Female Tenant Moves Out Due to Violence

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A female tenant had lived very happily for 4 years in a private rented property. The landlord was delighted with her as a tenant as she paid the rent on time, was always pleasant and looked after the property well. An ideal tenant – until Cupid unleashed his arrow and she fell in love.

The landlord did not like the look of him, but did not want to lose his female tenant so made no objection to him moving in. First mistake – loves young dream may not be in the best position to decide that he would move in and he would behave like the tenant. References may have revealed something that gave both the landlord and the tenant concerns, but he did not pursue this.

Some months later, the female tenant looks cowed, frequently has a black eye or bruises, the formerly pristine property now has holes in the panelled doors, a door hanging off in the kitchen and a vicious dog, which made his presence known with a smell and stained carpets. 

The landlord was in a quandary. He was not a tenant, so there was no legal agreement between them. When the landlord suggested he leave, he refused to do so, saying he was there at the invitation of the female tenant, though private conversation had elicited the fact that she was terrified of him. The Police were suggested – ‘he’d kill me’ and she had no-one who could put any weight on the brutal ex ‘love of her life’.

The female tenant secretly relinquished her tenancy and went to stay with her mother. The landlord was left with a deteriorating property and no rental income. What could he do? 

Fortunately, despite the pleas of the besotted female tenant when she moved Casanova in, the landlord would not allow him to become party to the tenancy; a local authority would generally expect that the new couple be together a year before the second name could go on the tenancy, so this landlord was behaving with the same caution as a local authority. 

Therefore, when the female tenant relinquished the tenancy, his status was that of an illegal occupier; he only had a right to stay there at the invitation of the female tenant and as she was no longer there, that right was gone. 

The landlord should issue a Notice to Quit, with a 28-day limit on it. If he remains in the property after the expiry of that, apply to Court for a Possession Order. 

Sadly, these things take longer than most landlords would want, but there is a legal procedure in place. Although many landlords will be anxious to re-coup some of their losses, NEVER accept rent from this unwanted visitor. To do so would establish a legal tenancy and there would be the complications that brings of length of tenancy. He may argue that he has paid the rent on behalf of the female tenant – that is irrelevant. You had no agreement with him; the rent was paid in the female tenant’s name.

Should the landlord let the original tenant back into his property? That is up to him.  However, he must remember, she relinquished the tenancy; if she wants to return, a new tenancy would have to be established. I think I would want to know that she has no contact with the former lover; he was violent and unpleasant and may take his anger out on the property. It may not be worth the risk.

For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon

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