Tenant has not paid rent since March 2020

LS400

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As a LL and for others in a similar situation, following advice above to change locks and re-let the property, especially in these times would be a very silly thing to do.

Its easy to throw out wild suggestions knowing that if it goes pear shape, you wont be on the hook for a substantial payout. March is very recent in the letting world to be taking drastic actions as advised.

This person has the weight of the law to act the maggot and could, if needed draw this out for a long time.

Also, asking the Tenant to pay something towards their rent, restarts the clock on a lawful eviction on receipt of that payment. So for that reason, I would not advise any small token payments requests.
 
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Sarenco

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Why wouldnt you check first with the RTB before exposing yourself.
Check what?

The law is crystal clear on what happens in the circumstances outlined by the OP - there is no exposure to the RTB.

Again, you cannot unlawfully terminate a tenancy that has ceased to exist.
 

LS400

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Under normal circumstances, I get that.

But, under these circumstances,
the tenant comes back to Ireland next month, with a multitude of excuses, arrives at the Apt, finds the locks change, has been re-let, all her stuff in black bags... Seriously, rule books are by touch and feel here.

If I was in danger of having to pay compensation in the region of €10000, I would suck it up until a six month period has passed with hopefully no contact from the tenant. That to me would seem to be fair and reasonable. Not 3 months.

And as for it being a business, its a business with very little protection for the property owner.
 

Sarenco

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I would suck it up until a six month period has passed with hopefully no contact from the tenant.
Fair enough but I can't see any basis for that advice.

The Residential Tenancies Act is black letter law - it's not a vague rulebook.

What seems fair and reasonable to you is, with respect, irrelevant.
 

Baby boomer

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The Residential Tenancies Act is black letter law - it's not a vague rulebook.
I can absolutely guarantee you that there is no law so black or white that a good lawyer can't turn into a shade of grey. That is the essential skill of the lawyer.

Add to that the fact that the black, white or grey nature will be adjudicated upon by the RTB and you are looking at a clear and present danger of a five figure award against the lock changing landlord.

It's all down to how "vacate" is defined. In the current climate, the tenant is likely to get the benefit of every doubt.
 

LS400

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What seems fair and reasonable to you is, with respect, irrelevant.

Well, Its not really.

I know if the two of us went up before a judge, with us both having taken the actions we are dispensing, I wouldn't be opening my cheque book as quick as you if at all.

Fair and reasonable are whats a play here under these circumstances.
 

Baby boomer

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Vacating a dwelling simply means leaving the property uninhabited. The property has clearly been left uninhabited for weeks, with rent outstanding - the tenant has not been "temporarily absent".
There are scenarios where a property might be uninhabited for weeks but not vacated. Consider accommodation rented long term to students. The students may leave it uninhabited over the summer period. This is clearly not an abandonment of tenancy or vacating the property.

Alternatively, a tenant might decide to go on an extended holiday, leaving the property uninhabited for the duration. Again it hasn't been vacated.

For the relevant section of the Act to be operative, two independent conditions must be met. Vacancy and arrears of rent. Each must be demonstrated. Proving vacancy will require evidence of something more than mere absence that might be temporary.

It is up to the landlord to supply such evidence.
 

Sarenco

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Consider accommodation rented long term to students. The students may leave it uninhabited over the summer period. This is clearly not an abandonment of tenancy or vacating the property.
It most certainly is vacating the property!

Do you really think students can leave a property without notice once they finish their exams, stop paying the rent and then successfully claim damages at the RTB when they return in September to find that the property has been let to somebody else? Seriously!

You seem to think that vacating a property means leaving it uninhabited and indicating no intention to inhabit that dwelling in the future. That is not giving the word "vacating" its ordinary and common meaning. Frankly, you are inventing a concept that has no basis in law.
 

Baby boomer

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It most certainly is vacating the property!

Do you really think students can leave a property without notice once they finish their exams, stop paying the rent and then successfully claim damages at the RTB when they return in September to find that the property has been let to somebody else? Seriously!
That's not what I said! If the tenants have a Part 4 tenancy, then arrears of rent alone is insufficient for deemed termination. It also requires vacancy. So, define that. Is a day enough? A week? A month? Two months?
Did I vacate my house when I left to go to the supermarket this morning? It was left uninhabited for two hours, does that constitute vacating?

You seem to think that vacating a property means leaving it uninhabited and indicating no intention to inhabit that dwelling in the future. That is not giving the word "vacating" its ordinary and common meaning. Frankly, you are inventing a concept that has no basis in law.
OK so what's your take on the ordinary and common meaning?
I would suggest that a period of time alone is insufficient to establish vacancy. You have to look at the tenants behaviour as a whole to establish an intent to vacate.
 

LS400

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Sarenco,
Im commenting on this particular issue, in these particular times, where fairness and reason imho have a bearing.

As a property owner, I have been shafted by tenants with zero help in recovering costs, and so have more reason than most to get the hump.

Under "normal" circumstances, I can assure you I would be agreeing with your advice. But this aint normal, and this is about information supplied in the here and now, and not LS400 calling the RTB looking for them to gimme a break.
 

Sarenco

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Did I vacate my house when I left to go to the supermarket this morning?
Now you are being silly. You didn't stop inhabiting your house by popping out for a pint of milk! You still live there, right?
You have to look at the tenants behaviour as a whole to establish an intent to vacate.
There's no requirement to demonstrate an "intent to vacate" on the part of the tenant.

In this case, the tenant travelled to another country, has remained outside the jurisdiction for 10 weeks so far and stopped paying her rent.

That is clearly vacating the property.
 

Baby boomer

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Now you are being silly. You didn't stop inhabiting your house by popping out for a pint of milk! You still live there, right?

There's no requirement to demonstrate an "intent to vacate" on the part of the tenant.

In this case, the tenant travelled to another country, has remained outside the jurisdiction for 10 weeks so far and stopped paying her rent.

That is clearly vacating the property.
As LS400 has said, in normal times, you might be right. But right now? Do you not think this might change things?

And where do you draw the line somewhere between popping out for a pint of milk and 10 weeks outside the jurisdiction?

Would that line change if it was an Irish tenant who returned to the Mammy's house for the duration of the pandemic?

Would it change again if the tenant made sporadic returns to the property, possibly staying overnight on occasion?

Would it change if the tenant allowed a friend to use the property while it was "vacated?"

There are shades of grey here!
 

LS400

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Of course its Relevant.

Ive been unable to get back from Poland, I've received no wages, no Covid payments, cant afford my phone bill, Ive been very unwell and feared I have/had the illness, and now my home is gone through no fault of me own...

Get your cheque book out mate, and put plenty of zeros on it.

You would need a lot more information on the person before being so quick to turf her and her belongings out.

Would you really want to take that chance, or, give it more time, as it will cost you less in the long run. And yes, I would give it 6 months lost Rent as opposed a hefty fine decided by someone who thinks all LLs are mini banks.
 

Sarenco

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Do you not think this might change things?
No, Section 37(2) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 has not been impacted by The Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020.

At a more general level, the purpose of the emergency measures was to ensure that tenants could not be required to leave a dwelling during the lockdown period and that's obviously not relevant here.

There's really no point in dreaming up silly hypotheticals - in this case the tenant clearly vacated the dwelling, without notice, before or after the end of a period of 28 days of being in arrears. That's sufficient to trigger Section 37(2) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and the tenancy is therefore deemed to have been terminated by the tenant.
 

Sarenco

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Ive been unable to get back from Poland, I've received no wages, no Covid payments, cant afford my phone bill, Ive been very unwell and feared I have/had the illness, and now my home is gone through no fault of me own...
More made up facts that were not included in the OP. Regardless, the OP is not a charity.
You would need a lot more information on the person before being so quick to turf her and her belongings out.
The OP wouldn't have to turf her out - she's in Poland. I've no idea whether or not she left any belongings behind, nor do you.
 

Seagull

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Rather than listening to the debate on here, I would suggest you talk to a property law specialist. If the RTB decide you did the wrong thing, there is potential for a large payout.

Have you been in contact with the tenant? If so, is she planning on returning to Ireland? And will she start paying rent?
 
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