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Email from our agent yesterday, with a copy of the letter from our tenants, saying that they will be leaving on the 25th after all - seemingly, the threat of legal action did the trick (or they knew they couldn't answer the questions about why they were witholding rent and what had caused the plumbing problems).

Of course, there's still the matter of them paying the overdue rent, plus sorting out the plumbing bills via the DPS, but it's a huge relief.

Do we need a deed of surrender drawn up now and at what point is it issued - at the point of returning the keys?

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It's not unreasonable to accept the return of the keys as surrender as they have written to state their intention.

I usually draft a surrender document for them to complete.

Property address,

forwarding address,

Current gas and electricity suppliers,

date and time property will be returned to LL possession,

signature/s and date.

It seems unlikely they will claim illegal eviction in your case but as a matter of policy I like the document on file, when they can be bothered to return / leave it.

As a persuader I remind them that they have responsibilities, rent and such like, until the property is formally surrendered, this is supported within the AST.

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