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Hello everybody, i need you opinion on my story:
I was helping out a friend to rent out his flat. Chose a tenant who paid 11 months of a year long tenancy in advance (from 1st Jan to 1st Jan). Once the year was drawing to an end tenant verbally said that they would want to stay but on the 1st of January tenant just emptied the flat and moved out without notice. They also didnt pay the last month's rent.
The next day, I got the tenant and my friend to sign an agreement to bring the tenancy to an end (express surrender of tenancy) so friend can get back possession of flat and rent it out again immediately. (That was my best idea on the spot after a night long of research, before the tenant disappears.)
Tenant said their visa wasnt renewed and they will be leaving the country. Tenant gave forwarding address in another continent. I got the tenant to give written confirmation that he agrees for the last month's rent and any damages to be deducted from their deposit. Deposit covers 1 month rent and all the damages (some broken furniture).
Fastforward to today. Friend is angry because he thinks signing the surrender document was a mistake because he wanted tenant to pay for the notice period he was meant to give.
This is my take: If there was no surrender agreement signed, friend could not assume flat is empty and rent it out again. Tenant would have legal rights to be in the flat until notice period expires and tenant would not have paid any more rent because he would have left the country due to their visa expiring. At the end of notice period when tenant is nowhere to be found, getting back posession would have probably meant a court order but the very least more money and time lost for my friend. Knowing that every rule is highly in favour of tenants, I would not want friend to have to go to court.
I myself was quite proud to have come up with the least painful solution for my friend but now he is very angry with me instead.
I would like to hear the opinion of more experienced landlords. Please fire away! Many thanks.
Next time tell your "friend" to manage the property himself! OR pay a Property Manager 10%-15% pcm.
What you have done is over and above what I would expect in the challenging circumstance.
Former Tenant Arrears (FTA) Is a major problem for landlords, where the system doesn't support them. Never mind when the FT is not in the country.
FYI, if you suspect a property has been abandoned you can issue a Notice to Quit, which allows quicker access. Also the AST can be written to gain access if you suspect an high issue issue. (Gas Leak for example!) - Will these options you then have to deal with any remaining belongings......I won't go there.Well done you.
Thank you for your reply. And for the extra tips. I will look into the 'Notice to Quit'. Learning every day...
Hello, I think I'd have suggested the same.
If the tenant had to leave due to an expired visa, I'm sure your landlord friend would have been in trouble for renting a property to someone with no right to rent as it's their responsibility to check these things.
The tenancy ran until 1st January, they moved out when the tenancy expired. It's annoying when tenants just leave like that but unless stated in the contract that they needed to give a month's notice before expiry, I can't see what else could have been done. If he has the deposit and it's enough to cover the last month's rent and damaged furniture, what's the problem?
Freind's problem is that nobody is paying for the void period I guess.
That's the risk you take when renting a property. Its unrealistic to expect a property to be occupied the whole time, there will always be a void period between tenants.
At least he can get it advertised and start again with fresh tenants instead of messing about chasing a tenant who is no longer in the country or having to pay to store his belongings for 3 months while he goes through the courts to end the tenancy.
Which letting agent redress scheme are you registered with?
A tenant is perfectly entitled to leave by end of last day of fixed term without any notice. Why add unnecessary paperwork?