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Tenants late in Vacating Property


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The tenants gave notice to letting agency but failed to return keys and had left furniture and bits in the flat. They did tell the agents that they were ill and would return them soon. The agency advised me of this. They said that I could not do anything as the propery was not vacant. I asked if I was entitled to get rent until i did have possession of the flat.

The agency was given the keys back 3 weeks late and were instructed to remove/dispose of things left by the tenant. They did this and charged them for this, cleaning and rent for 3 weeks which came out of the deposit.

Now the tenant has taken the letting agency to court for the rent paid for those three weeks. Stating that they did not have the right to deduct it from the deposit.

The letting agency don't seem to be getting legal advice from what I can see in correspondence and are trying to get me to take responsibility and just pay the money back.

Help! where do I stand legally? What should I do. I don't want to end up paying money out for their incompedence. I also took out legal and non payment insurance but apparently it does not cover this as the contract had ended! I thought getting a letting agency to manage the property would stop things like this!

Any advice would be appreciated.



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In my opinion, if the tenants kept the keys and had their possesions still at the property then it's quite right that they should pay for the rent during this period. If it goes to court I'm quite sure a judge would see it that way too. They still had use of the property so why should they not pay for it!

Hopefully the tenants will see it this way too before it goes to court but if not stand your ground and I'm sure you'll win!


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Stand your ground and insist that the letting agent sorts out this mess. Do not, under any circumstances, refund any rent money to the letting agent.

I agree with F-Prop that the tenants should pay rent for the time when their possessions remained in the property.

The letting agent is only trying to shift blame / responsibility onto you because they are weak and spineless.

If the letting agent want to refund the rent to the tenant then perhaps they would like to do this out of their substanial profits !


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Thank you for all your advice. I think I have managed to find a loop hole which should help me. Your opinion would be great-:

From what I gather they should not be taking the letting agents to court as they are "only agents" (bit of a cop out). Anyway the small claims court are likely to kick it out. In this event they could try to take me to court. However my understanding is because I do not live in the UK (I live in Australia) they can't serve me therefore they can't take me to court.

Am I right in thinking this? I know its not the win situation I want but it may be the one that helps me.

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As you say, the Tenants are taking the Letting Agent to Court ......not you.

Nothing to do with you as you had no input in the decision to remove furniture etc.

Legally and the LA would know this.......you cannot dispose of furniture or Tenants belongings until 28 days has passed and you should also inform them of your intentions in writing to their last known address and keep a copy.

This is what the LA should have done and if they didn't then they shouldn't be in business!

Tell them to get stuffed!....... Politely of course!

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  • 3 months later...

Tricky one that will come down to interpretation of the facts. In my opinion, the tenants had not gone through the act of physically vacating the property and giving up possesion by the act of returning keys etc. Consequently, it could be argued with a counter sue for damages that they have failed to comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement and might in fact need to give notice again to vacate. Therefore, they may have continued liability until their notice is correctly served again. Get legal advice from a lawyer specializing in Housing Act matters.

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Ok - now the court has told the tennants they can't take the letting agents to court and they are now taking me to court!!!!

Really not amused... :(

Stand your ground and bluff it out Julie!

You could not relet your property because the Tenants had failed to remove their own furniture and property which was essential upon the cessation of their contract to enable the prospective Tenants to move in.

It was their responsibility to clear the flat in the designated time.....ill or not!

You can also throw in the fact that the Letting Agents were acting on your behalf and you had no input into the decision making as you were on full management terms and nobody had informed you at the time of what was actually happening.


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