Does tenant breakdown constitute emergency?

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Posts: 21
Joined: Tue May 24, 2022 12:02 pm

Does tenant breakdown constitute emergency?

Post by Minkylala »

Hi All,

Appreciate any guidance on a tricky situation please.

Tenants 12 month assured shorthold tenancy is coming to an end in a month. I advised I plan to increase rent due to increase in mortgage rates etc...
He said he can't afford, so will need to move out and is looking for a lower cost property, I have given him a nice reference to help as he's been a pretty good tenant and had a few knocks in life.
I advise him I'll send him paperwork and serve section 13 rent increase notice and Form 6A notice requiring possession (no fault eviction).
We arrange via Whatsapp (as our normal communication method) after a bit of back and forth with dates, for me to visit the following week on a Sunday afternoon when he would be there, so I can take some pics to start the ball rolling on advertising to find a new tenant.
On the Friday afternoon before the agreed Sunday I receive a call from his sister informing me tenant has had a breakdown and is in hospital. Horrible shock, of course I pass on my wishes for a speedy recovery and explain the situation and that I was hopeful that he could find funds to be able to stay, so it's a sad situation.
I'm also worried in case he's left the property unsafe. I had childcare obligations on Friday night and Saturday, so visited the property at my first opportunity and as previously agreed on the Sunday to check all is safe and secure, plus to take pics as planned - although the place is in a state, unclean, garden full of weeds, he's started to pack his belongings and so can't use pics to advertise as definitely would put off interested prospects.
I text his sister to ask how tenant is doing and to confirm I visited as planned and that I didn't want to contact him to add to his stress, so asking her advice on how to proceed regarding his plans to sort things out and whether she will be taking over his affairs.
Get rude text back saying 'who gave you permission to enter my brothers property there was no family. You had no right to enter. I have checked this you are in the wrong'.

Question is was I in the wrong? We previously agreed I could visit on Sunday afternoon, which I have Whatsapp message proof of. Plus does my concern for the safety and security of the property and others (e.g. semi-detached neighbours in case he's left the gas on) constitute an emergency visit?

Many thanks!
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:34 am

Re: Does tenant breakdown constitute emergency?

Post by SwitchRich »

Difficult one as the tennant usually has to agree to the inspection. If they have agreed and you have that in writing then your visit should be fine IMO.
It's better to do these via email as that is explicitly recognised in the Landlord Act but both email and WhatsApp are used in court as the "written word".
WhatsApp does have the advantage of the blue tick to show proof of reciept of that message.
How you proceed from here is going to be very challenging. It might be worth getting some professioanl advice on how best to proceed. A fight can cost thousands in arrears and repairs.
And an emergency is for things like a gas boiler potentially leaking or becoming dangerous from lack of service. Or water escape that is damaging the fabric of the building. This in my view is not an emergency.
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