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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7149
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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I got an Order for Possession from County Court because the

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I got an Order for Possession from County Court because the tenant was not paying rent--arrears of £5600+ She had to leave by the 16th January 2013.I texted her and phoned her a few times before that date to find out when she was vacating the flat.She ignored all this.
On the 16th I went to the flat,entered it and found that she has taken most of her possessions but there remained about 8 laundry bags' full of her clothes.The kitchen was empty and so was the bathroom--I took photos of all this.She is obviously not living at this flat.
The next day I had a phonecall from her lawyer lecturing me about the illegality of my actions and that her client wanted the keys (as I had changed the locks) and that she would only leave after the bailliffs come.So i gave her the keys.
I went there again yesterday (with a plumber to stop a leak) to find the door wide open (not even on a latch) with her few belongings still in the flat.So I have again changed the lock! I am aware that what I have done is not right!! Or is it? I have just secured my property and safeguarded my interests.
I have two questions
1)What can she/her lawyer do to get me into trouble?
2)I have not instructed the Bailliffs but last time I had a similar situation the bailliffs took over six weeks to act.Is there any faster way to "evict" this tenant ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your patience.

I would say that if you entered before before she physically vacated the property in accordance with the Court order then it is potentially a breach of contract, at most.

It might be a breach if she was still permitted to be in the property under the Court Order. It would not be something that the police were interested in as a crime.

In theory, she might be able to sue you for this breach of contract but I can’t see them doing this because presumably they would consider there was a fairly good chance that you might be able to defend on the basis that you wished to oversee her vacation of the property without disturbance or harm to the property.

As to changing the locks again yesterday I would say they might claim this as a breach but you would counter claim that she placed herself in breach by not occupying the property in a tenant like manner and leaving the door open.

I would refer to the tenant breaching by leaving the door open and stating that you had no choice but to secure it. Keep her items and invite her to return them.

If they ask for the keys back then you should instruct a bailiff, it sounds like the one you had last time was very, very slow. It shouldn’t take too long.

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Kind regards,

Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7149
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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