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Tenant's Belongings Still in our Property


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Hi we have finally managed to get our property back and the court have granted possession on or before 10th August. the tenants are away on holiday for 2 weeks back on the 13th August and said they are going to break in to get their belongings as we have now changed the locks as we feared they would try and stay longer when they got back and the bailiffs apparently won't be able to attend for at least 8 weeks. We have been told it is not illegal eviction as the court have granted possession but we don't know what to do with their things. They have moved their personal items before they went away but the rest of the house if jammed full of clothes, settees etc.

Also they owe nearly 6 months rent, they have damaged the carpets and curtains and some wallpaper, the house is in a very dirty state and we would have to get contract cleaners in. They have broken a new dishwasher we left in for them to use, the garden is a terrible mess and they have also damaged two electric sockets and plugs and other things.

Are we within our rights holding their furniture until they give us some money to clear the arrears and to rectify the damage? Also, what can we do to get the money back they owe us for rent and the money for damages etc?

We have told the police to watch the house which they are doing and we have told them we have been getting threatening messages from the tenants saying that they will sort us out etc. We are very concerned and as we are trying to sell the property quickly with a cash sale hopefully very soon we want to get shut of their stuff and we fear when they are back from hols at the weekend they will just break in and get their stuff and wreck the place.

Also as we don't know where they are going how can we issue a court form for the rent arrears etc?

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks a lot

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Even after judgement and a possession order, it is unlawful for the landlord to take possession him/herself. The judgment must be executed in accordance with the rules of court. [Haniff v Robinson [1993] Q.B. 419 (CA).]

You need court form N325 which is here:


I would try speaking to your county court bailiff on the telephone, best time to catch them is usually before 10.00am. I find that after having a word, they will usually evict quicker. 8 weeks seems a very long time.

In order to keep the goods for rent, you will need the permission of the court first [s19 HA 1988].

It is clearly not an ideal situation to be speaking with these tenants, it is not worth the threats etc. To make a claim for rent and damages you need claim form N1 which is here:


On this form put all the arrears, cost of damages etc. and don't forget to add on the interest.

Ideally, you could do with at least getting the claim form off to the court straight away because service is valid at the defendants "last known address", however there are cases showing that if you know they are no longer residing, then it will not be validly served. (There are also cases showing the opposite!) In your case I think you will be fine as long as it is done fairly quickly.

After you have got possession via the bailiff (or them leaving of course) then you need to evaluate about the goods. It is a hugely complex issue as you must look after goods etc. but I think we should leave that for a moment until you know exactly what goods are going to be left when they have finally gone. Then perhaps this forum will be able to assist.

Hope this helps


Guild of Residential Landlords

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