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Rental Flat Landlord Lock out... advise on what to do now

edited 25 January at 2:38AM in House buying, renting & selling
23 replies 1.6K views
adviseforumthanksadviseforumthanks Forumite
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edited 25 January at 2:38AM in House buying, renting & selling

Welcome some advice from the group for a friend who is a tenant and has been through it lately. The details in summary...

  • The friend has been renting for about 5 years from a private landlord (LL)
  • LL permitted subletting and they have happily done so for that period and looked after the flat whilst living there
  • All rent has been paid on time and no issues with flat condition
  • They knew each other through friends, thus a standard AST document was created between them
  • But the AST was not signed by either and has just been periodic now for some years 
  • LL wanted to sell the flat and asked for flat back early at the end of 2021
  • Tenant said that would need time to hand back at a later date
  • There was disagreement and a LL agent attempted to remove the tenant in Jan 2022
  • Eventually a date of end of Nov 2022 was provided to the LL via an email sent by the tenant
  • Closer to the time the tenant called the LL and asked for an extension to the end of Nov 2022 date
  • A couple of weeks was agreed as rent was paid until 17 Dec 2022 in anycase
  • (There was no evidence of this telephone conversation)
  • Suddenly around 28 Nov 2022 the LL requested the flat back on 30 Nov 2022 and cited the tenant previous email
  • Around 1 Dec 2022 tenant left for an appointment – came back to the flat and was locked out by the LL
  • LL is based in a different region so they probably got an agent to do this
  • They received an email from the LL on that day thanking them for the flat, saying there were no issues with its condition, the excess rent to 17 Dec 22 has sent back to them and Goodbye!
  • Tenant was locked out with their goods stuck within the flat 
  • No Section 21 or any other notices were issued by the LL to the tenant ever
  • Any tenant calls to the LL via are being ignored 
  • The Tenant contacted Local Council Private Sector Enforcement that issued a warning letter to the LL
  • LL told the council they refused to re-instate 
  • The council told the tenant they cannot force a LL re-instatement
  • A month passes and nothing was done with the council despite the tenant trying
  • Eventually the tenant got fed up, called the police to let them know they are re-entering and went back into the flat using a locksmith
  • No damage was done and locks were changed
  • The flat was empty and left in the same condition as before – they are checking if any items have been taken

They think the flat is being sold at this time and is going through the process although they are not sure. 

They want to know what they should do now? They have stayed with local friends whilst getting back in -  and not sure if they can formally move back in? Who they should notify? How and what their rights are at this time? - or if they are in trouble? 

Could do with some advise of their current legal position  quickly and what they should do as I am not an expert in this area. 

«13

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  • penners324penners324 Forumite
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    The tenant should have called the police as the LL has broken into their home. The tenant should have then got a locksmith to reenter their home under police supervision.

    Have they got their deposit back? All their belongings?
  • penners324penners324 Forumite
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    They should move back in
  • housebuyer143housebuyer143 Forumite
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    They should have got back in the moment they were locked out, not a month later. 
  • edited 25 January at 7:11AM
    Norman_CastleNorman_Castle Forumite
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    edited 25 January at 7:11AM
    They were asked to leave a over year ago. What have they done in that time to find another home?
    Cosseted farts are best ignored.
  • _Penny_Dreadful_Penny_Dreadful Forumite
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    Welcome some advice from the group for a friend who is a tenant and has been through it lately. The details in summary...

    • The friend has been renting for about 5 years from a private landlord (LL)
    • LL permitted subletting and they have happily done so for that period and looked after the flat whilst living there
    • All rent has been paid on time and no issues with flat condition
    • They knew each other through friends, thus a standard AST document was created between them
    • But the AST was not signed by either and has just been periodic now for some years 
    • LL wanted to sell the flat and asked for flat back early at the end of 2021
    • Tenant said that would need time to hand back at a later date
    • There was disagreement and a LL agent attempted to remove the tenant in Jan 2022
    • Eventually a date of end of Nov 2022 was provided to the LL via an email sent by the tenant
    • Closer to the time the tenant called the LL and asked for an extension to the end of Nov 2022 date
    • A couple of weeks was agreed as rent was paid until 17 Dec 2022 in anycase
    • (There was no evidence of this telephone conversation)
    • Suddenly around 28 Nov 2022 the LL requested the flat back on 30 Nov 2022 and cited the tenant previous email
    • Around 1 Dec 2022 tenant left for an appointment – came back to the flat and was locked out by the LL
    • LL is based in a different region so they probably got an agent to do this
    • They received an email from the LL on that day thanking them for the flat, saying there were no issues with its condition, the excess rent to 17 Dec 22 has sent back to them and Goodbye!
    • Tenant was locked out with their goods stuck within the flat 
    • No Section 21 or any other notices were issued by the LL to the tenant ever
    • Any tenant calls to the LL via are being ignored 
    • The Tenant contacted Local Council Private Sector Enforcement that issued a warning letter to the LL
    • LL told the council they refused to re-instate 
    • The council told the tenant they cannot force a LL re-instatement
    • A month passes and nothing was done with the council despite the tenant trying
    • Eventually the tenant got fed up, called the police to let them know they are re-entering and went back into the flat using a locksmith
    • No damage was done and locks were changed
    • The flat was empty and left in the same condition as before – they are checking if any items have been taken

    They think the flat is being sold at this time and is going through the process although they are not sure. 

    They want to know what they should do now? They have stayed with local friends whilst getting back in -  and not sure if they can formally move back in? Who they should notify? How and what their rights are at this time? - or if they are in trouble? 

    Could do with some advise of their current legal position  quickly and what they should do as I am not an expert in this area. 


    Your post is a little confusing as you talk about landlords and subletting.  It reads like your friend rented from a landlord and then your friend sublet the flat so your friend became the landlord of the subtenant and your friend's landlord became the head landlord.

    The head landlord wants to sell and so who did the head landlord contact, their tenant or the subtenant?  Is it possible the head landlord legally ended the tenancy with his tenant this could mean the subtenant's tenancy has also ended.
  • edited 25 January at 8:27AM
    deannagonedeannagone Forumite
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    edited 25 January at 8:27AM
    It sounds like the LL did commit an illegal eviction, but also sounds like the tenant has come to the end of the road with seeking help with that. I wonder if there were several grey areas where the tenant might have muddied the waters with seeking resolution with the illegal eviction. It also sounds like seeking money for lost goods will be difficult unless the tenant has proof of purchase of these goods.  Remember the tenant is only likely to get second hand costs reimbursed which will be much lower than they would hope for.

    Did they divide the rent strictly between themselves and the subtenants?  I am only asking this rhetorically as your friend may have made a profit, so not be so financially hurt by this as the initial post presents?  It does sound like the tenant gambled, and lost.

    What the LL did was totally wrong, but the tenant does seem to have not exactly rushed to find somewhere else to live and some LL's will take their own action on this. Its not right, its not legal but I think the tenant shot themselves in the foot as well by not moving out for a year.

    I hope next time the tenant will do things differently.  It sounds like neither the tenant nor the LL conducted themselves as they should have done..  I would imagine it will be difficult for the tenant to persuade the LL to give a positive reference?  Does the tenant realise that although what the LL did was wrong, they have also made themselves a very unattractive tenant for future LL's (taking so long to move out, appointing subtenants etc).  I suspect lessons need to be learned from this situation.

    Whilst I almost never come down on the side of the LL, and what they did was wrong, they have left the property vacant and obviously needed to sell.  Tenants are taking risks when they totally ignore this with a LL who will not mind pushing the law aside.
  • adviseforumthanksadviseforumthanks Forumite
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    The tenant should have called the police as the LL has broken into their home. The tenant should have then got a locksmith to reenter their home under police supervision.

    Have they got their deposit back? All their belongings?
    Thanks. They contacted the private rented services with the local council straight away. The local council did not recommend breaking back in. They also contacted a general solictor at the same time who said that breaking back in would be "taking the law into their own hands". They had to wait about a month before giving up with the council process. When they did go back in, they called the police and invited them to attend - they was told by the police they would and not attend and their only police concern was potential "breach of the peace" that may occur if there was a confrontation - so they would just log it on their system. The tenant was worried that someone else would be living there, that was not the case.

    At this time they are not sure if there are any legal requirements on them to inform anyone or do anything? They are also not sure if they can take any action against a local agent who they think did the break-in on behalf of the LL? If the place is being sold the current LL would not have any responsibilities but would be selling it with vacant possession. 

  • edited 25 January at 9:47AM
    nyermennyermen Forumite
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    edited 25 January at 9:47AM
    • Eventually a date of end of Nov 2022 was provided to the LL via an email sent by the tenant
    If they have legal access to the property, I wouldn't think breaking in would be "taking the law into own hands" but I'm not an expert, not even an amateur.  This was an illegal eviction in any case it would appear.

    One thing to warn about - the quote I've noted above.  With no other evidence other than the LL having this date in November, then assuming the notice was given correctly (ie. its the correct tenant giving the notice) then that tenant(s) could be liable for double rent I think (any experts here confirm?).  LL sounds like the type who would deny any subsequent agreement.

    Doesn't change legality of the landlords action, but just something that should be mentioned if you get in contact with shelter etc for help.
    Peter

    Debt free - finally finished paying off £20k + Interest.
  • MobileSaverMobileSaver Forumite
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    nyermen said:
    • Eventually a date of end of Nov 2022 was provided to the LL via an email sent by the tenant
    This was an illegal eviction in any case it would appear.
    There's cast-iron evidence that both the LL and tenant agreed to terminate the tenancy at the end of November 2022, there's nothing other than the tenant's say-so that this was extended by a couple of weeks.
    It's far from certain this was an illegal eviction and even if it was there seems to be no proof especially as the LL promptly returned the excess rent.


    Every generation blames the one before...

    Mike + The Mechanics - The Living Years
  • edited 25 January at 11:51AM
    propertyrentalpropertyrental Forumite
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    edited 25 January at 11:51AM
    There are some ambiguities in your post so the full facts are not clear, but from what you say I disagree with other replies above:

    • Eventually a date of end of Nov 2022 was provided to the LL via an email sent by the tenant
    So the tenant served notice to end the tenancy. This is  valid way for a tenancy to be ended.

    • Closer to the time the tenant called the LL and asked for an extension to the end of Nov 2022 date
    • A couple of weeks was agreed as rent was paid until 17 Dec 2022 in anycase
    • (There was no evidence of this telephone conversation)
    Unfortunately if this was not confirmed in writing, this becomes a case of "I said...." "You said...." The LL could deny agreeing to an extension meaning the tenancy would end when the tenant's original notice expired: end of November.

    • No Section 21 or any other notices were issued by the LL to the tenant ever
    Since it was the T who served notice, no S21 is needed.

    The T has no right to return since they served notice, the notice has expired, and the tenancy has ended. No rent is owed (is it still being paid?) and no right of re-entry exists.

    If the T has left belongings in the property, the LL has an obligation to take care of them and allow the T to collect them. See

    https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/information/abandoned-possessions/






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