What to do when your tenants leave their belongings at end of tenancy?
As Managing Agents of rental properties, I’ve seen my fair share of strange and unbelievable. But, nothing surprises me more than when tenants pay their rent on time then do a moon light flit leaving all their furniture and waste at the property.
It’s frustrating, but unfortunately becoming an increasing reality for lots of Landlords and their Agents.
So where do you stand as a Landlord? and what are the steps you need to take to make good the property ready for re-renting.
Abandoned goods- this comes under the ‘The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977’ which states that a landlord can sell or dispose of goods left in a property, if, reasonable and exhaustive efforts to trace the tenant or owner of the goods fail. If the tenant is traced, the landlord must serve notice stating their aim to i) dispose of the items, ii) for the tenant to make contact to arrange collection, or iii) that storage or disposal of the items will incur costs and these costs will be recouped from any profit from the sale of the possessions. The Landlord must give a reasonable notice period which is generally indicated within the Tenancy Agreement. The general timescale in most cases would be fourteen days.
Disposal of goods – Once the fourteen days are over it would be wise to create a separate Inventory of the tenant’s possessions with photographs. This may help in the future if the tenant decides to claim that you disposed of a family heirloom amongst all the furniture and rubbish that was left at the property!
Claim on the Deposit – this can be a tricky procedure as generally you will need permission from both the Landlord and the Tenant who have agreed on any claim. But when Tenants disappear with no forwarding address and all means of contact have been exhausted, this procedure can take longer to process dependent on which Government Deposit scheme you are with. You should always ensure that you keep a log of any communications that you send out to tenants who are being evasive as you will need this evidence to prove that you have tried your best to contact them. Keep all quotes and receipts for any work that you need to have done on the property to ensure it is brought back to a rentable standard.
It is an unfortunate situation but it’s best to be patient and let the legal procedures and timings take their course.
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