Can a landlord change the locks if tenants fail to move out after giving notice to quit?

Screenshot 2015-07-20 17.47.03The question & the answer…. :-

My tenants gave notice to quit the property, which will expire in about 10 days’ time.

They were meant to grant access for the property to be viewed by prospective tenants today but failed to do so, even though it was agreed that they would, this was after the inability to enable viewing access for over a week now.

I would like to know what I could do in the event that they do not leave the property when their notice expires. Would I still need a court order to get them out or can their notice to quit be taken as ending the tenancy and I can enter to change the locks?

Answer

No, you cannot change the locks. Changing the locks would entitle them to bring a claim against you for compensation for unlawful eviction.

You can only ever change the locks if the tenants have actually vacated, and even then it is sometimes wiser to get an order for possession.

If tenants fail to vacate after giving notice to quit then to get possession you will I am afraid have to get a possession order. You can do this on the basis of the notice to quit that they have served.

However you may not need to as there is a very old law which provides that tenants who don’t vacate after giving notice to quit are liable to pay you double rent.  If they know this (and I suggest you tell them) they  will probably take care to move out in good time.