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Question

Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

End of tenancy

19 Apr 2017 | 3 comments

My tenant has me by the short and curlies, and I’m trying to figure out my best course of action.

I’m in the process of trying to sell my tenanted property. I gave the tenants a section 21 notice about 2 months ago, requesting that they leave by the 24th. They have ‘agreed’ to leave on the 29th of April, and I have agreed, verbally, and subject to them leaving on that day, to waive the extra week’s rent (their rent runs out on the 22nd of April).

However, I know they are struggling financially. They are currently £1,100 in arrears and I also know they’ve been advised by the local authority to stay put and be evicted by bailiff (I know this because the housing office called me when she went to see them!).

They have asked me to return the deposit early to help them to get into the house they are allegedly moving to. I have explained that at best I can return the deposit less the current arrears.

I know that if I do not return the balance of deposit early, there is a very high risk they will stay on, without paying any more rent, until they are formally evicted. But I also know that even if I return the deposit early, there is still no guarantee that they will leave on the agreed date, or leave the house in a decent state.

I am inclined to take the risk and repay the balance of the deposit, in the hope they will just leave as agreed on the 29th. But should the tenants then decide to stay on and await eviction, will this put me in a sticky situation of any sort, having returned the deposit?

Answer

3 Comments

  1. guildy

    Certainly paying back the remainder of the deposit early will not affect possession. However, your fear is real and in reality they will likely take the money and not use it on their new property and simply remain in yours until bailiffs.

    You could initially ask “is the money for a deposit on a new place?” If they reply “yes” you could offer to transfer the deposit early to the letting agent or landlord they are moving to. That way you will know it’s genuinely being used for the deposit for the new property. Just check with the agent / landlord that their application has been accepted before paying! If the tenant doesn’t agree to this, it’s probably because it’s not true!

  2. JungleProperty

    Roll on the Homelessness Reduction Act which will give local authrities less wriggle room

  3. Reluctant_landlady

    Indeed! Something they should have brought in years ago. 16 years after first becoming a lanlord, I now have an awful lot of white hair.

    Thanks as always for your useful advice Guildy, I have now offered to pay the money directly to the new landlord/agent and just waiting for the tenant’s response.

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