Q: I own an investment property down in South Wales which has been let out to a single tenant for many years. There is a written agreement in place in the tenant’s name only, but the tenancy agreement has long since expired. I kept intending to have a fresh agreement drafted but somehow never got round to it and as she kept paying the rent every month it never seemed to matter too much.
However, the tenant wrote to me last month to say that she was leaving the property as she had split up with her partner who had been living there with her. Until then I had not been aware that there was anyone else living at the property but it now transpires that he has been there for quite some time. The tenant has now left the property but her former partner is still there and he is refusing to either leave or pay rent. As he does not have my permission to live at the property and was not named in the tenancy agreement, can I treat him as a trespasser and change the locks?
A: Although the occupier does not have your permission to occupy the property he has been allowed into occupation by the lawful occupier of the property, i.e. your former tenant. He is therefore not a trespasser and you will have to take the appropriate legal steps to have him removed from the property. Unfortunately changing the locks is not an option.
You should seek advice from a solicitor as soon as possible to establish what remedies are available to you. Appropriate notices will need to be served upon the occupier, followed by court proceedings if he refuses to vacate the property voluntarily.