains tenants.

I’ve dealt with some real scumbag tenants in my short time of being a Landlord, consequently I know how stressful it can be. If I had it my way (providing that a tenant steps out of line), all landlords would be well within their rights to change the locks and throw their tenants onto the streets.

Having said that, here’s an interesting comment left by a landlord:

ive been a landlord foe 20 odd years and seen and heard it all.

I used to get real angry when this sort of thing happens but in the end it just eats you up.

you have to realise there are loads of fucking arseholes out there that don’t give a fuck how much grief they cause. I had one who was 3 months in arrears then, can you believe this. Sub let it to a load of drug addicts who wrecked the property it cost 12 k to refurbish it.
I was so angry i forced entry when they were out. Paid a man and a lorry to empty the whole lot. Cost me £400.00 Everything they owned. Took it all to the local tip, flat screen hi fi whole lorry load, Tipped it up good riddance. Changed the locks and waited for the phone calls. took about 2 hours then boy did the phone ring. Wheres all our our stuff they screamed. Down the fucking tip you low life. take me to court if you like.

Still waiting to hear.

risky but sometimes you just have to step up to the plate and take whats coming.

good luck


Now, that’s how shitty tenants should be legally treated in my opinion. Although, 3 months in arrears is way too long, they deserve to be locked out after 2 months of arrears, max. I’m not condoning this activity, because I wouldn’t even do it. I’m just saying that’s how it should be. If you’re a Landlord with a pair of dinosaur balls (like Paddy), consequently have no qualms with laughing in the face of the law, then all the power to ya’

It is illegal for a Landlord to change the locks?

Just to clarify, yes, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or change the locks to prevent tenants from entering the property. Tenants have a statutory legal right of “Quiet Enjoyment”, which protects them from this kind of abuse. So before you go storming into a property with the intentions of taking the law into your own hands like a crazed wild-west lunatic, think of the consequences.

Acts of illegal evictions include

  • changing locks when tenants are out
  • physically throwing tenants out your home
  • physically stopping tenants from entering their home.

Landlords have to follow a legal procedure to evict tenants, by serving the correct sections. More on Evicting tenants legally. Illegal eviction is a serious civil and criminal offense, and a landlord can be prosecuted if guilty of doing so.

In most cases, the landlord must obtain a possession order from a county court after serving a valid Notice to Quit. The tenant doesn’t have to leave at this point, and a lot usually don’t. Only the court can decide whether the tenant has to leave the property. It will normally take several weeks before the case is decided in court.

Exceptions to the rules

The landlord does not need to obtain a court possession order to evict if:

  • you have a resident landlord with whom you share facilities, like the kitchen and bathroom
  • you are not paying any rent for your accommodation

In these cases, the landlord is only required to give reasonable notice to the tenant to leave the property. Once the notice has elapsed, the tenant becomes a trespasser and the landlord can legally change the locks at the property.

Are you a landlord that has been forced to change locks? Maybe you’re a tenant that has changed the locks. Tell me your story…

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298 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 248 - 298 comments (out of 298)
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Nige 1st October, 2016 @ 23:30

Thanks David but I have now got rid of my DHSS tenants who of course behaved as mentioned above.
Not that I had anything against DHSS but times have changed.

I won't go into the stupid mistake I made by NOT evicting a tenant at the end of a six month tenancy who subsequently announced she had cancer and died. Her family wrecked the house whilst she was in the last stages before she died but of course the tenancy was in her name and I still can't prove who did the damage. Police not interested. Insurance wont act without proof. Stalemate but as the dust clears there was interference by a council employee working outside her remit and its a case of watch this space.

Interestingly enough you cannot evict a dead person without going through accelerated possession !! And yes accelerated possession now costs £355 !! Rip off. {more if you don't do online).

Interestingly enough the building societies are playing the same game as landlords . ie one month and one day in arrears and in this case if a person loses their home they are deemed to have made themselves homeless.

As you say councils must try to accommodate but the reality here is the available stuff is rough to the extreme. A friend went into the HMO game and pulled out after 6 months due to trouble from tenants and despite being offered 4000 a month for 5 rooms by the council (thats 800 a month per room when housing benefit will only pay 595 for a 3 bed house ) refused to take anyone except working people.

I don't know about other areas (and Im no expert on getting a house) but here the homeless in temporary rooms have to bid on available houses. Ive seen the lists and all houses seem to be housing associations and zero private landlords.

Ah well only one property to sell after this one and then Im out sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Can't wait for retirement 3 years late.

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David 5th October, 2016 @ 12:28


I totally get where you are coming from, I do feel that HA's should be enabled to provide accomodation for long term DHSS tenants. HA's have much better ways of dealing with "trouble" tenants. Although they offer very long tenancies their ASB clauses mean that the license can be revoked pretty damn quickly.

I have spent the last 2 years regularly visiting someone who was made homeless, I saw them in living their car, living in temp accomodation when their health finally got so bad that they became vulnerable and finally when they were housed a year later.

When you regularly visit temp accomodation places you get a real picture of what is going on, the different demographics of "residents", I also got talking to the staff. One saturday a family of 14 turned up, the first thing I noticed was the suits, these so called refugees were loaded, a separate van brought their cases which filled the large recention area. The classic bit was when the oldest man (a grandfather I suspect) asked the lady behind the counter something in Arabic and she responded in English saying "No this is NOT a hotel". I asked her what he had said and she said he asked if there was a porter to help them with their luggage. She was a sweet Muslim girl on mininum wage and she was spitting nails because that family were occupying 5 family units, including the ones they keep in reserve for medical emergencies. She told me on another visit that they had been housed. What I do not understand is that Council is one of the ones that have been slated for not taking any refugees, so I still do not know how they managed to get access to the place. What I do know is they were driving Mercedes within a few weeks of arrival, so they clearly had the ability to support themselves.

I do know that there are scum in our society, people that trash properties, drug addicts that play the rehab system, get housed and then make life hell for other tenants. I think the only way to win is to do up your property to a much higher standard and seek more affluent tenants.

I have posted the properties on the bidding lists and you are right, they are just HA's mostly, a few charitable trusts. Even on those there are two levels, those on a "social" rent and those on an "affordable rent" the latter is witin 1p of the LHA rate but may include a service charge for mantainting communal areas. These often make the property unaffordable because the benefits these people are on simply cannot budget it. So they become homeless and are told they made themselves homeless. They are not the crowd that have the latest iPhone, they are more like the heat or eat brigade. I always advise clients to try to bid on social rents, they also have a service charge but usually low if ex Council stock or HA new build in a big block.

I was talking to a guy at an HA a few months back, his told me his are technically insolvent after Government cut off their source for socal stock. They are refinancing their current stock to survive but desperately need to merge or they will go bust.

Enjoy your retirement!!

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Nige 5th October, 2016 @ 14:01

Thank you David.

After 20 years in the game there is little that anyone can tell me about tenants and their antics !! Some are so dumb that you wonder how they survive...dumb that is until their rights are involved.
I have nearly always housed DHSS but its a case of NO MORE.
My recent experience as follows.
I did a property up to sale standard but due to another property falling vacant sold that instead
Lady 3 kids thrown out of last property as rent went up to much. Nice lady as well .clean and with a degree of ambition.
She was taken on a 6 month tenancy which then ran periodic.
Then she got cancer so I rearranged other future lettings and sales of property to keep her in. MISTAKE BIG TIME. All inspections by my third party inspector had been good BUT
Every time the lady went into hospital there was damage to the house and this was done by her brats. For example the bathroom was trashed to the extent that the toilet was broken, sink off the wall, brand new flooring damaged so badly that it affected the chipboard floor underneath and the bath panel kicked in.The water also damaged the downstairs cloakroom wrecking the ceiling and floor.

Now this would not be so bad..I wasn't fixing it and told tenant to do so. THEN environmental health got involved !! I was accused of letting a substandard house . Apparently a slight leak under the kitchen sink at the other end of the house was causing damp in the cloakroom !! DUH ? What leak as nothing had been reported. That took weeks of letter writing and reports.

Sadly the tenant died. Was I informed. NOPE. I found out 2 weeks later when her brats started fiddling everything they could and phoned the council to say the boiler wasnt working.It wasnt working because they had smashed the flue off and taken off the casing. Cost one new boiler. By the time I got to the house the council were involved although they shouldn't have been and much of the property had been botch repaired.

I took back the keys from the executor but there was no money in the accounts. Housing benefit had been stopped even though her kids were still living there.(one was 19 by this stage)

I kid you not when I tell you the damage found.
There was not one single item in this house that had not been damaged. NOT ONE. Walls, ceilings, electrics rewired wrongly,kitchen wrecked, bathroom wrecked,cloakroom leaking sewage under the wooden floor, carpets wrecked, holes in doors.

Day one we went in and totally gutted the house from top to bottom to the point of it being a shell. It took 3 months to pull the property back to a state that it had been 40 months before.

Insurance ? Not interested unless I got police reports. Police..not interested as it would have been impossible to prove who did the damage. Nobody thought to ASK the little !!!!!!!!!!. money in the pot.

So three months lost rent. Accounts for damage not all done yet but 5k for materials excluding labour.

Who loses. Well I do for one but will offset against tax. Thats 28% less tax I will pay in CGT.
So society pays for these tykes.
My time. Three months of my life gone and without pay or rent .

As said the matter is not closed yet as someone from the council was getting involved behind my back and this is going to cause the brown stuff to hit the fan.

This is an extreme case but I have spent my life in lettings a friend says ...clearing up other peoples Cr--ap and repairing things that were broken.

Retirement? 67 years old and just evicting a tenant so I can cash in. I know what I will find when I get the house back. More work to rectify damage and UNFAIR wear and tear done by a 35 year old who has 3 kids by 3 different fathers and who has never worked in her life.

PS houses I have left are now let through an agent at high rents (well above DHSS) to working people with huge deposits.
Why didn't I do this before ? Well I did but my agent went rogue and never reported damage etc and let the tenants do what they wanted.

Ah well. Such is the life of a landlord !!

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Nige 7th October, 2016 @ 22:16

David and a warning to other landlords.
(Sorry copy/paste cut off part of article)
Notice its not just councils but also Shelter and CAB advising staying put until bailiffs.

All News
Press Releases
NLA Lobby

Revealed: the cost of bad eviction advice
Article Posted -
14 Sep 2016

The average cost to a landlord of their tenant being advised to ignore an eviction notice stands at nearly £7,000, according to a recent survey of landlords.*

Private tenants are often advised by local councils and agencies to ignore eviction notices served by their landlords – and to wait until evicted by bailiffs – in order to qualify as homeless and thus eligible for rehousing.

The latest findings from the National Landlords Association (NLA) reveal that the mean total cost of a tenant being advised to remain in a property is £6763.

In addition, half (47 per cent) of tenants who have been served a section 21 eviction notice by their landlord say they have been told to ignore it by their local council or an advice agency such as Shelter or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB).**

The news comes as the National Landlords Association (NLA) is due to give evidence to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee today (Wednesday 14 September) on the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill, as introduced by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, amends the Housing Act 1996 to expand councils’ duties to prevent homelessness by:

· Providing that Section 21 Eviction Notices are proof an applicant is threatened with homelessness

· Doubling the definition of threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days

The NLA has long campaigned against councils advising tenants to ignore eviction notices and in March, 2016, the then Housing Minister Brandon Lewis wrote to all local councils in England to clarify homelessness guidance.

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:

“We have consistently campaigned on this issue, but despite many warnings to councils and agencies, this damaging advice is still being given out to tenants.

“Possession cases can take a very long time to resolve, and aside from putting an unnecessary strain on everyone involved, not to mention the Courts, these findings demonstrate just how cost

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daljit dodd 22nd October, 2016 @ 01:33

Distressing to hear stories about bad tenants. LL should follow procedure.
there are very bad LL there especially those that make up story of damage to property to usurp the deposit it can be done is being done all you need is a decorator 2 witnesses that property left in bad state some photos. This is a cruel world
From the accounts above LL seemed to be the most hurt you have not seen the bad ones.

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Nige 22nd October, 2016 @ 09:31

As the landlords other post states you get good and bad.
Most landlords in this country are small businesses with only a few properties. I know a lot of people in the game and luckily I grew up with the multitude of changes to legislation.
Take section 21 for example. Its changed again and even experienced agents are having to double check forms to use.

Not every instance can be insured. How many landlords for example insure against the tenant dieing. Ive had 2 in my properties. One from cancer, one from suicide. There is no money in the estate and you have to follow the section 21 route to get the property back. In the meantime relatives seem to do what they like and trying to prove that they damaged it rather than the tenant is a nightmare.

Ive worked in drug dens..or should I say the aftermath of a drug factory. Totally wrecked top to bottom. A friend who was an agent had tenants who burnt everything ..doors, floorboards etc.

In this country there is no database available to allow prospective tenants to be checked out. Even if there was you get an unmarried couple where one takes the tenancy. ie unmarried mother who moves boyfriend in. The house is wrecked so the boyfriend takes the tenancy on another house for them.

Thats why checks, double checks, triple checks and big deposits are becoming the norm and the only place tenants can raise the sort of cash needed is from the official money lenders at 1000% .

Ah well there are those who win in the landlord game and there are those that lose.I know many who are cashing in now as there is more money in renovation than there is in renting and as usual the bad tenants spoil it for the good ones.

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mike 12th January, 2017 @ 20:42

can I change the locks in my house , I have a tenant he rents a room , no lease , no mail , pays in cash he is moving out but it is taking him 3 monts to move and I have other people interested in the room , he has a few items left in the room . ??

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Nige 13th January, 2017 @ 00:28

Basically no. If his things are still there he can come back and occupy the room. Why the rush if he is paying you?

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David 13th January, 2017 @ 08:27

Depends on the tenancy agreement.

If he has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy then as Nige says No and you are responsible for his shit.

If you live on the premises he is a lodger he has hardly any rights at all.

You say no lease but it depends what you promised him in the beginning, if you promise someone 6 months and say you are preparing an AST but do not do one then a Statutory Pediodic (month to month) tenancy is created and you still have to give a Section 21 with 2 months notice.

You do not say if he is paying the rent, I assume not otherwise why would you care.

Based on what you say, if he has no AST or anything that suggests he has a proper tenancy, I would collect his stuff, store it safely and change the locks.

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Nige 13th January, 2017 @ 11:59

David is correct but if there is no paperwork it can be one word against the other. Note to some paperwork as there is no obligation to have a signed and sealed contract it does help in any dispute.
One small point. Although you say he paid cash you have an allowance under the 'rent a room scheme' and should declare the income. If not the tenant can use that against you.

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Tommy 20th January, 2017 @ 19:40

I have been a landlord 29 year,a good and fair landlord,even Lent Tennant's money let some move in without a deposit even...Soft I know.
As for rent not being paid...If a disagreement starts....I give them 5 day's to pay or move....On day 6 locks changed and belongings put under car ports.....What I have on every house.
Then I will take my chances never has a dispute gone day.....
What's the worst that can happen...Court a fine?
Sue me? ..... This can take forever to resolve....And they'd have as much trouble getting money out of me as I would my initial rent.....So sorry but my house my rules .... I'll take the consequence later......It has never come to court in 29 years so I strongly advise cut the crap out and boot them out if it can not be resolved amicably!

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David 21st January, 2017 @ 01:12

@Tenants wirh a landlord like Tommy who changed locks on you and did not issue proper s21 giving you 2 months to quit or Sec 8 legal action in court...

1. Go to the property
2. Call the Police explaining that your Landlord has changed your locks and is making threats and you fear public disorder, can they please attend.
3. Ask Police to have Landlord Tommy leave and not come back without a prior appointment which you will never give because of fear and anxiety he has caused.
4. Insist that all further inspections and gas safety etc now performed by agent and only when you are present.
5. Call locksmith, have them drill the locks and fit new ones, add an extra mortice lock for additional security.
6. Send invoice to Landlord tommy for Locksmith.
7. Call local authority and explain what Tommy has done and ask that they take action investigating whether he is a fit and proper person to be a Landlord.
8. Do a £3 land registry search on the property you live in, get details of Landlord tommy, then do search to identify all his other properties.
9. Write to the Council of every other property and inform them of what he has dome, ask them to revoke his licence if they have one or investigate whether his is a fit and proper person.
10. Call Lawyer, explain what has happened and ask them to start legal action under Housing Act, Harrasment Act and sue for all your belongings which now need to be replaced because they are damp and will never be the same again.
11.Having got the file for his properties, look for one with no mortgage or oldest mortgage, ask lawyer to issue a lien against property pending outcome of your court case for £50,000 or £100,000.
12. Seek an injunction preventing the Landlord coming within 500 yards of the property.
13. Ask Council to investigate repairs of your property.
14. Check whether Landlord Tommy has fully complied with Deposit protection scheme and prescribed information on your property. If not seek sanctions.
15. Write to the tenants at all other properties, ask them if they have had any issues with Landlord Tommy, give them your email and forward any negative emails to local authority.
16. Remain in property, pay your rent or don't, give rent to Lawyer and ask they hold it pending outcome of case.

What is the worse that can happen.

Sorry, UK Resident, UK Law.

Instant authority to have locks drilled, reenter property and sue the fuck out of you using your own money.

Best not to give advice if it is going to be so stupid.

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Nige 21st January, 2017 @ 01:57


I agree 100% with the processes you describe.

Unfortunately reality is not always the same.

It easy to suggest on paper what you should do but in reality and living in some areas is somewhat different.

I refer to landlords who really don't give a flying fuck about the law.

Its easy to write the process of what we should do but when faced with 4 guys with a dog all of whom are known psychos with tentacles that spread throughout the area it becomes slightly different.

On your own can be a totally different proposition with nobody to hear you scream.

I know reasonably powerful people who have paid up relatively large sums of money for botched work in slightly different situations after the threat was made...
''we know where your kids go to school''.

I am sure there are many people who keep their mouths shut for fear of reprisals. ie immigrants ??

Yep sending in the heavies is something most landlords would ''like'' to do especially me... they are faced with a tenant who is deliberately smashing your place up and having wild parties after you get a possession order in court. Yep waiting for the bailiffs who takes weeks.
(no I didn't send in the heavies!!)

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David 21st January, 2017 @ 21:13

I hear what you are saying Nige but in my experience these types are usually coward, they need the numbers or a drink to participate.

I always start with the law, then I find out what each one cares about and I go after that at a later date.

The Police will remove the four men and a dog, they will arrest them under public order offences, fingerprint them, take their DNA and keep the peace.

These people have the power you give them with your fear.

Don't care was made to care.

Someone may threaten my children but it would be a very foolish thing to do, but again I would start by reporting the threat. After that I would not make threats, I would do. Not immediately, not openly and not to them, but the things they care for.

There are nutters out there but chances are you are not the first they have broken the law with, they may be out on licence and just need your complaint to have that revoked.

I would never think you would use heavies, you have always shown yourself to be socially responsible even though you have had your good nature taken advangage of.

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Nige 24th January, 2017 @ 00:25

Oh I would have loved to put the heavies in on some cases !!

One of the problems is the usual ones. We all have to obey a set of rules designed to control a minority.

I have watched well built houses under local authority control degenerate and finally demolished as a result of a few people who push the boundaries and laugh in the face of authority.

Yes this naughty boy was clocked doing 34mph on an empty road and was subsequently ''fined'' 90 pounds by being given a driver awareness course. A bit galling really as outside one of my rental houses I used to listen to tyres screeching as idiots virtually drag raced outside the local shop.
Even more galling when you find that the cost of a drivers awareness course only costs 50 pounds !!

I use this as an example because the police used incorrect times on their paperwork and even said that their equipment was timed by the Rugby atomic clock. Yep. My investigation reveal that the Rugby atomic clock had shut down 7 years previously. So in fact spurious claims were made by law enforcers. But as a responsible citizen I am accountable

So why therefore cannot landlords include similar terms in contracts. Rent is for 30 days . After 34 days a 90 pound tenant retraining course must be attended. After 60 days you cannot live in that property or rent one for a year !!!
No ifs or buts .
I can quote cases where someone has exceeded the 30mph speed limit by a tiny margin a total of 4 times. Lost their job, lost their house, lost their marriage.

Unfortunately the laws only protect those who abide by the law. Those who don't want to will always get away with it.
The rest of the tenants pay higher rents, higher deposits and jump though hundreds of hoops to cater for those who flaunt the system.

One aspect never discussed is the loss not only to the landlord but to the tax system as a whole. Example.
A tenant does 3000 worth of damage. That means 3000 less (and probably more) of a loss to the landlord. But then the landlord claimed a tax loss on that amount. Thus less money in the public coffers.

Take a section 21 notice as a prime example of our stupid housing laws. Sounds simple. No fault. Just want the house back. 2 months notice. Then after 2 months the tenant can stay put , drag matters through the courts (at a cost of course which usually falls on the landlord). Even if the landlord wins the case the tenant usually gets another 14 days to ''organise'' themselves (as if the first 2 months was not enough). And so on it goes.

Compensation for lost time, often lost rent, legal costs etc can't be reclaimed easily. Maybe the landlord gets fined for not being able to pay the tax bill on time which he couldn't do because he couldn't sell the property.

Result. ?? The next tenant , however law abiding, has to jump through even higher hoops or even worse..the landlord removes the property from the rental market.

All very similar to my speeding situation.

Road humps, chicanes, road narrowing all designed to catch out those who do 60mph plus in a 30 area ..not the ones doing 34. Consequences ? slower journeys , lower productivity , higher bills from tradesmen and more pollution.

I hear what you are saying David but remember that if you live in one of these tough areas that they are virtually no go areas for police and as threats are one word against another then it takes quite a brave individual to remain in residence with the chance of an anonymous brick coming through the window in the middle of the night.
(Yes I have had a tenant have a paving slab thrown through the window at 11 o'clock at night. Only clue was another person upset by the tenant. Police action ..NIL until the next day and then nothing . All costs borne by me. I really enjoyed boarding up a window in a howling gale wearing the dress suit I went out in. Whoopee !!)

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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 08:04

Two years ago I bought a shop with an upper floor. It came with a quite new tenant who was renting the whole building, on a five year lease, paying a nice rent, with a yield of over 10%. He was only using the ground floor, and ran a food store.

What I didn't realize was that he was also selling counterfeit cigarettes. A couple of months after I bought the property the local Trading Standards officer contacted me and told me that he had seized a small amount of counterfeit cigarettes from the shop. My tenant however had claimed that they weren't his. The officer told me that I should evict the tenant immediately by changing the locks early one morning, and that he would be present, with police, when the tenant arrived to open up shop. The rent I was receiving, he said, is illegal and I could be prosecuted for accepting the Proceeds of Crime.

I talked to a local estate agent who told me that the rent was highly inflated, and that once I got rid of the tenant I would have to offer the property at half the rent that my tenant was paying. I was shocked and angry that I had been sold this property at an inflated price, with an inflated rent. Before I bought it I had asked a local trader if the price was right in his opinion, and he said that it was about 20% too high. Stupidly I didn't listen to him, and bought it, lured by the high rental that the counterfeit cigarette dealer was paying.
There were two more raids, which also found small amounts of illegal cigarettes and tobacco. And then most recently there was a test purchase where my tenant sold a packet of cigarettes to the officer's assistant. The small quantities found there made me assume that the illegal trade taking place was very small. Also I saw that the Trading Standards officer didn't prosecute my tenant. The small quantities found didn't justify any prosecution. So I didn't evict.

Recently though I have decided that I've had enough, and the Trading Standards officer is pressuring me strongly to evict. I recently took legal advice and was told:

"It might be too late for you to evict, as you have been accepting the proceeds of crime. In doing so, you may have effectively changed the lease, which forbids the tenant to do anything illegal. By your actions you may have effectively erased that section of the lease. This is called the Law of Waiver.

"You might never be able to get rid of him, because when the lease runs out he may very well be protected by the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1954. Even if you try to evict him through the courts, the judge might rule against you because you have waivered the clause that forbids the tenant to act illegally. In which case you'd pay your own costs and the legal costs of the tenant. Could be several thousand pounds. If the judge ruled against you you'd be stuck with the tenant forever, and you'd be forbidden by law, as you already are, to receive rent from him."

I definitely shouldn't have bought the property. And I definitely should have got rid of the tenant the very first time that the Trading Standards officer contacted me. Not sure how to proceed after making such big mistakes.

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Nige 30th January, 2017 @ 10:13

I have never understood the obsession with fags and booze generally by customs especially in the fiasco of what we called the EU.
I could bring back a TV or car bought in France but fags were limited to a very low amount. But thats all in the name of tax tax tax.

Examining your situation I would make the following comments.

Maybe I am wrong but from what you said you never intended to fall into this trap. You bought a property. You rented it.
Obviously you never intended to get involved with crime.

Where for example would a landlord stand if they rented a property to someone who was fiddling the DHSS and the landlord was accepting the payments. Or a tenant of a property was selling drugs as a sideline.

Your biggest problem is that you did not listen to advice.
Those who are about to stomp on you from a big height advised you to evict/change locks etc. You didn't do this so this makes them assume that you were collaborating in the crime.

The next point is how the rent was paid. Was it cash or was it DD/cheque or any other modern method which you could account for on a bank statement.

Yes criminal proceeds funded your tenant but as it was a shop there was obviously a profit from the shop which could have paid the rent. So with that in mind and the fact that selling bogus fags would not be going through the accounts you could have assumed that the rent was being paid for by normal commercial activities. I would also assume that if you ''collaborated'' in crime that the local authority would also collaborate by collecting business rates .

Regards talking to an estate agent about you paying to much for the property or charging an inflated rent. If you bought a property in 2008 just before the recession would the agent say then that you paid to much? Rents are all to subjective. I know 2 houses side by side with a differential of 100 pounds per month rent. One is occupied by a single person. One has 3 people sharing the rent. Rent is often how much someone will pay. Estate agents only vale rents and property values by looking at similar properties in the area.

To put my 2 pennyworth into your equation. Go back to Customs and Excise and talk to them and do what they say. If you are indeed innocent its better for you to put your cards on the table and use their muscle rather than sit quietly listening to conflicting advice from people who guess values.

Remember if it all goes tits up the C.E. could seize your building and you could lose the lot if they could prove that you knew of the criminal activity and profited by it.
(Which technically you are now doing by not acting on their advice)

Im not legally trained but the C.E. have a lot of clout and I would rather have them on your side standing in court giving reasons why you evicted rather than a lawyer charging huge amounts trying to defend you for unlawful eviction.

Maybe others can advise better.

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David 30th January, 2017 @ 10:36

I think you need something in writing from the trading standards asking you to evict, just so you have a paper trail.

Your tenancy agreement should have all sorts of clauses that can be used (not carrying on a business).

You cannot be accused of being a party to a crime you are not aware of, suggestions are one thing, has he been convicted?

I very much doubt that a criminal is going to take you to Court but he may want outstanding rent back.

I would also suggest you work with the Police, find out his routine, when is property left empty, then let them in to confiscate cigs and change the locks. Call the tenant and tell him cops raided it and have secured the premises for evidence reasons and have asked you if you know of his whereabouts. Hopefully he will do a runner.

Speak to a solicitor.

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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 20:19

Thank you, David for your advice. Very helpful indeed.

1. Trading standards have been e-mailing me for a long time, asking me to evict. I guess that counts as "something in writing".

2. Over the last two years there have been three raids where small amounts of cigarettes and tobacco have been found (on one occasion they seized 160 cigs - that's 8 packets. On another occasion they seized 10 pouches of counterfeit Virginia and 10 pouches of counterfeit Amber. These are very small amounts in my view. They also made a test purchase from the tenant of one packet of counterfeits. No prosecutions.

3. The trading standards officer has promised that he will be present when the locks are changed, with the police. I am living overseas, so I would prefer to send in a professional bailiff, who hopefully would be able to pick/break the lock and replace it with another one. I could certainly phone the tenant immediately when the locks are changed. However the trading standards officer seems to assume that I'll send a notice first (probably referring to a section 146 notice).

4. "A criminal won't take me to court". Similarly to what you say, the trading standards officer also wrote that it's never happened (to him) that a cigarette-trading tenant took his landlord to court for evicting him illegally.

Nevertheless it does make me nervous, being vulnerable to a legal attack by my tenant after I evict him. Breaking into a property - even my own - exposes me to prosecution under criminal law. No lawyer has told me to do it, for two reasons: Firstly I've been accepting rent knowing about the seizures. And secondly there is the extra complication here that it's a mixed property, half commercial and half residential. In residential property it is always forbidden to change the locks, without first getting permission from a judge. And mixed property is apparently regarded as residential. Only in pure commercial is it correct to serve a section 146 notice and then storm in early on a morning. But if the trading standards officer is prepared to support the procedure, maybe what the hell I should take a deep breath and go ahead.

Thank you for your advice.


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Michael 30th January, 2017 @ 20:19


Your comments have been very very helpful. Many thanks.
Your comment about rent coming from the profits of the shop rather the illegal sales of cigarettes is helpful. I have also considered this point.

The trading standards office is apparently not the same body as the Custom and Excise, but is a department of the County Council. However I take your point that having them at my side in court would be more effective than an expensive lawyer.

If they can't find enough tobacco and cigarettes to convict the tenant, and they may never find enough, it is possible that they wouldn't ever prosecute me.
Nevertheless I do want to get this tenant off my back.
Once again thank you.

Best regards,

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David 30th January, 2017 @ 20:55

That is tricky, you did not say that there were two leases (some shops have upstairs rooms for stock, even if used for residential.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy with a 5 year term and no break clauses your only hope is a breach of one of the terms that specifies a termination of the lease. Most come with a clause to prevent criminal activity, usually running a brothel but they are generic.

The difficulty is that if he is living there as a tenant you need to have a section 21 and to have protected his deposit, or you will face action.

For the shop you have the same issue, you need to find a term in the lease that is being breached and that allows for termination.

If he is paying rent there is nothing that says the rent comes from the illegal biz, the quantity seems to reflect personal use and he may be open to selling the odd pack if asked. I was in a corner shop the other day and an Eastern European was offering the shopkeeper cheap cigs, he saw I heard and told him to come back later if he could go below a certain price.

So one thing you might try is to call Customs and Excise, give them the bank account details of the account that is paying you. See if they have any interest in getting bank statements or better still freezing the accounts (they have more powers than anyone). Now if they freeze the accounts and he stops paying rent you have grounds for eviction. Of course he may have other accounts but otherwise you need evidence of a criminal act that is large enough to account for the rent.

It is their job to enforce laws, not yours. By all means cooperate but you are bound by contracts and must operate within the law.

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Michael 1st February, 2017 @ 11:30

Hello David,

Many thanks for taking an interest in my case. You have been very helpful indeed.

Regarding the mixed commercial/residential nature of my property: There is one commercial lease only for the whole building, and not two leases, one commercial and one residential. Is that significant?

Looking at some internet articles today I found that the landmark ruling for regarding peacable re-entry (entry into the property following delivery of a section 146 notice) into a mixed use property was the Patel v Pirabakaran case of 2006. (It is interesting that the 1977 Protection from Eviction Act which outlawed peacable re-entry for residential landlords remained unresolved on this point for nearly 30 years!) In this textbook case the tenant was occupying the shop and living in the upstairs flat, and the judge ruled that peacable re-entry without going through the courts was forbidden, In my case the upper (residential) floors have not been occupied by the tenant, and do not seem to have been in use by him at all. He has another address where he and his family live. It seems that as a result that ruling does not apply to me.

Customs and Excise: The body which is investigating here is the Trading Standards Division at the County Council, and not the CE.
My quarterly payment is a cash payment into my bank account. My tenant always pays on time.

"A term in the lease that is being breached": Section 5-10-1 of my lease: Not to use any part of the demised premises for...any illegal act or purpose.

On 5th September 2016 a test purchase was made by a team from the Trading Standards Division, and my tenant sold them one pack of cigarettes. they found no other packs on the premises. Seizures over the last 2 and a half years found small quantities of counterfeit cigarettes: 160 cigs (8 packets) on one raid. 20 personal sized pouches of counterfeit tobacco on another raid.

"The quantity seems to reflect personal use and he may be open to selling the odd pack if asked." You expressed that in a way that I've been trying to unsuccessfully for the last few weeks! I could certainly argue that at least if Trading Standards were to prosecute me for receiving the Proceeds of Crime.

What is becoming increasingly clear to me is yes I do have the legal power to deliver a section 146 (of the 1925 Law of Property Act) notice to my tenant and then make peacable re-entry. What do you think?

I have even thought this week that I might simply offer the tenant 1000 quid to go. He would have to leave and also to sign a statement that he agrees to terminate the lease. Then I'd pay him.

However it feels like getting ready to jump into a cold swimming pool. The property is in an area where there are a high percentage of vacant shops One in 10 perhaps. And the estate agent said, "Prepare yourself for a six month to a year wait for a new tenant, who would in all likelihood pay a half of what your current tenant is paying,. You'll be paying building insurance. And then rates after 3 months. And your building insurance will go up while the property is empty." Scary!

If you have any more comments/ideas I'd be very happy to hear from you.

Best regards,


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Duped 11th March, 2017 @ 19:39

Can somebody give some advice please, my flat which is about to be sold and has been empty for a couple of months has intruders in it, a Rumanian family has moved in alleging that they paid a gypsy 1,500 pounds but they have no contract and don't even know the name of the landlord! The police have been round but did not remove them and said the owner has to get a court order. I am disgusted as I thought the new law made this kind of thing a criminal offenceS144 of the 2012 Act, now I dont have the time or money to pursue a court process, any advice would be most welcome!Can I enter the flat and change the locks or something since I am the owner and they are not my tenants!

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Nige 11th March, 2017 @ 20:22

Take other advice but my advice is to wait until they all go out and change the locks. They are squatting and as you say they have no documentation as to a lease/tenancy and no proof that they paid money.
One problem is who actually gained the initial entry..the gypsy or the squatter.

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David 12th March, 2017 @ 18:52

I can see why it would be tempting to wait till you think they have all gone out, but they are wise to this and always leave people in there.

They usually massively over occupy. You will be committing a crime if you physically evict people without a court order. Also there is nothing stopping them breaking back in so you have to put security into the building.

Do you have a a valid tenancy agreement with anybody?

If yes and that person has sublet you need to go through the usual S8 process. You can then escalate the CCJ to the high court and as long as you are only going for possession (not for rent or damages) it is relatively easy ( I am sure you have see it on "Can't pay" on C5 or myC5 catch up).

If NOT (as it sounds) and if it is a residential property (not an commercial premises) then legally they are squatting.

Even if they "invent" a Gypsy, if that Gypsy never had a legally binding tenancy agreement they are squatting.

You need to serve them with an Interim Possession Order (IPO) within 28 days of becoming aware of the squatters.

Having served them with an IPO it switches around and it is the squatters who can be sent to prison if they don’t leave within 24 hours, they must also stay away for 12 months, so if they break back in they face jail.

There are links to the forms here

The IPO claim is £355 (do not use PCOL it is for rent arrears or damages)

It is advisable to go early in the morning at 6am, you need "feet on the ground", so have a locksmith meet you and tell the local Police station that you will be evicting 24 hours after the IPO has been served.

They will block doors front and back to try to prevent you serving.

If you were evicting a family who did not leave after a CCJ the Judge may not agree escalation if they are vulnerable, but considering who is in there I would suggest you use HCEO's because of the number

Details here:

If you have sold the property with vacant possession and the buyer does not get it they may come after you for their costs.

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Kevin 17th April, 2017 @ 08:50

Accelerated Eviction & the UK Law is a JOKE
It is about time the Laws in this country protected honest tax paying people instead of free loading Non rent paying tenants.

Well here is my tale of wow:

1. I issued a section 21 on my Tenants in November after 12 months of iregular rent payment.

2. No surprise they wouldn’t leave or pay any more rent, so I approached the court and issued an Accelerated Eviction, for those whom may not know this can only be issued if you don’t intend to claim for any outstanding rent at this point!.

3. The court allows the tenants a further 2 weeks of free rent to respond, then they issue an eviction date.

4. Yet again this is ignored at the advise of our local council housing department, stating the tenants have a legal right to live in there home.

5. My next line of action was to get a judge to allow me to appoint a private bailiff but NO after seeking more legal advice I am told that this avenue has been more difficult following some recent ongoing cases and that I am best to go through the Courts Bailiff. Due to their workload this could be June.

So 7 Months with little or NO rent. All through the process I have been forced to seek legal advice which could be costly, paid the courts £476 to serve pointless paperwork and my lovely tenants have everything laid out free of charge. I feel stuck between the Court and the Council whilst the Tenants must be laughing all the way to the bank.

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Nige 17th April, 2017 @ 09:24


Yes a common tale I'm afraid.

Ive always used the court bailiff as it follows the process and I think you will find that the bailiff is a private bailiff sub contracted to the court.

Ignore the council. That matter is between the tenant and the council and you are not involved. What you might find is pressure from a community lawyer hanging around giving tenants free advice.

I have heard instances in our town of landlords being phoned up by the council offering to pay all arrears if you let the tenant stay. Nice to know where my council tax goes.

One consolation here is that our council has rules that a tenant may not go on the housing waiting list if there is damage or arrears. Thats why it is important to have all adults in the property as parties to the tenancy. Ive had couples living together (different surnames) who apply in the second surname which of course is not listed on court docs.

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David 17th April, 2017 @ 19:07


This sounds as if they have some vulnerability, could be mental health or disability.

You really should have issued the S21 two months before the end of the tenancy, lesson learnt!

One word of advice to anyone where the tenant stops paying the rent after S21 issues, write them a letter

Dear Tenant

Re: 17 Acacia Avenue

I am writing regarding your non payment of rent for the above property.

Unless this account is brought up to date with immediate effect I will be seeking a lien on your housing benefit via the Local Council

I would also like to inform you that once I do this you will NOT be eligible to join the waiting list for social housing nor for temporary housing UNTIL you have paid me the arrears. Under the Council's housing rules you will have made yourselves homeless by not maintaining rent payments.

Meanwhile I will of course be taking legal action against you and seeking my costs, once I get a CCJ it will affect your credit record and I will pay to have it taken to the High Court.

I really want to avoid all that and so I am giving you 7 days to pay the outstanding balance or contact me with your firm proposals.

Yours sincerely

K Landlord


As soon as 6 weeks had passed you were entitled to ask for their housing benefit to be paid direct to you.

Now just because you can't claim the money as the same time as the eviction it does not mean you can't go after them later.

There IS a new regulation coming that will stop local Councils telling tenants to stay put till evicted.

Normally you just want the judgement to evict then you accelerate it to the High Court Enforcement (Sheriffs Office et al)

These tenants are stupid because they can run but not hide, as soon as they use any credit the databases will alert the Credit Reference Database. You can get alerts for that by putting their debt with debt collectors, the tenant will end up paying for the HCEO's costs and Court costs.

I understand that you are very frustrated, you are effectively acting as their bank, but if they are on Housing Benefit you can at least mitigate your losses.

Usually a Judge is forced to give you Judgement if the paperwork is valid, it is just when the Tenant is considered vulnerable (e.g. disabled child) that they have to order social reports etc.

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Lis 16th June, 2017 @ 19:15

Hi, after some guidance/ advice please.

Tenant has tenancy until Oct 17 however we have mutually agreed to end this early as I can't commit to extending tenancy (tenant is about to start family and wanted security of a home).

Tenant hasn't been great at paying rent with me having to continually chase. Currently own me June rent. They have 'promised' to pay towards end of this month.

Issue I have is that neighbour has told me tenant has moved out and is no longer staying at property. However tenant had told me they plan to exit next month but not given me a definitive date. Neighbour has since told me that back door is wide open and tenant has not been back to property since Tuesday. Also been told back garden is a total mess with rubbish everywhere so God knows what the house looks like!! Makes me feel sick thinking what is going on.
I am concerned as house is open for anyone to rob or squat in.

What do I do?

Don't want to cause trouble for neighbour.

Is this classed as an emergency therefore allowing me to enter with my own keys.

Or should I do something else?

I don't believe I will get my rent as I don't understand why someone would move out but continue to keep property. Tenant has called for about 5 mins once a day but nothing since Tuesday.

Should i contact tenant to say I plan to attend property to check what mataince is needed ahead of them moving out and give 48hrs notice??

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David 16th June, 2017 @ 20:13


First thing you need to do is secure your property, film it as you approach from back showing door open.

As door is open check to see if they have left any possessions.

I would just lock the back door and make sure property is secure and check for damage or signs of squatters/Homeless. Make sure all windows are locked. Then visit daily, on basis that you wanted to do an inventory/maintenance inspection but they have not been there.

You are OK to change the locks as long as you let them know and offer to give them new ones for remainder of their tenancy.

I hope your deposit was protected, clearly your tenant thinks you are a bank, so maybe looking for a payout. You will of course be able to ask DPS/TDS/MyDeposits for the deposit as it was held for performance of the contract and June rent not paid.

I would try to engage tenant, ask when they will be able to pay rent and say you need it by 21st if they want a reference.

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Lis 11th August, 2017 @ 15:23

Hi David thanks so much for your advice last time how rude of me not to say thanks - sorry about that. I'm looking for a bit more today!

Tenant handed over keys to a neighbour last night saying they where due to meet me today to hand back the keys but couldn't so asked them to pass to me (they  did not arrange this with me and had suggested they would be leaving next week). Anyway I have been told that handing over keys is a surrender of the property so I have been today to change locks and inspect. May be a bit premature but i wanted to get control of the Property.

Property is fine all be it messy and needs a good clean.

The question I have is there are items belonging to them  am i ok to give tenant 48hrs to arrange for items to be collected  or otherwise dispose of them?

Want to get rid asap. Planing to send below to them to bring everything to a close. If get the outstanding rent owed great but certainly not holding my breath

I understand u handed over keys to no ## last night confirming you had vacated #### road. To finalise everything see below and respond asap - by latest 14.08.17; 
1) Forwarding address for post addressed to you
2) Items that have been left -  arrange for items to be collected in next 48hrs (suggest a time and date) otherwise all items will be disposed of
3) Final meter readings have been taken  - Gas 6996  Electric 37105
4) Payment of outstanding rent. This equals £#### for # months


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David 11th August, 2017 @ 19:40


No worries, happy to help.

I think you need to approach this is a slightly different way.

First of all abandonment cannot be assumed, even if they left the keys, the leaving of possessions is regarded as an indication of their intention to return. Changing the locks may not yet be a good idea.

The Protection from eviction act 1977 makes it is an offence to unlawfully deprive or attempt to deprive a tenant from the premises or any part thereof. The onus would then be on you to PROVE prove that good cause to believe the tenant had ceased to live in the premises. So you will need to write up a witness statement and get the neighbour to sign it NOW, it should be explicit about what the tenant said and not be at all ambiguous that it was her intention to surrender the property. If she decides to fight you later it will still be for a Court to decide and probably by a Jury in Crown Court!!

ALSO you can't just bin her stuff and there may be a dispute over the condition and value of what she left behind. If not handled right it could cost you thousands!

First of all open the following page in a new tab to find out your obligations regarding what was left behind.

Video the possessions as they were left so that you have evidence in case things turn bad.

Make an inventory and move them all to one room so you can decorate/clean the remainder of the property. You could rent a garage from your local Housing Association or Council if you think you can rent it quickly, it would be a way to mitigate your loss as a garage is only going to cost you £50 a month or so.

Giving the keys back does not end the contract unless specified in the contract, this gives you some leverage in getting the property back earning again. You would not get away with charging her rent for the remainder of the contract as you have to mitigate loss, but if she has so many possessions that you can't rent then it can make her position worse. You have a duty of care for her possession (read above link) so you need to just make sure you cross the t's and dot the i's.

This tenant is not going to want to have anything to do with you because they owe you money, so you need to find a way to put them at ease.

I would write her something like this:


Dear Tenantina

I am sorry that you have seen fit to abandon, surrender and vacate the property at 24 Low Road by giving the keys to the neighbour at number 22 Low Road without any prior agreement to do so.

For your information meter readings have been taken, they are as follows

Gas 6996
Electric 37105
Water 01234

I am very concerned about the state you left the property in and that you have left some of your possessions. Although I accept that you have abandoned, surrendered and vacated the property, because you have left possessions it can be interpreted as you intending to return until October 2017.

So legally, I need you to tell me in writing that you wish to terminate the tenancy and confirm that you have vacated, abandoned and surrendered the property. Until I receive this the tenancy remains in force.

Unfortunately, I cannot just dispose of your possessions as the law dictates I follow a specific procedure. This procedure will delay my ability to re-rent the property and thus increase your legal debt to me.

I understand that you might find matters over facing, but I can assure you I would much rather reach an amicable agreement with you than take you to Court to obtain a CCJ which would seriously damage your credit record and may lead to debt collectors chasing you for the debt after they have increased it to pay for their collection.

I am prepared to enter into an arrangement for the debt which currently totals £#### for unpaid rent for June, July and August, but will continue to accrue until the property has been formerly vacated and let as your contract which runs till October, thus it is still in force until we both agree to terminate it, in accordance with the terms of the tenancy.

Of course I imagine you want this done as soon as possible and I can assure you that I will do all I can to mitigate your loss, but you need to help me to help you.

I have had to photograph your possessions and take an inventory, now I need you to collect them as soon as possible in order that I may redecorate and rent the property. I would like you to get this done in the next 7 days, otherwise I will be forced to pay a specialist company to inventory and remove them, then put them into storage AT YOUR COST, this will be added to the debt if it happens, but you can help avoid that.

Once I have the written confirmation above, I am prepared to terminate the tenancy as soon as these items are completely removed IF you collect them in the next 7 days; otherwise it will run until the next tenant takes occupancy in accordance with Office of Fair Trading Fair Guidance on such matters.

I would like us to meet at the property and enter into an agreement to pay the arrears at a reasonable and affordable rate. If you can collect your possessions in the next 48 hours I am prepared to NOT charge you interest on the arrears as long as the payment schedule we agree to is maintained continuously until the debt is cleared.

I will be needing a forwarding address for post addressed to you, if you wish I will agree to not passing this on to any 3rd parties. The agreement proposed above is conditional on this address being provided.

I think you will agree that I am being very reasonable and trying to reach an amicable solution. The alternative if we are not able to reach settlement is that I simply put this in the hands of Debt Collectors and Tracing agents, the latter has to be done because you left possessions and again it is at your cost.

My Solicitors will then issue legal proceedings and you will end up with a County Court Judgement, it will of course include the above, my legal and court fees as you will not have agreed an offer of settlement; if there is further delay I will need to instruct my Solicitor to make an alternative (Part 36) offer which will not be as generous and his involvement will increase your costs.

As I said, I understand that you will be finding this over facing, but I urge you to let me help you reduce your debt by working with me to minimise costs.

Please call me as soon as you read this so that we may arrange for you to collect your possessions, we can also discuss what amount you feel you can afford. I will then draw up a repayment agreement and schedule.

If you wish to discuss the fairness of my offer please seek professional advice.

If you are worried about debt the following organisations may be able to offer free advice: or call 0800 138 1111 or call 0800 043 40 50 or call 0808 808 4000

Yours sincerely

Lis Landlord


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Lis 11th August, 2017 @ 21:19

David once again fantastic advice and guidance!

The plot thickens!

Interestingly tenant has just txt me to confirm they have moved out of property and have passed keys to neighbour. They want to meet at the property. Unsure at this stage as to why I think it may be to either give me some of the monies owed or / and discuss rent arrears payment as their txt suggested a payment at end of month there after a weekly amount!! No mention of their belongings or state of the property but they have stated a new address will be provided....

I will establish the purpose of meeting for clarity however to make sure everything is above board should I get sign something to confirm surrender of property and also if they are proposing a payment plan how should I formalise that?

Thanks in advance

First time landlord can you tell

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David 11th August, 2017 @ 21:42

My advice stands, adapt it to the proposed meeting.

I am guessing you already sent what you were considering.

She could go to the property, find locks changed, have the Police break back in and have you arrested.

It may be unlikely, but I am just concerned you are walking in blind.

It would be very easy to paint a picture of duress.

Understand, you have issued no S21, she is out and the locks have been changed!

The agreement is still in force until formerly agreed by both parties in writing recommended as anything else hard to prove.

She probably wants to discuss the deposit, in her mind she will not consider the arrears, just the state of the property.

For your financial agreement, keep it simple, even if you are getting £50 a month it is at least having the debt serviced. You want

What is agreed
Consequences for non payment.

You need to set her mind where yours is, so amend my letter, meanwhile send her a letter and ask her from her point of view what does she want to discuss.

Then come back with modified version of letter above.

It is important that you follow the law and procedures, she can't absolve you of legal obligations.

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Leliah Hedges 14th August, 2017 @ 17:25

I am living in a home i own i had rented out a room to my father. He had not paid for a months worth of rent and half of the lg&e and water. I had told him he had 30 days but he would not leave. I went to court and filed an eviction 4 days before the court date he had moved out and took most of his property. I had changed the front lock sunday and still let him in to get his property. We went to court today and the case was dismissed. He is now demanding a key to the lock or else he will take me to court for landlord harassment and file for loss wages, inconvenience and loss if property. But he had set up a time to get the rest of his stuff tonight. What do i do? Am i in trouble? I need some advice

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David 15th August, 2017 @ 22:30

@Leliah Hedges

You did not say why the case was dismissed or what other order they made (e.g. to let him back in)?

Was it because he had gone already?

Really for a lodger or family member most obvious issue is giving reasonable notice.

You do NOT have to give him a key

You do NOT have to let him in to get his property if you do not feel safe. If at any time he forces his way in call the Police, explain the violence.

You have to take care of his property, you can give him an inventory

landlord harassment - You are not his landlord, there is no contract or obligation.

file for loss wages - You have no obligation

inconvenience - Under what law would that be?

loss of property, what his possessions or for being evicted?

Based on the little you say I would put his possessions in bags outside the door.

I can't imagine how hard this must be for you.

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Caroline 19th October, 2017 @ 20:56

Hi advise needed please I rented my house out to a family in 2015 and for 12 months all was well then the trouble started. The tenant stops playing rent making excuses up that there is damp will not allow me in to inspect changes the locks letters are sent and a section 21 issued 7 mo this pass and no rent paid section 21 ends out of the blue communication is made by tenant he says his wife has left him he has no job or money admits he lied about damp and then deliberately removed a roof tile to allow water to get in promised to move out this goes on for weeks myself and hubygo to the house to check it out find it all locked up curtains shut no signs of life post piled up behind door and can hear running water !!! Call police advise us to get in as water running and can see electricity is on get a locksmith to open the door and the mess that hits us is beyond belief as well as the damage live wires hanging from roof with water coming in !! Contact tenant and tell him we have gone in to sort the water and ask him when did you move out ? What are your intentions etc now tenant is saying we have illegal eviction? Err no he has not asked once for the key we just entered to make the house safe he refuses to move goods and belongings out spoke to his ex she has agreed to surrender her part in the tenancy but he won’t even though he has not lived at the house in months has wrecked it and owes over 4000 in rent ???? What do I do now he has no money so how can he take me to court for illegal eviction and I haven’t evicted him anyway ??? Solicitor now says I have to get a possession order but why he has gone he just needs to remove his things ?? I’m so upset with it all he owes me so much money has wrecked the house has moved out and still they tell me I have to pay 355 court costs now and he could sue me any help appreciated iv had so much advice from different solicitors I don’t no who to go with

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David 20th October, 2017 @ 09:30


The first thing you need to do is get a statement from the Police that they were called to attend the address by you and found the property abandoned and unsafe, try to find the names of the officers who actually attended, prepare a Statement of Truth saying that they entered property and saw post piled up.

If the Police will not cooperate put in a subject access request for you, your address and the date in question.

You should have made a video of what you saw and not cleaned up at all. If you have not done that do it now.

Legally, you are at risk of him taking legal action, if he is on benefits and has no money in his bank, then he can file a claim for unlawful eviction against you without it costing him the Court fee. You have to weigh up the chances of him actually doing this 50/50 then multiply the chances of him winning 50/50 (adjust to what to think) and divide by you appetite for risk.

A lot of people say things because it is easy to say, it is quite another thing to actually do it.

The best thing you can do in this situation is obtain leverage, then use that leverage to put your boot on his neck.

Hopefully you have not reached any agreement with the wife, she is your biggest leverage.

She and her partner are signatories to a legal agreement, that agreement continues to run until terminated by either party in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Until such time they are both jointly and severally liable for the performance of that contract.

Even as an separated partner his ex has power, she has his address and she will be able to write a Statement of Truth to support your position that he trashed and abandoned the property. If she declines you take the legal action against her.

You do not agree to let her off the hook, she may well have left the property but it does not get her off the hook. You have to sit down with her and say "Look I want to help you but I have to consider my legal position, your partner is threatening legal action which will cost me money to fight, so I have no choice but to let him back in and of course the rent obligation will continue and you will be jointly liable for the whole amount, it is called joint and several liability. I may be prepared to give you a break but to be honest my property has been trashed and you may be my only chance if getting financial recourse. So what can you do for me? Will you write a statement of truth confirming that your husband abandoned the property and what his new address is? Can you persuade your husband to write a statement confirming he abandoned the property at the end of last month and expressing his wish to terminate the agreement? If you can't then the agreement continues." Before you go you then say "BTW here is the new key, we had to change the locks".

Record the conversation as a memory aide for what is said by her. Do NOT do this over the phone. Meet her to say you need her to sign some documents to formerly end the tenancy (even though by themselves such documents would be useless).

This may be bluff but it may actually be the only way you get your money back.

You have to play hard ball, at this stage your leverage with the Ex is as follows:

1. You give her a break on rent from now till legal possession.
2. You give her a break on rent from the day she left
3. You give her a break on the damages caused to your property.

There is absolutely no reason to make such a concession without something substantial being given back.

The same applies to him, you are able to go after him for each of the above. You may think you can't get the money but there are ways.

I know your immediate instinct will be to clean up and repair the property but you need to get a quote from 3 builders for all the work. This is critical.

Now to your legal options, A section 21 is a no fault eviction, it can be dismissed if you did not protect his deposit in an approved scheme and it remains unprotected at the time of starting proceedings. It can be dismissed if your tenancy started after Oct 2015 and you failed to carry out repairs that were reported to the local authority (they would have contacted you so you will know). Also for tenancy after Oct 2015 you were required to have an EPC provided at beginning of tenancy and have uptodate gas safety checks. I suspect he did not let your Gas engineer into the property but that does not matter, no certificate is no certificate.

For the reasons stated above I think you would be far better off going with S8, you will also benefit from a CCJ for the arrears and you can bring claim for breach of contract with damages. Both of these filings need to be against BOTH he and his parter, that way you get judgement against both parties. If she works you will be able to get some of her income, if and when he works you will get some of his, if he or she owns a car worth over £1500 (not on finance) you will get that sold at auction, same for her.

I know you will be thinking "I just want my property back and to get a new tenant in" but there are two reasons you must proceed as suggested, one, to protect your legal position, two to prevent him doing this to someone else.

You need to put a call into the Council, speak to the Housing department and say you want to establish whether one of their claimants is committing fraud. They will be limited by data protection to discuss much but you can give the name and your address and ask if they have a claim and if they do can they please pay the rent direct to you as you have not received rent since X date. If they confirm there is a current claim then you at least have an income stream and you should provide the tenant with a key.

Now I know you might think he has abandoned the property but with alcoholics and drug addicts it is quite normal for a property to be left in that sort of state. I was working on a case only a few weeks ago, whole walls smashed down, bed in pieces, tenant was drunk, sleeping or getting drunk 24/7. He did not wash, did not clean, did not do anything other than go begging for money for his drink.

If they say they have no claim for him at that address then you can ask them to confirm whether they ever did and if so when did he move. You then ask them to confirm that in writing, they will be reticent but you say "I am not asking you to breach anything, merely confirm that based on your system he left the property on X date and is now living somewhere else".

BTW the Council will want to come after you for Council Tax, we can come to that in due course.

Now the next thing you want to do with the Council is to formerly advise them of rent arrears, this prevents him getting access to social housing, you can use this as a negotiation option if you have contact with the tenant, i.e. you will not inform Council of arrears if he agrees to write statement of truth confirming he abandoned the property and formerly requests to end the tenancy on October 20th 2017.

You have huge grounds under Section 8 for eviction under Grounds 8,10,11,12,13,17.

You will be seeking a CCJ for the outstanding rent to the day of the Court grants eviction (14 to 42 days from hearing) plus interest calculated on a daily basis plus legal fees and a separate claim for damages for the property in breach of contract.

S21 may seem simpler but it is too easy to dismiss, S8 is solid, you end up with CCJ's that you can enforce, for the possession you can escalate the eviction to the high court and gain possession quickly. You have to go after the CCJ for monies owing separately but you have 6 years to do that.

One you have your property back you go after them for the money, he may be a drop out but she may be working and will have to show she can't afford to pay, it will be very intrusive.

What you often find in these cases is that she will put pressure on him in a way no bailiff or Court can, she may know that he owns a property, that he has a sick parent who will leave him something. (you can put a caution at the Land Registry on any property he owns).

I know that this all seems like a lot of grief but the reality is you are going to be facing these legal fees anyway, you might as well go after what is owed.

Create a project plan of things to do based on above along with dependencies, do not give any breaks without something substantial in return, especially to the ex, she may be your only way to get some repayment. She may be as bad as him and she will tell lies so do not believe anything without evidence. She may put on some sob story, say he abused her and it may even be true but it does not change her legal obligations to the contract she and ex signed.

BTW regarding his stuff, you have to give him opportunity to collect it and keep it safe, best way is to video the possessions and then put them in a garage (local housing associations usually rent them out for a decent rate but make sure you get a dry one).

I know a lot of this may not be what you want to hear but it is the law and he will exploit it against you. Better to be on the offensive or you can look guilty, a Court will consider why you did not bring action.

Good Luck and feel free to post back for clarification.

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Anita 12th December, 2017 @ 14:35

I'm a landlord. I hope my tenant burns in hell. I hope her whole family burn in hell. I hope they all die a horrible death. I hope they will never have their own home and they will rot on the street. Here is what happened. I was looking for someone to rent short term in a house I bought a few months ago, while my current house was on the market for sale. Initially the tenant says she was only staying for short term. She lied about her references, her job, her income, everything. One month after she moves in, she stopped paying rent, told me shameless lies and has no intention of leaving, said she will not leave until a bailiff turns up. She cuts off all communications. When I went to the house, my own house, to talk to her, she called the police, says I harassed her. I was arrested by the police. The normal court procedure will take months and months. Because the tenant said she is only staying for short term and I should use her deposit as advance rent, I did not protect her deposit. The solicitors told me that because of this, it will almost be impossible to get her out on Section 21. At the same time, my current house has gone under offer. I'm paying mortgage on the house I rented out and not getting any rent, and I will have to go into rental myself or become homeless with my children. My whole life is wrecked. I cry and cry everyday. I'm now at risk of losing my job because I'm so distressed. I have not been able to look after my children properly. My family, my children don't deserve to suffer like this, while my tenant sits in my house laughing.

How can the law of this country be so biased against landlords? I work and make an honest living. I pay for childcare so that I work 8 to 6. I pay mortgage on the house. Why does the court process have to be so slow? How can the tenant continue to live in the house rent free for months and months when they have not paid a cent? Can someone help me please? Can I just ask someone, anyone to move in and squat in the house? I would rather give the house to squatters than my tenant who should be burning in hell. I'm dying of heartbreak and depression. Please, can someone help me, PLEASE?

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Nige 12th December, 2017 @ 15:58

Sadly you learned the hard way that its references,references,references. 100% pass even though your property would remain empty and is now subject to DOUBLE council tax. Many on here have similar sorry tales to tell because of situations like yours.
You made the mistakes of trusting the smiley face of the tenant and thinking that the law would protect you.
Then you made the mistake of thinking your tenant was honest and would negotiate. HA F'IN HA. They know their rights from back to front and sideways.
What do you do now. KEEP AWAY. As you found out the hard way you are the criminal now and the smiley tenant is goody goody.
When you eventually get the property back add up what it has cost you (all your losses) . Then INVEST a few quid in starting a small claims court action for unpaid rent. The reason for your troubles is that most landlords are happy just to get the property back. They don't take action and so these wankers don't show up on credit checks and the next landlord gets hit.
I gather that you are a landlord of only one property and have virtually no experience of rules, regs and crap associated with letting and housing and thus you are paying for it.
And the bad news is as you have not protected the deposit
as is required by law then you might get hit with a 'gift' ordered by a judge of up to 3 times the deposit. Whoopeee do. And if the heating packs up you are required to fix it.
Its a great world isn't it.

Pity you didn't know about this before the police were called or you could have thumped yourself in the face and accused them of doing it .

And just for info I once had 13 properties on rent. Now I have 1 . I don't care where the rest went but I am 100% sure that someone is having the same problems with them that I did.

So. You are going to have to pace this out and bite the bullet.
You ave learned a valuable lesson. NEVER TRUST A SMILEY FACE REGARDLESS OF THE STORY OF DESPERATION. People are only to glad to take but never pay back. (learned the hard way myself)

As a side issue and this may help your mind. If the tenant is in receipt of housing benefit (or you suspect) call the council benefit office as you are often entitled to have benefit paid directly to you after 8 weeks arrears. Talk to the council housing office as well and most councils deem a tenant to have made themselves intentionally homeless by getting into arrears and do not have to rehouse except in crap houses or B and B . Do this before Xmas and your tenant might find themselves having the benefit stopped so they haven't got the money before xmas for all the luxuries denied to you.

Lastly have you proof the tenant conned the tenancy out of you. ie lied. If so keep all documents safe.

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Anita 12th December, 2017 @ 23:53

Nige: Thank you for the reply. Harsh words, brutal reality, but I appreciate the honesty and the advice. Yes, I only have one property, and it is supposed to be my home. I only wanted to rent it out for three months while my current house is being sold. I will talk to the Council about their housing benefits claim, but I don't think she claims housing benefits on my house; she might have claimed using another address she lived at previously, I don't know.

With regard to her lies to secure the tenancy, I suspect that her references which I received by email, were written by herself (by the style of writing and lack of actual contact with the people who provided the references), but I can't prove it. Even if I manage to trace her previous landlord and get him to confirm he did not provide the reference, it is not a sufficient ground to remove her from the house, and the court process will still be lengthy, right?

I know that I will never have pity or charity for anyone for the rest of my life. I wish I could march up to the house and smash her face in. I wish she would burn in hell. I will make sure she is marked. However, none of these can repay my losses - financial, emotional and mental, the horror of being arrested by police when I simply wanted to ask her why did she do this to me. If any of you who are reading this have any advice, can you share here or get in touch with me? You can laugh at my stupidity, but please help me. - From a desperate landlord.

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David 12th December, 2017 @ 23:54


I have a great deal of sympathy for you but for the sake of your kids you need to step back from this and learn from it, trust me it could be a lot lot worse.

Not giving you a lecture but maybe helping others let's consider what went wrong.

1. You let your property without properly examining your legal obligations as a Landlord.

2. The period was supposed to be short term so instead of giving her an Assured Shorthold Tenancy you should have given her a holiday let. Deposit and Eviction to not apply.

3. You failed to verify ALL of her references and you probably did not have several interested tenants.

4. You tried to take control of matters by going there and of course were arrested, this is because you let the property and she is now entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property.

5.You failed to protect the deposit so you may be liable to pay a sanction of between 1x and 3x the deposit. I can help you minimise that if it ever goes to Court but I will first try to help you out of this mess and avoid Court.

6. Did you even check her ID and confirm she has a right to live here, that is now a legal obligation.

This is your house but when you rent a house it becomes someone's home, now in this case you have rented to a nasty little bytche but the law is designed to protect the decent tenant.

For most tenants there is just six months of secure tenure, after 4 months they are entitled to 2 months notice, before you can serve that notice you need to get your ducks in a row. I can help you with that but I am guessing you did not give her an EPC, How to rent and may not have even got a Gas Safety Certificate. These and the deposit protection and the Prescribed information are all part of the prerequisites for an S21.

So before we go down that road we need to consider what will get you the best result in the shortest possible time.

To understand this you need to understand WHAT SHE WANTS, it could be any or a combination of the following.

1. Is looking for a roof over her head for the longest time?
2. Is she looking for Council Housing after being evicted?
3. Is she looking for a payday over the deposit.

As it stands you best case cash flow scenario is that you get the rent from the Council IF she is entitled to Housing Benefit, but if she is on Universal Credit, it will be paid direct to her.

Now IF her goal is to get housed by the Council you have some leverage because if when applying to them she got into arrears on her most recent property they will consider her as intentionally homeless.

Depending on what she wants there may be a way to get her to reach a settlement and mutually agree to end the tenancy agreement.

I would need to see the agreement but many have a clause that can terminate a tenancy if she has told lies about referencing.

However, if her goal is to get 6 to 8 months accommodation for one months rent and deposit then all you can do is get your ducks in a row as far as paperwork is concerned and then issue the S21 when you have completed that, of course she will not make it easy if that is her goal but there is more leverage.

If you are unable to get the Council to pay her rent direct then you can take her to Court with a Section 8 Eviction Notice for non payment of rent after 2 months of arrears. You may have to wait 6 weeks to get a Court date, but this can terminate the contract and Judge willing give her 2 weeks to leave, then County Court Bailiffs who take 4 to 6 weeks on average. All of these timescales depend on the area. The S8 will leave her with a CCJ which you can pursue her for.

So let's talk about leverage and settlement, park your anger and your despair, let's look at your potential costs.

6 months rental of a property with your kids @ £1000 a month maybe (depending whether you are north or south, do not give your location or anything that may personally identify you).

Court Fees and legal costs, on S8 they will be part of the CCJ but you will have to pay meanwhile. Budget £1000 to £2000 including bailiffs.

Sanctions, best case if she goes to Court is 1x deposit and Court fee but she may try to get it in a Counter claim which is cheaper, budget £1000

Then there is moving costs and maybe damage to your property, boiler could cost you £3k. If she trashes the property by letting homeless friends stay there you could be looking at thousands.

So one possible answer is to try and reach a settlement, to make it sweet enough that she reckons she is better off going by mutual agreement including a settlement over the sanctions over your deposit failure.

The leverage you have will depend on whether she ever plans to work and get credit again or whether she may be an alcoholic, drug addict or someone with mental health issues.

If she plans on getting credit one day you can inform her that not only will you get a CCJ but you will escalate the money element of the CCJ to the High Court and pursue her forever. The truly hardened criminal is not that scared but anyone who wants to lead a decent life get a car or credit will consider this.

You can also frustrate her, you can call one of the big six energy companies, inform them that you bought the house and ask them who energy is with currently as you have had no bills. They have access to a database that tells them who it is with, if it is dual fuel she may have split it.

If you get the company she is actually with they may tell you it is them. It is only at this point that you explain you are a Landlord and you would like to caution them that she is not paying rent and so you suggest they mitigate their loss by putting pre-payment meters in.

If you find out from her that she wants to be evicted by bailiffs to get social housing then can use that as leverage.

The trick is to offer her a settlement agreement, it should reflect your potential costs and at the same time say to her that you will not take legal action or muddy her chances with the Council nor will you go after her housing benefit.

I suggest you do this via a local Solicitor, you will have to pay the settlement to a Solicitor, they will pay her if she gives up the property by mutual agreement.

In the first instance you need to ask her what she wants, say you want to resolve things amicably and propose a settlement but you need to understand what she wants.

Because of your history you may be too close to this, you may need to use a mediator, some Councils have them, I know one or two.

If you need to send me anything private use the Landlord Forum link at the top of this page and once you have joined and clicked on email to activate your account you can use this link to send me a PM.

This site has all you need to understand your legal obligations, the eviction options, how to deal with deposit failures and how to propose a settlement.

Take a deep breath and accept that you have to make the best of a bad situation, it is going to cost you money one way or the other.

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David 12th December, 2017 @ 23:58


In your latest message you say short term was 3 months, the minimum term in UK for AST is 6 months.

If you did not give her a written agreement one is created by statute.

The best solution would have been a holiday let.

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Nige 13th December, 2017 @ 01:43

David has embellished my reply and his words heeded.
I'm afraid that you are not alone in this mess but as David says you now have to get the best case solution. Nobody is laughing at you here as most of us have had similar in one way or another.
But KEEP AWAY from the property at all costs . You are currently the victim and the very last thing you want is to give a tenant ammunition with your conduct if or when it reaches court.
Prepare for the worst. Anything else is a bonus.

Yes I'm afraid the words seem harsh but the law is stacked well and truly against you by virtue of your lack of legal knowledge on property. You won't be the last either. I regularly update a friend who is a manager in a letting agency with info that various bodies send me. She is often unaware that some matters have changed because nobody updates her. I took someone to court to evict...amicable end of tenancy..and the government...bless their little cotton socks in safe jobs and fat pensions..changed the forms overnight delaying matters by three months.
If you need to chat email (put ''LANDLORD QUESTION'' IN SUBJECT LINE) me at and I'll give you my phone no. if you need to chat. I'll even phone you back as I don't pay for calls.

In the meantime sort your own living arrangements out to stabilise things. One point you say is that your current house is up for sale. You can cancel the sale as long as it hasn't gone to exchange. On the positive side this time of year is not the best to sell and traditionally house prices are better in the spring so you might get a better price to offset this disaster. If you can abandon the sale do it. The council will not rehouse you as you intentionally made yourself homeless. Then you will be thrown to the private sector and probably end up with at least a six month let or even the worst scenario is the council will rehouse you in a B and B.
I know you work hard but have you discussed matters informally with a bank to arrange a line of credit to ease you over this period ? You don't particularly want to end up with CCJs against you because you cannot pay what a court orders when in fact you could clear those when your current house sells.
Is your new house...the one you let mortgaged ? Have you landlords insurance? Lots of questions I am afraid.

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Benji 13th December, 2017 @ 09:29


"In your latest message you say short term was 3 months, the minimum term in UK for AST is 6 months."

-It isn't, there is no minimum term for an AST.

"The best solution would have been a holiday let."

-It would have been a sham and Anita would be in the same position.

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David 13th December, 2017 @ 10:29


Sorry was late at night, I meant the minimum before an S21 can be used, but S8 is possible as I pointed out.

With regard to Holiday let, the point I was trying to make was that she dived into this without considering the legal position she was putting herself in.

She could have structured this a holiday let (probably would have screwed that up too) or a company let, hell, she could have moved her brother in and he could have had the girl as a lodger (with her authority).

She clearly only intended to let for a short period but rushed into it.

Hopefully other will learn from her experience.

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David Carter 13th December, 2017 @ 12:50

Hi can you advise please,

I had my parents renting a house from me and my wife and they were sole Joint tenants on the AST, both my parents passed away this year but they had my brother living with them as a lodger,he was never on the tenancy agreement which we agreed to in writing clearly stating he was not our tenant and had no rights of tenancy but was there as a lodger who we considered to be a "excluded occupier" and they were his landlords, he paid no rent, was told what room he could have and was given free meals and everything done for him by my parents, a freeloader in reality.
Now my parents have passed away and their ast is due to expire in 13 Jan 2018 can we just change the locks on my brother whilst he is out as we stipulated clearly in our letter that upon their death as its written in the agreement their tenancy ends one month after we are made aware which obviously we are and so does his right to remain there, and brother is refusing to move out.

Can we wait for him to leave and just change the locks on him and give him his belongings back, help and advise appreciated.


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Nige 13th December, 2017 @ 13:46

@David Carter


The technical way of doing it is a section 21.

I had a similar case. Tenant died. Had darling fcin kids over the age of 18 who wrecked the house when she went into hospital.
They had the right to remain.

There are several ways to handle this. Write to the executors with a section 21 notice .(Post with 1st class stamp with cert of other way) (Even if the executor is yourself) The reason for this is that the excutors technically wind up the estate. Then the executors write to the occupants saying a section 21 has been issued. (and possibly issuing their own section 21 for safety as it is a sub let) Again 1st class stamp and cert of posting.
This can be followed up in court if it comes to it.

The other way is for your brother to surrender the keys to yourself. Make sure you receipt this and that a witness is present.

PS in my case I couldn't claim against damage on my insurance because the tenancy was in tenants name only and insurance wont pay. Without proof who did the damage as the younger kids were still there the police would not take action. No police report=no insurance.

Thus the real crux of the problem was a single name tenancy and when the eldest became 18 the tenancy renewal should have been changed to joint names. Cost to me £4k and tenants estate was worthless.

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Benji 13th December, 2017 @ 17:10

@ David Carter,

Pretty much as Nige said but also look at section 8 ground 7, or more advisedly, get your solicitor to look at s.8 g.7.

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Nige 13th December, 2017 @ 18:12

@David Carter
Just one other point which you may or may not wish to do. If there is any damage to the house ie rubbish clearing onwards then this can be claimed against the estate and may save inheritance tax if applicable.

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David 14th December, 2017 @ 10:30

@David Carter

What you have not mentioned is whether you have actually communicated with your brother?

To you he is a freeloader but to your parents he was their child, as were you.

Isn't the loss of your parents a time to try to resolve issues?

Even if not, you may find that opening up lines of communications now will save you a lot later.

Is he a beneficiary of the will?


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