Evicted tenant requesting access for belongings

#1
Our tenant was successfully evicted by High Court Enforcement Officers on 24th October. He was not at the property at the time, so the locks were changed preventing him access on his return. He has now been in touch requesting access to retrieve his belongings. The flat is in London and we live in Yorkshire. We have been sent the keys and there is no-one locally who is able to give him access. I am unsure on a number of counts: 1) Is there a timeframe in which he must be given access? 2) What risk is there to us if he is given entry to the property... i.e. could he choose not to leave and claim squatters rights? Should we therefore arrange for a bailiff to be present when he is given access? And if so, can this cost be passed to him? 3) Finally, he missed paying 5 months of rent, so we are owed (along with court costs) well over £5000. If he has belongings, furniture etc that has a value, surely we should be allowed to retain and auction this to recover costs, rather than let him retrieve these items? We have submitted a Money Claim application to the courts a couple of weeks ago, but have heard nothing back as yet.
 

Jeffrey Shaw

Member
Staff member
#2
If he wants to enter, there are obvious risks. You or someone on your behalf must supervise entry, the terms of it must be agreed beforehand (IN WRITING, signed by T), and T should be required to pay your costs- e.g. sending keys to your Agent [recorded delivery?], the Agent's own fees, etc.
And yes- the agreed terms ought to entitle you as L to retain T's goods to the value of what T owes (unless T wants to pay-up that debt in full).
 
#3
Thank you Jeffrey. Would the agent normally be an estate agent? i.e. the Lettings agent who managed the property? Or are there specific agents who would oversee this kind of thing? Do we need to have a legal document drawn up, or just provide a letter outlining what is expected... eg. how long he is allowed in the property for, what time, on what date etc. As it turns out there is nothing of real value left in the property, just clothes, linen, a few small items of furniture (bookcases etc) and cooking utensils. It seems we will have to continue to pursue monies owed via the courts.
 

Jeffrey Shaw

Member
Staff member
#4
As L, you can appoint anyone your agent: a friend/relative/neighbour or the Letting Agent.
To be on the safe side, equip whomever you appoint with a Letter of Authority. Give your agent all necessary powers to act on the day.