Horror Story - I thought she'd gone!

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A landlord lets a flat to a young lady. She only pays the first months rent.

She then starts behaving badly, she has loud parties and the neighbours complain. Her boy friend causes a disturbance at the property on several occasions and kicks one of the doors in. The police are called in several times.

The landlord goes round several times to ask for the rent. He tells her that unless she pays the rent and behaves properly she will have to go. On at least one occasion he loses his temper and shouts at her.

One week he finds that she is not at the property. He continues to visit the property but she is never there. After about three weeks he suspects that she has left and uses his keys to gain entry.

The flat is in a filthy condition and it is obvious that no-one has been there for some time. It is full of rubbish and there is mouldy food in the kitchen. He finds some of her personal things, such as a purse with £12 in it, clothes in the wardrobe and chest of drawers in the bedroom, and some videos in the lounge. However he decides that she has left, bags up all the items left in the property, and changes the locks.

None of the items left in the property being saleable, he dumps them (apart from the money in the purse which he takes against the rent arrears), re-decorates the flat, and then re-lets it to another tenant.

Two months later he learns of a scene at the flat when the she tries to gain entry and is refused by the new tenant. He is subsequently served with a county court summons for damages for harassment and unlawful eviction together with a claim for compensation for her property, and a notice stating that she has been awarded legal aid.

He loses the case and is ordered to pay compensation to the tenant, although the sum is reduced to take account of her unpaid rent and damage to the flat. He also has to pay her legal costs which run into several thousand pounds, as well as his own solicitors bill. 

Moral

It is very risky to repossess a property without getting a court order first, however large the rent arrears are, unless you are absolutely certain the tenant has vacated and will not be coming back.  

Note - this landlord could also have had a criminal prosecution brought against him in the Magistrates Court.

The full horror story only happens rarely - but this does not mean it cannot happen to you!

 

 

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