Eviction proceedings or an abandonment notice?

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Disgruntled of the midlands
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I am the landlord of a property let on a 12 month AST. The tenant has not been paying his rent and is by now in arrears of 2400 which is 4 months. Initially he said he'd lost his job so I gave him a bit of time, but he clearly wasn't paying so I served him a section 8 notice to quit on the grounds of severe rent arrears. He was told in that to leave by last Friday.

I beleive he has left the property but am not absolutely sure.

He has not paid and is now not answering my calls. I went to visit the property and saw the the upstairs windows were all wide open . I could see through the window that a tap was running as one of the handles had been removed. Obviously I was concerned about the security of the house so I spoke to the neighbour who said it had been like that for 3 weeks. I asked him to enter with me as a witness and we went in.

It seems he has left. There are however a few possessions in the house - a shelf of books, a coat, a couple of old pans and a big pile of OK magazines (most recent march). There's a duvet on the bed, and a ashtray on the bedside table. There's a loaf in the fridge dated mid august and a few cans in the cupboard.

That's it. Nothing of value. Nothing personal, no clothes. Oh and there a big pile of mail there on the mat including bailiffs letters.

I think he's gone, so does the neighbour.

Is it worth going to court which will take probably 3 months and cost lots of cash, or can I just, as the agents have advised, just write to him and stick a notice on the door giving him 14 days, then change the locks?

Is it too risky to do this? I think the chances of him turning up are minimal, but I don't want to risk a charge of illegal eviction. Anyone got practical experience of this?

The agents themselves are heading for legal action but I'll keep that question for another time!

23/09/2010 00:00

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