Illegal entry of property | The Tenants' Voice
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Illegal entry of property

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1095 views 1 replies latest reply: 01 July 2015

Hi, I have an ununsual situation, I have a 12 month tenancy agreement finishing soon, but I have since bought a property and have moved out and vacated the flat. We spoke to our agency and explained the situation and there was the possibility to move out early and get some money back, but due to incompetence on their part and a lack of communication with the landlord it has not been possible. We accept that, despite our frustrations with the way they handled it and understand we are liable for the duration of the contract.

The agency know that the property is now empty and have started showing it entering the property without our permission, we are still the legal tenants and have at no point given them permission to come and go as they please, I understand this action is illegal, but what rights do I have in terms of terminating the contract early as they are in breach of the terms, and claiming compensation. To make matters worse not only are they entering the property they are leaving lights on.

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Hi John

Do you have a break clause in the tenancy? That normally allows for you to terminate the contract legally after six months so would at least remove half the liability.

Your agreement is with the landlord not the agent so it’s probably time that you made direct contact with the landlord – normally contact details should be in the tenancy agreement. You should point out that the agents are putting the landlord into a position where he is breaking the law (you could potentially sue for tresspass I think) and that if he wants them to be able to come and go freely then he needs to agree to surrender the tenancy now. If you have his agreement in writing to surrender the tenancy then your liability ends as this releases you from the tenancy.

As you say, until that happens you are still the legal occupiers and what the agents are doing is breaking the law. You could contact the agents and let them know you’re aware that they’re illegally entering the property, that until the tenancy is surrendered they must ALWAYS give you 24 hours notice – as required by both the tenancy and the Landlord and Tenant Act – and that if they don’t then you’ll be pursuing remedies for breach of tenancy and possibly for trespass against the landlord, including compensation for damage that they might cause while in the property without your permission. Although your remedies are against the landlord, the landlord could then take action against the agents as he will have an agreement in place with them so this is no empty threat.

In terms of your rights to terminate and get compensation – I’m not a lawyer so if you want legal advice it might be worth speaking to a solicitor. I’m not sure whether this is a big enough breach of tenancy to justify terminating the contract. If you were to stop paying rent, for example, that would be a much bigger breach so be careful of that. Compensation is generally only available where you can prove loss or some sort of emotional impact. It might be better at this stage to put in writing what is happening and make clear that the law (and the tenancy agreement) is being breached, which gives you a right to take action. You could offer the compromise that they surrender the agreement now and no action will be taken.


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