Does tenant forfeit any rights by moving out?

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Tony D
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Dear RLA,

I have a tenant in a property which is managed by an agent. The contract has gone well beyond it's initial 6 month period, and is now rolling. The tenant is entitled to two months' notice.

The tenant has not paid rent for six months. I believe the agent served the tenant with a section 21 some time ago. I don't know if this was a Section A or B.

I want the tenant out. The tenant was observed removing their furniture from the property recently. The property looks empty of their possesions and the garden is unkempt.

A few questions:
Is there a time limit on a Section 21, or does it run until the end of the tenancy?
Does the none payment of rent and the apparent vacation of the property mean that the tenant has forfeited occupation rights, such that we can change the locks and relet the property immediately?
If not, and the tenant has gone AWOL, what are the next steps for legal repossession, especially if the tenant is hard to get hold of?

I am not happy with the performance of the agent. I want to change to another one or perhaps manage the next tenancy myself. Do you have a view on whether changing immediately will
- delay the repossession process?
- reduce the chances of the agent pursuing the tenant for back rent? (They are entitled to 10% + VAT for their "management")

Many thanks

01/09/2009 00:00

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