My tenant has apparently left the property without informing me.
The tenant removed all of her possessions. I heard this from a neighbour who witnessed her moving out and dropped by the following day to check and discovered the rear door of the property was ajar.
The neighbour contacted me to tell me this On visiting the property the rear door was ajar and all possessions had been removed and the keys had been put through the letterbox.
I have secured the property by locking the doors. I do not have a forwarding address and cannot confirm that she has abandoned/surrendered the tenancy.
She was in arrears but we were working towards a settlement although I had previously served a Section 21 notice date before this date.
As I cannot contact her and she gave no date for leaving I cannot explicitly confirm she has left.
Can I reasonably assume that she has abandoned and take possession immediately and start dealing with the utilities and local authority now.
Colin, tis is a classic example of implied surrender in action.
If you look at my blog post on implied surrender here you will see that three of the four elements I discuss are in place here:
- The tenant has removed all her possessions
- She has left the keys behind
- She is in arrears of rent
There is an additional element in this case which is that you needed to secure the property as the back door had been left open.
The only one of the four points which I mention in my post – the tenant mentioning that she was going – is missing. But instead you have served a section 21 notice which makes the prospect of her deciding to vacate permanently more likely.
In these circumstances her behaviour is such that it is reasonable to assume that she no longer intends to live at the property – as it is hard to see this as the behaviour of someone who intends to stay.
Therefore in law her actions can be taken as an implied offer to surrender the tenancy – which you can accept by going in and changing the locks.
So you should be safe to do this and to re-let to a new tenant.