Can landlord enter property/redecorate while we still hold tenancy & keys but empty?

Sorry if post is long winded, I’ll try to be brief with major details included.

My parents in law rented a house and paid 6 months up front rent (relocating from overseas so no UK work history) with a view to buying in Uk.

3 months in, father in law was offered a better job overseas and decided to take it. Also near the time there was some kind of sewage leak in a neighbouring cellar which created a terrible smell in their house.!

My sister in law emailed the EA on their behalf (her English is not great but better than theirs) to say they were moving back overseas early and could the property be readvertised and rent refunded when a new tenant was found.!

Landlord agreed but obv not till new tenant was found.

A few viewings were arranged but no interest. My SIL, trying to be helpful in getting some money back for them started complaining that the smell was putting people off and that they were entitled to a refund based on that alone.

My husband and I felt her clumsy approach was just aggravating things so she stopped emailing and I told the EA to deal with me in future.!

My last email contact with the EA was mid May when they emailed to say they noticed we still had possessions stored there. I replied to say we understood my PIL were still liable for all bills while they hold keys and that we needed to leave it in a clean and empty condition when we leave but that my PIL still wanted to take time to move their belongings out while they were paying for the property anyway.
I received a txt from EA a few days later notifying me of a viewing later that day (not 24 hours) and I called back to say that was fine.

I have heard nothing about any viewings or anything else since and presumed they were not bothering to advertise while we still paid rent till mid July.!

They did move their belongings out but we weren’t intending to do a final clean till we had notice from the EA of another tenant wanting to move and they also considered it would be a place to stay if they came to visit us again before the tenancy expired.

I then had a call yesterday lunchtime to say they had a new tenant moving tomorrow and needed the keys by last night or latest 9am this morning. I said this was fine but that we did not have enough notice to do a final clean etc and I hoped that we would not be charged for this in the return of the deposit, but the EA said we had plenty of time over the last few months and we should have cleaned earlier if we wanted to guarantee full deposit.

She said there had been a misunderstanding, they thought we had moved out and left it as intended weeks ago. It turns out when I visited yesterday that the landlord has been in and out many times redecorating and they have conducted a lot of viewings without notifying us.

I’ve now handed back the keys but worried there will be a dispute over the deposit with the cleaning and redecorating etc.

I’m wondering what their rights are? At no point did either of the tenants (my PIL) contact the EA to say they have officially moved out (we have now helped my FIL draft an email from his own email address with his point of view) and the last email they had from any family (me) was to say that we were still keeping belongings there and knew we were liable for everything. The EA and Landlord has presumed everything else.
«1

Replies

  • GileadGilead Forumite
    90 Posts
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    Your in laws entered into a contract, then went overseas and asked EA to readvertise in hope of minimising remaining rent due. EA has done that. The second they moved out with EA seeking new tenents a clean up and removal of possessions should have been done.

    The EA and LL could just have sat back and took the full 6 months. Instead they worked to get a new tenant. Hard to please!!
  • edited 1 July 2017 at 7:29AM
    AnotherJoeAnotherJoe Forumite
    19.6K Posts
    10,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 1 July 2017 at 7:29AM
    I also dont understand your position.

    Your PIL wanted it re let to new tenants asap but didn't move their possessions out, didn't clean when they left but were waiting until told it was relet, (which would of course have slowed things down) and you are complaining that LL went in and redecorated though that would make it easier to relet!

    You also complain about viewings without notice, how on earth do you expect them to relet it without viewings and getting notice and giving permission befire each viewing would slow things down ! And it's not as if PIL were living there and were being disrupted by viewings

    Words fail me. .... no they don't ... I think you are being unreasonable and illogical.
  • gycraig_2gycraig_2 Forumite
    533 Posts
    ✭✭
    So the person moved out and the landlord has bent over backwards to get a new tenant in but old occupier doesnt even have the decency to clean it / empty there things out.

    If they wanted tenants asap they should od removed all the stuff and cleaned the place. By rights the landlord could of just sat and waited the tenancy out.

    Parents in law seem to want to have there cake and eat it. Why would you wait till replacement tenants have been found to do a final clean.

    Id be pulling hair out if i was the landlord
  • Red-Squirrel_2Red-Squirrel_2
    4.3K Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Sorry to be harsh, but it seemed as though they wanted it both ways.

    They needed to choose, either they were moving out early and they wanted the landlord to put new tenants in asap so they stopped being liable for the rent, in which case they should have properly moved out, took their stuff, cleaned up and given the keys back.

    Or, they weren't living there but they were going to use the property to store their stuff and as a place to stay when visiting until the end of the tenancy, in which case they shouldn't have told the landlord they wanted it re-let asap.
  • edited 1 July 2017 at 8:01AM
    csgohan4csgohan4 Forumite
    10.4K Posts
    10,000 Posts Sixth Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 1 July 2017 at 8:01AM
    OP, do you see anything wrong in your post??? The LL could easily have just not been bothered and let it lapse until 6 months.




    The fact he has tried to find new tenants and your PIL being obstructive and complaining about it beggars belief.


    Have you read your contract, you are liable for rent until tenants can be found, clearly has tried to find some, but it's not his fault no one wants to rent it, especially when you still got your stuff there and needing to clean it.


    Why not take everything from there and give it a good clean, yes you will still be liable for rent, but least it will be more appealing to potential tenants.


    What are you complaining about that is against your tenancy agreement? You want tenants to take over but not happy there have been viewings??? Can you not see what is wrong here? If your worried about your stuff, put it in storage or ship it back
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"

    G_M/ Bowlhead99 RIP
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
    42.2K Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hazzoura22 wrote: »
    My parents in law rented a house and paid 6 months up front rent (relocating from overseas so no UK work history) with a view to buying in Uk.

    3 months in, father in law was offered a better job overseas and decided to take it.

    When was this? How long ago?
    Also near the time there was some kind of sewage leak in a neighbouring cellar which created a terrible smell in their house.!

    My sister in law emailed the EA on their behalf (her English is not great but better than theirs) to say they were moving back overseas early and could the property be readvertised and rent refunded when a new tenant was found.!

    Landlord agreed but obv not till new tenant was found.

    A few viewings were arranged but no interest. My SIL, trying to be helpful in getting some money back for them started complaining that the smell was putting people off

    So the landlord hadn't been informed of the problem with the drains until this point?
    and that they were entitled to a refund based on that alone.

    No, they were entitled to have the problem fixed as soon as it was reported to the landlord.
    My last email contact with the EA was mid May

    Over a month ago.
    when they emailed to say they noticed we still had possessions stored there. I replied to say we understood my PIL were still liable for all bills while they hold keys and that we needed to leave it in a clean and empty condition when we leave but that my PIL still wanted to take time to move their belongings out while they were paying for the property anyway.
    ...
    They did move their belongings out but we weren’t intending to do a final clean till we had notice from the EA of another tenant wanting to move and they also considered it would be a place to stay if they came to visit us again before the tenancy expired.

    I then had a call yesterday lunchtime to say they had a new tenant moving tomorrow and needed the keys by last night or latest 9am this morning. I said this was fine but that we did not have enough notice to do a final clean etc and I hoped that we would not be charged for this in the return of the deposit, but the EA said we had plenty of time over the last few months and we should have cleaned earlier if we wanted to guarantee full deposit.

    This does not seem unfair or unrealistic at all, does it?
    She said there had been a misunderstanding, they thought we had moved out and left it as intended weeks ago. It turns out when I visited yesterday that the landlord has been in and out many times redecorating and they have conducted a lot of viewings without notifying us.

    But they did notify you of a viewing - and you said it was fine to hold viewings.
    At no point did either of the tenants (my PIL) contact the EA to say they have officially moved out

    Your SiL did that on their behalf, remember? And that was why the property was being re-marketed...

    Sorry, but I'm with the EA and every other reply. You want your cake and eat it. You want to get out of their contract early, with a new tenant being found as early as possible, but you seem to want to retain the keys and use of the property as long as possible. Can't have it both ways, especially given that there was a delay in the property being re-lettable due to a problem that the landlord was seemingly not informed of.
  • FBabyFBaby Forumite
    18.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    You do have a point with your complaint. Your PIL continued to pay so on this basis, should be entitled to the same rights than if they were still living there, which is clearly your argument.

    HOWEVER, and that's the part you are dismissing, they also didn't need to do any of things they've done, acted as if your PIL were still living there, therefore reducing the chances of renting the place sooner.

    Which one would you have preferred?
  • Hazzoura22Hazzoura22 Forumite
    47 Posts
    I see what you're saying, my post does sound unreasonable sorry! I don't think I made my actual problem clear enough with trying to include the whole back story.

    The property was left clean and empty, grass cut etc early June and yes we were actually happy for viewings to be conducted etc

    My worry is about when the final inventory was/will be taken (they haven't made this clear) and getting the deposit back. When the EA called me last week she requested the keys the same day, to which I replied that was fine but they've not been in to clean/cut the grass in over a month. She told me I was welcome to go and clean that day but that was impossible with work/childcare commitments.
    The house was fine, a few bits on the floor, but dusty, grass longish, nothing terrible but not how we left it or would have left it had we known when the deposit inventory would be taken.
    Also I'm anxious about the redecorating. Obviously it's different to when we moved out.
    I'm more anxious about their rights to deposit refund if the landlord is to state any damage or bill is for cleaning when nothing was transparent about who was in and out and what date they should have had everything ready for inspection.
  • AdrianCAdrianC Forumite
    42.2K Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    If they've been in there already redecorating, then it won't be reasonable to do any inventory now - because the property isn't in the condition you left it. I'd say that they've accepted there's no damage beyond normal wear and tear, and you should get full deposit back.
  • Hazzoura22Hazzoura22 Forumite
    47 Posts
    Ps we did notify about the smell as soon as it happened but were told it was a neighbouring cellar and nothing their landlord could do and they just had to live with it. We felt this was unfair that we and no one else would like to live there with the smell but we accepted it as not legally our landlords problem and this is why we told our SIL to back off a bit.

    We also didn't feel that anyone was bending over backwards to relet since they didn't care about the smell, we hadn't heard of any new viewings and the actual relet has happened with two weeks left on our tenancy so didn't seem they were that bothered at all, hence why we felt it reasonable to make use of the property on visits if they could to make up for some of the money that had been lost.

    But again, sorry, these are not the main issues. It's more about where we stand legally with the deposit and where we will stand in any disputes about cleaning bills and damage.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest News and Guides