Possible abandonment of the property

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AW_816
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My agent has contacted me as they suspect my property has been abandoned by the tenant. From previous forum submissions it’s obvious I can get apply for possession ………… but my agent also mentions a "notice of abandonment” and the “Section 8”. Which is the best course in my particular circumstance bearing in mind the agent and the fact that this is a council tenant? Letter from agent below:

“On the 11th June I wrote to your tenant about arrears owing and on the 12th June. I delivered a letter by hand to the housing benefit Department at Barking & Dagenham requesting that the rent is paid direct to us as the tenant was 8 weeks in arrears. Under Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance regulations,the council will only pay the agent or Landlord direct if the tenant is 8 or more weeks in arrears.

I’ve left several messages for the tenant and she has not responded. I contacted LBBD housing benefit several times only to be informed there is a back log. I called them again yesterday only to be informed that all payments have been stopped. The Housing Benefit Officer would not discuss this further or give more explanation due to Data Protection. The monthly inspection was carried out today and I told our staff member to enter the property if no reply to check to see if there is evidence of anyone in occupation (or a dead body). Vince has reported that no food is in the fridge, the debt on the electric meter has increased slightly since last month. Some personal items remain at the property but overall he suspects she has vacated.

I contacted Newham to find out if there was any way I could find out, if perhaps, the tenant was in prison or something like that as one never knows. They inform that they would not be able to release this information even if they were aware.

Under Housing Act regulations, you cannot immediately take possession of your property. A “notice of abandonment” can be issued but I think the Landlord has to wait 4 weeks before taking the matter through the courts. The other option is to issue a section 8 for rent arrears. After 14 days, an application for possession for non payment of rent can be made through the courts.”

I have an agreement with the agent guaranteeing payments to me until the end of the tenancy which is September even though the tenancy agreement is with me – so a bit confusing who should be fighting for the arrears, too.

Advice on getting possession back and also the arrears would be gratefully received before speaking to my agent.

16/07/2009 00:00

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