Personal Safety of Tenants | The Tenants' Voice
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Personal Safety of Tenants

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1010 views 1 replies latest reply: 12 September 2014

I would like to know what the landlord’s responsibilities and obligations are in the case of one of his tenants in an HMO being taken following dramatic scenes by the police and mental health team and then being sectioned. This tenant had not paid rent for some months and eventually the landlord said he did not want this tenant back. The tenant has now entered the property while the others were out, so obviously still holds a key, and shows signs of wanting to move back in, so has been released. I have asked the landlord repeatedly to change the lock on the entrance to the property but he refuses. If other tenants personal safety is at risk, how do we force change of lock?

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Changing the locks to prevent a tenant from entering their home without following correct procedures to evict the tenant is considered illegal eviction which is a criminal offence.

If a tenant’s behaviour is causing problems for other tenants, the landlord of the property is legally required to take ‘reasonable steps’ to deal with the problem. If those responsible for the anti-social behaviour live in a licensable (HMO) then the license conditions will require the landlord to take reasonable and practical steps to prevent or minimise anti-social behaviour by the occupier/s. If the landlord does not take the steps required, then s/he will be in breach of the license conditions and this can result in the license being revoked.

Different situations need different solutions. The landlord may take steps to resolve the situation with the tenant through reasoning or the use of a mediation service. Sometimes problems happen because the occupier cannot cope in the accommodation without support. Where a tenant appears to be having severe difficulties coping, perhaps because of mental health problems, it might be appropriate for the landlord to contact Social Care Services to be involved.

If there is serious anti-social behaviour from a tenant, landlords can apply to Court for possession (that is to end the tenancy) using ‘Ground 14’ for an assured or assured shorthold tenant. There may be some extreme cases, where the tenant is very disruptive or violent. If they might be a danger to others, the landlord can consider asking the Court for an injunction against them. An injunction could, for instance, stop the tenant returning to the premises for a period of time or prevent them from behaving in a dangerous or threatening way.

It is advisable to keep detailed records of any incidents that occur and if you feel the landlord is not taking reasonable steps to resolve the situation you should contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and/or your local authority:

I wish you, your landlord and all the tenants in the HMO a resolution that will support everyone’s happiness and well being.

Disclaimer: This information is derived from personal experience and should not be relied upon as a definitive or accurate interpretation of the law.

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