Here is a problem for the blog clinic from Pippa who is a landlord
I am a landlady and I let my flat to a young man, he gave me a months notice as stated in the agreement but said that his friend who was already living there wanted to rent the flat instead, he gave me this persons contact details, paid his rent and sent me his keys.
I could not contact his friend and rent was not paid so I went to the flat, the friend was not there but it was full of belongings, one of the neighbours said they thought she was ‘travelling’. Then out of the blue 3 months later I had a call from her asking for the tenancy agreement.
I met her at the flat with her mother as a witness but she refused to sign the agreement because it was dated the day after the previous tenancy but she admitted the belongings we hers. She claimed that she hadn’t moved in because the previous tenant was her boyfriend and they had split up and she thought he was still living there. I was desperate for rent so I gave her a contract with a new date.
I want the 3 months rent that I owed, but I’ve been told I cannot pursue the new tenant because the arrears predates her agreement. Is this true?
I think you have a bit of a problem. You cannot claim against your original tenant as he gave notice and sent you his keys. The possessions in the property were not his.
At that stage you were ‘involuntary bailee’ of the items that were in the property. You would have been entitled to move them out (but not dispose of them – unless you had followed the procedure in the ‘Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1988 – and re-let the flat.
However now you have re-let the flat to the second person, but from a later date. I don’t think you can ‘backdate’ the tenancy to the date the previous tenant left, so I can’t see how the current tenant can be liable. Although I agree it seems very unfair.
What does anyone else think?