Tenant has vacated HMO, kept the keys and returned to cause damage

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A
Allie
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I have an HMO, occupied by 3 people. Over the past year there has been deliberate damage to the property (call points ripped off the walls) which I believed Tenant 1 was responsible for, but had no proof. In December the radiator in Tenant 1's room "fell off" the wall, strengthening my suspicions.
When his contract came up for renewal at the end of January, he told me he'd like to renew, but then didn't return the new tenancy agreement. Last week the benefits agency attempted to reclaim the past 2 month's LHA from me, stating that he had moved in December.
I appealed on the grounds that he was still residing in the property, however when my keyholder checked, it looked like he had cleared out. He still has the keys though.
Today my keyholder informed me that the fire alarm system has been ripped off the wall and smashed. I suspect this is Tenant 1's response to me telling the benefits agency to reclaim the LHA from him.

My question is: without proof that he was responsible, is there any way I can fast-track the termination of his tenancy in order to change the locks?
The other problem is the other 2 tenants are friends of his, so he will still have access. What can I do?

17/03/2009 00:00

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