Finding tenant in prison

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M
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I posted this on the members' helpdesk yesterday at 15.07 but, as I have not received a reply, I am not sure if you received it?

After learning that my tenant is in custody (whereabouts unknown),I have left the s21 at the flat, along with a 24 hour notice to enter the property and a note that I was going to change the locks to protect the property. I have since changed the locks. A neighbour has now obtained the keys to the property from the tenant's mother. She is willing to remove some of her son's possessions, but has no room to store most of it.

As I received LHA benefit on behalf of the tenant, I have emailed the LHA Landlord Liason team, to see what the position is regarding continued payment of the rent and if I can contact the tenant in custody, perhaps via his solicitor, to obtain some guidance on what he wants me to do with his possessions. I have read through the guides on ending a tenancy and also possession orders and the form N5b, however they do not really seem relevant. I note your point on unlawful eviction, but your guide on this area states "There is a Statutory Defence to Unlawful Eviction if the accused can prove that he believed and had reasonable cause to believe that the residential occupier had ceased to reside on the premises. This will always be a question of fact for the Jury to decide". Surely the tenant has ceased to reside on the premises if they are remanded in custody until 21 August, at least? I have the keys to the property and will have possession after the s21 expires. As the tenant is in custody, he can't remain in the property, so what role does the bailiff and possession order play?

There is an additional problem with the property. Before I even entered, I noticed a very strong smell. The property is full of flies (dead and alive!), due to the fact that the tenant kept (I am informed by the neighbours) four dogs in the flat. The carpet is full of urine,my feet were sticking to it and there is dog faeces and blood on a small quilt, plus old dog food and bones . In addition, Scottish Power have disconnected the electricity, so there is a strong smell from the fridge/freezer. I cannot open the windows as they are all locked and I do not have the keys. I need to remove the carpet at the very least, but this is very difficult with all the furniture still in situ. The flat has been in this state for 6 weeks now and the neighbours are very upset. I really don't know how to resolve this situation quickly.
This member has been thanked by 2 members for this post.
02/07/2014 16:29

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