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I have a flat tenanted on a fixed term AST. The flat was…

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Hi, I have a...

Hi, I have a flat tenanted on a fixed term AST. The flat was broken into and became a Police crime scene (tragically a murder occurred outside, possible linked to a party inside the flat). The front and rear doors to the flat were kicked in and have to be replaced, place is trashed etc. Flat was and still is uninhabitable, drugs paraphernalia littered everywhere etc. Tenant stated he didn't want to return, which I considered understandable in the circumstances. I offered to surrender the tenancy but tenant wanted deposit back, but 2 months rent arrears had built up prior to break in.Now tenant says he wants to return to the flat even though it is still uninhabitable (awaiting insurance company to visit). AST has a clause that says if it is uninhabitable after a month either party can end the tenancy by serving notice. Tenant is not in occupation since the break in, so I can't be considered to have evicted him in the circumstances, can I? I don't want him back in the property, but don't want to fall foul of the law. He stopped paying the rent in Jan and says he won't pay it.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have been taken so far? Has any paperwork been prepared or filed?

Just email communication with the tenant and I did serve a notice for possession which I have not progressed yet.

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the flat located?

London SW5

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I want to know if I can terminate the tenancy due to the flat being uninhabitable

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: UK Law
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Answered in 1 hour by:
3/20/2018
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago
Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7,690
Experience: Solicitor
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Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

Do you have insurance ?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
there is buildings insurance through the freeholder which I part pay for via service charge.
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

Did you take out insurance in case the tenant had to move out because of damage etc?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

Has the local authority said it is unfit for human habitation?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No the local authority have not been involved, I have looked at the descriptions of uninhabitable and it seems applicable on a health and safety basis.
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

Can you get the Council in?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I am not sure, I haven't tried. I am meeting the tenant on Thursday and don't think I could get the council in by then.
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

Ok - if it is not habitable then the tenancy has ended. The tenant can not move back in

Technically you are responsible for alternative accommodation until the fixed tenancy ends, which is what insurance would cover.

But if the property is not suitable to live in, then the tenant simple can't move back in.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

If not I would appreciate a 5 star rating for my answer. If you need more help, you can ask follow up questions for free and I would be delighted to assist. Thanks!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I am worried that the tenant will accuse me of unlawful eviction by not allowing him to return (even though it is a health risk hazard) - is this a prospect?
Is there a definition of habitable that will apply in this situation?
Also, there is nothing in the tenancy agreement that obliges me to provide alternative accommodation and as he is not paying rent would I really be responsible for this?
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

That is why you need to get the Council in to confirm the state.

You are not qualified to make that determination - only the Fire or Council are.

If he is not paying rent, then you dont need to provide an alternative.

Does that clarify?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No it doesn't clarify, you are contradicting yourself in your answers.
Solicitor: Jamie-Law, Solicitor replied 4 months ago

Fire service or council can say its unfit.

You are not qualified.

Does that clarify?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Your earlier answer said:
"Ok - if it is not habitable then the tenancy has ended. The tenant can not move back in
Technically you are responsible for alternative accommodation until the fixed tenancy ends, which is what insurance would cover.
But if the property is not suitable to live in, then the tenant simple can't move back in."This is different to what you are now saying, that it must be Fire or Council.Also, differing advise on paying for alternative accomodation.I'm afraid I don't have confidence in your answers.
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