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Notice-giving Tenant gone incommunicado


Pibbs
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Hi, I hope someone can advise me with my problem:

I have been renting out what was my Grandad’s unfurnished house for the past 10 years to the same tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which I let roll after the initial 2 years. The house had been completely and professionally refurbished throughout and was awarded a private landlords accreditation by the local council. This scheme allowed me access to their team of experts that advised me on all aspects of letting and vetted potential tenants for criminal records or CCJs etc. etc. Cutbacks have meant that this support no longer exists….at a time when I really could have done with it😟 

By and large I have not had a problem with my tenant. Occasionally payment of rent has been missed, but I have allowed the tenant to pay a bit extra each month until he caught up again, which he did. I was quite happy with the tenant. During these 10 years I did not increase the rent at all…. 

About 5 weeks ago he phoned me to inform me that a work promotion would mean him relocating and checked that a month’s notice would be adequate. According to out ASTA this was what was required. I accepted this verbally and also agreed that he could pay just half his due rent now and half next month at his request, since there had been some clerical error with his wages and he was juggling his finances with removal costs etc. 

A few days before the end of this month’s notice I rang him to see if it was ok to call up and see him and just check on how he was doing getting ready to leave. He said it would be fine and then rang me the day I was to go, to postpone this until the day after. I agreed to this. That following day I drove there, but no-one answered the door. I rang his tel no., but to no avail….voicemail. This was a Monday night, 3 days before he was due to hand back the keys. 

I received a text message the day before the keys were due, saying he was sorry he hadn’t been there on the Monday, but he had gone into hospital thru heat exhaustion , but was back in work the day after and would ring to arrange our meeting the following day. 

This is the last I have heard from him. The handover day came and went with no contact from him. I have politely texted several times and left voicemail messages too, generally asking if he was ok etc. 

I have heard nothing at all since…… 

I have visited the house a couple of times since and knocked on the door, but no one appears to be there. I have not entered…. the downstairs curtains are closed, but I can see through a small glass bevel in the front door that the furniture has been cleared in the front room, and I can see his fridge freezer away from the wall in the kitchen behind…. 

From across the street I can see that a mattress in the front bedroom is propped up against the wall……other than this I have no idea what is going on. 

I was hoping someone might be able to advise me on what’s best to do at this stage. 

Do I have a right to access the property to check it is ok….now that his verbal notice to quit has elapsed? 

I considered entering with the excuse I was checking on his welfare, since he had claimed he had collapsed earlier that week as a result of the heat….. 

The Gas Safe certification has also expired now and again I was wondering if I had right of access to admit the gas engineer to conduct the yearly check…..would I still need to give him 24 hr notice of this and if he said it wasn’t convenient what would that mean? 

Having spoken to a neighbour they think no-one is living there and that he has called up to load some things into his car one day last week. 

I know my posting here is a bit rambling, but thought it best to paint as full a picture of the situation that I could. 

Any advice would be really welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you

 

 

 

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Sounds like he may still be poorly following the heat exhaustion.....and may be back in hospital. That might explain him not contacting you and you being unable to contact him. That would be the first thing I would check with the local hospital.

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6 minutes ago, Richlist said:

Sounds like he may still be poorly following the heat exhaustion.....and may be back in hospital. That might explain him not contacting you and you being unable to contact him. That would be the first thing I would check with the local hospital.

He is not ill, neighbours have seen him moving items into his car since his hospital visit, He is a youngish, fit and healthy warehouse manager. I suspect there was no illness to be honest, but I had thought of gaining entry with the excuse that I was checking on his welfare...

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From what you are saying it does look like he is halfway through removing his furniture from the property. You cannot enter the property just yet. It's a waiting game for at least 7 to 14 days. You could ask the neighbour to call you if he returns perhaps.  The important point here is to get your property back with no hassle and no damage.

                        Your tenant has their reasons for leaving which for some reason not clear to you he doesn't want to communicate anymore with you.  When or if you see the bed and fridge freezer have gone (if they do go that is) send him a text saying that you assume he has gone and would he confirm this as a fact and if no reply within 48hrs. you can inform him that the property has now handed back to you as agreed.

In any event what you must not do is enter the property before all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure he has vacated.

There are many points in your original post where you have followed what many would say are not the correct procedures for taking a property back.......... but we can talk about that later.

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i thank you for your considered reply. I imagine the only proceedure I have not followed is that I have accepted his verbal notice to end the tenancy, but it is always difficult to get hold of him. I would have been more than happy for him to stay and it is HE who is wanting to leave and I just expected him to allow me to check him out and take back the keys on the day we had agreed to do so. I even offered him a few days extra....rent free, should he not be able to get everything out in the whole month that he had served notice for.....what more can I do????

 

 

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