We rolled over a 2 year tenancy for a further 6 months in Oct 2016. Initial request to change to rolling monthly contract or 3 month contract were declined by the landlord (LL). We wanted it short term/flexible, as a visa from UK to Australia was being processed and we didn’t know if or when it would be granted. Visa has now been granted and we have moved to Aus and served 2 months notice in Nov 2016. This left 3 months of the lease remaining. The property has been marketed since Nov, however they have not found new tenants yet.
In the 8 years of having the flat the LL has stated it’s only been empty for 5 days, due to its popular location and good condition. We are aware of friends of ours applying twice and being rejected by LL even though they have the same situation (married, professional couple, one toddler).
We moved out on the 2nd Jan but the last monthly rent payment took us up to the 12th Jan. We expected a new tenant to be found; as they had from Nov to market it and we knew we would face a penalty of 10% of the remaining rent (3 months). With no new tenant a further payment has been taken for Feb.
I enquired if the landlord had taken back possession but was advised that she has not. I also know that she planned to carry out some improvement works in the flat, such as painting etc after our tenancy and before the new tenancy. The agent has confirmed that the flat is currently being painted throughout, which no doubt I will be billed for. I am in effect paying the rent for her to decorate her own flat.
Does the fact that without me as the tenant being advised they have commenced improvement works constitute the landlord taking back possession?
Also when I asked for the check out report I was advised it won’t be completed until new tenants are found or the lease expires. What if damage is done after the 2nd Jan when we moved out, especially as they have had painters in?