What Happens if a Tenant Leaves Without Notice?Written By PropertyLoop February 18, 2021
A nightmare scenario for a landlord is if their tenant stops paying rent and leaves without notice.
Not only will the landlord suffer from loss of rent payments, but what about the worry over whether they should go ahead and get a new tenant in when the first Tenancy Agreement hasn’t been terminated properly?
Rent Arrears and Section 8 Evictions
Serving a Section 8 eviction notice informs the tenant you are looking to repossess your party because he or she has broken the Tenancy Agreement by not paying rent.
Mutually Surrendering the Tenancy
It sometimes happens that a landlord can get in touch with the ‘disappeared’ tenant to find out what happened. If it’s because the tenant has lost their job or for some reason can no longer afford the rent, then both parties could ‘mutually surrender ‘the tenancy in a written agreement. Or, they may agree to end the Tenancy Agreement formally as it would have gone anyhow.
The main issue is that the written agreement would stand up in court should the tenant change their mind and want to move back in after paying any outstanding rent on your property.
Having the written agreement should give you the confidence to then go out and find more tenants for the property.
Breaking the Tenancy Agreement
When a tenant wants to move out half way through a fixed six or yearly Tenancy Agreement they are breaking that Agreement they signed. They move out and stop paying rent. It appears as if they have abandoned the property.
How to Deal With a Break in a Tenancy Agreement
It could be that the tenant has recently been made unemployed and hasn’t been able to bring themselves to let you know in fear you’ll throw them out. If your tenant has been great up to this point then it might be an idea to ‘cut them some slack’ ie reduce their rent in the meantime until they get a job and can pay you back the discrepancy amount.
Find a New Tenant
The Agreement is on them to pay the rent so if they can’t, do they have someone who can take over the tenancy? This would mean you would avoid any nasty void periods.
Find New Tenants
If your tenant can’t find someone else to take over the remainder of the lease then they will have to pay until it ends. You can pursue them through the courts for this, if necessary.
Can a Landlord Keep Deposit for Unpaid Rent?
This is usually five weeks’ worth of rent so at least it’s another month’s rent you will be getting – and which is why a deposit is well worth taking.
Should you cut your losses or go to court?
It can be tempting to drag your tenant through the courts to recoup your lost rent money. But is it worth it? Court action can be costly, and take months to resolve.
It might be better to accept what happened and move on. Get in another tenant as soon as you can and put the whole scenario down to experience. Just don’t take it personally. At the same time, you could consider taking out landlord rent guarantee insurance. This means that – God forbid – should a similar situation occur in the future, you would at least be compensated for the void periods.
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