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To call the police if someone tries to drill the lock on my front door?

(134 Posts)
MelamineTeapot Sun 19-Jul-15 22:05:43

To cut a long story short, this is what my letting agent is threatening to do tomorrow morning. They informed me of this on Thursday evening by email and the only way I could avoid it was by giving them a set of door keys by 5pm Friday, which was impossible due to my working hours and also that I only have 1 set myself!

I've been panicking about it all weekend. I tried to get some advice from the council and Shelter, but all they can tell me is that it is illegal for the letting agent to do this, but no one can suggest what I should do if they keep to their word. I'm scared to be here tomorrow as I'm a single parent with 2 young children, but I'm worried that if I go out, I won't be able to get back in later.

So I don't have to drip feed, I'm not behind on my rent, or breech any other terms of my tenancy which I signed in March. In fact I paid the rent then in advance for the full 6 months up to Sept 12th. Then last month the letting agent contacted me to ask if i wanted to renew it for another 6 months from September. I said yes, but they told me they would only draw up the contract if I paid another 6 months rent (plus they put the rent up by another £100 a month) and a £120 renewal fee within 14 days. I wasn't able to do that so they put the house back on rightmove. Fair enough and I've started looking for somewhere to move to but then out of the blue on Thursday I got the email demanding keys back or they will drill the locks.

I'm really worried about what is going to happen and the only thing i can think to do is phone the police, if someone does start drilling the locks. My address and phone numbers are gold listed, due to abusive XP, so they would come quickly. But is that the right/best thing to do? I don't want to waste police time. AIBU?

HungryHorace Sun 19-Jul-15 22:10:04

If they haven't served you with a valid Section 21 Notice (which they haven't, judging by your post) then you don't have to go anywhere anyway.

But, clearly that's not the immediate issue here. I'm not sure if the police would see it as a civil matter or criminal. But I'd be tempted to call the non-emergency number for advice as it's certainly not a legal eviction.

coconutpie Sun 19-Jul-15 22:10:10

You've paid up til Sept 12th - they cannot change the locks, that would be an illegal eviction. I would call the police for trespass / trying to gain access.

HungryHorace Sun 19-Jul-15 22:11:48

As in call them now and tell them the situation and get advice. Don't wait till they're actually drilling!

Just as an aside, is your deposit protected do you know? They sound more than a touch dodgy to say the least!

MissWimpyDimple Sun 19-Jul-15 22:14:03

You call the police. Unless they served a S21 notice 2 months ago they cannot drill the lock or demand keys.

6 months in advance is normal. A rent increase after 12 months is not, neither is £120 renewal fee!

Icimoi Sun 19-Jul-15 22:14:05

Do councils still have officers to deal with harassment of tenants? I think on any basis its a police matter as this is a clear threat.

redcaryellowcar Sun 19-Jul-15 22:14:12

If I were you I'd call 101 now, ask them for a plan of action, but I certainly wouldn't worry about wasting their time if you need to call them tomorrow, it sounds as if your landlord is behaving very badly.

WayneRooneysHair Sun 19-Jul-15 22:18:27

I don't understand why they want to drill the locks if you have paid rent up until September.

Icimoi Sun 19-Jul-15 22:19:48

Come to think of it, wouldn't this be breaking and entering?

jay55 Sun 19-Jul-15 22:24:12

Have you spoken to your landlord at all and not just the agency?

FesterAddams Sun 19-Jul-15 22:32:23

It is breaking and entering.
If they try it then call 999 immediately - don't worry about wasting police time and don't explain the ins and outs, just say that someone is trying to break in to your home.

MelamineTeapot Sun 19-Jul-15 22:32:54

Yes, that is all the advice Shelter/council could give me- that it would be an illegal eviction and that they need to send a section 21, which they haven't. But that is kind of beside the point, as I could get home tomorrow night and find I'm locked out of my home. I'm planning to take as many valuables and passports/kid's birth certificates with me to work. The worry is driving me mad though and I know I won't sleep tonight.

Also i know that paying 6 months in advance is normal and i have budgeted to pay this, if they offered me to renew in September. I would be able to pay it on September 1st. I hadn't planned on them expecting it to be paid on June 30th and tbh it would have been impossible for me to save that much anyway, even if I had known. That was only just over 3 months since I paid the last installment and essentially they were asking me to pay rent for March 2016, in June 2015, which is almost 9 months in advance!

ReallyTired Sun 19-Jul-15 22:34:26

Have you changed the locks without permission? Surely your agency/ landlord have a spare set of keys. Even if you have changed the locks, I don't think that gives the letting agent the right to drill the locks. The landlord can change the locks, but it has to be done by appointment with the tenant.

You paid your rent and have the right to live there unless a court sees the breach of contract as serious enough to evict you.

I don't think it's unreasonable for you to contact 101 and tell the police you have been threatened with unlawful eviction. Certainly if s locksmith turns up and attempts to drill the lock without informing you there is a good case for dialling 999.

Stripyhoglets Sun 19-Jul-15 22:34:32

Ring police if they try and break in. Ring the council's housing dept tomorrow to see if they can advise you on this as it is illegal. They cannot evict you attend any stage without a court order

sparechange Sun 19-Jul-15 22:40:01

When they gave you your keys, was there any arrangement to give them a set? If not, you are under no obligation to now give them keys! The landlord should have their own set (which they can only use with prior agreement)

You need to get on the phone to them first thing tomorrow and play hardball - you've taken legal advice on your position, you know they have no right to follow through with their threat and you will be taking legal action if they do...

squishyeyeballs Sun 19-Jul-15 22:41:37

Is it a case that you have changed the locks and the letting agent needs access to show the potential new renters?

AnotherEmma Sun 19-Jul-15 22:41:54

Bloody hell, the letting agent's demands and threats are totally illegal. No wonder you're stressed.

It would be madness for them to change the locks - as PPs said it is breaking and entering. You have a contract and have paid your rent until September FFS!

I think it's a good idea to find somewhere else to live from September. But if you do stay there, why would you have to pay a renewal fee? And why pay the next 6 months now? Ridiculous.

Apart from getting advice from council, Shelter and non-urgent police, you could also try CAB.

And when this has all blown over would you consider making a complaint to the letting agent or to any industry associations they are members of? At the very least, name and shame the bastards!

AntiHop Sun 19-Jul-15 22:42:17

It's appalling how they're treating you op. You've done nothing wrong. I think calling the police if they arrive at your door is a perfectly valid thing to do seeing as they are breaking the law.

GarlicDoughballsInGlitter Sun 19-Jul-15 22:49:52

Goodness! How stressful! It certainly sounds very very dodgy.

I agree calling the police for advice would be the best option and 999 if they actually start drilling while you are there. Taking the. Laudable sand paperwork to work is a good idea. Maybe pack a small overnight back too? Just in case.

I hope you get it sorted!

Sometimesjustonesecond Sun 19-Jul-15 22:52:53

Once you get all this sorted, I would refuse them access to show new people around. Make the fuckers wait until your lease has run out and you have moved.

Georgethesecond Sun 19-Jul-15 22:53:48

What would they need to drill the lock, have you changed it?

wowfudge Sun 19-Jul-15 22:55:35

squishy the law (which overrides any clause in the tenancy) does not allow the landlord or his agent to enter the property without the permission of the tenant except in an emergency.

OP - do you have a receipt for the rent you paid and has your deposit been protected?

notapizzaeater Sun 19-Jul-15 22:58:28

How worrying, id be making sure the police are aware before tomorrow

BlueThursday Sun 19-Jul-15 22:59:21

Is there any way you can be off work, call in sick even? I don't advocate sick days but this is a massive exception. You'd be sitting worrying about home in any case, making yourself ill

Mintyy Sun 19-Jul-15 23:01:20

I'm surprised to see people saying that paying 6 months rent in advance is "normal". I never saw it happen in the several years I worked in the business. Obviously that doesn't mean it never happens, just that it is a relatively rare thing surely? What is the name of this so-called letting agency op?

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