Abandoned property

My tenant hasn’t paid rent for 8 weeks now and i was going to issue a section 21 at the 8 weeks point. I have been trying to communicate with tenant through whatsapp and text but never got any reply, so I went round at about the 4/5 weeks of no rent where we had a discussion and she was under the impression that the rent had been getting paid and would like into it, as you can guess we never came back to us. I sent another whatapp and text explaining that she was leaving us with no choice but to consider taking things further. Surprise Surprise she gave 1 months notice within 6 hours, so we confirmed that tenancy would end on the 13th December. We have not heard anything since and have tried contacting to arrange end of tenancy inspection for 13th December, so we called round today and the property looked abandoned so we looked through back window and there is only a settee in the living room and kitchen is empty… The garden is full of rubbish like smashed TV, fridge and just general junk.

Am I right in thinking we are legally not able to enter property until the 13th December as this would relate to the 1 months notice she gave?

Can we change locks on the 13th December as this is the tenancy end date?

Can we dispose of all the possessions/junk that have been left behind?

This is the 1st time I have experienced this, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

kind regards

You can enter with 24 hrs notice for inspection only, but yes, you can take possession by changing the locks on 13 December. Your tenancy agreement should tell you how long you have to keep their stuff. Often it says 14 days. If its silent then I would keep it a month. Either way, you should make repeated efforts to give it back, even if you get no reply. You can throw away obvious junk or perishables, (take photos of it though), and you don’t have to keep it at the property if you want to re-let.

Thank you for your help

I’m sure you’ve already re-entered the property, but as David122 says, a 24 hr is all that is required as long as it is during a reasonable time of day etc.

However, in the future if this should happen again, iun an emergency, you can access your property and you do not need to issue a notice. Do note though this is rare and shouldn’t be exploited, with some examples below:

  • There is a fire in the property
  • There is a smell of gas
  • Flooding coming from the property
  • There has been structural damage which urgently needs attention
  • There is the suspicion of a violent or criminal incident

Given the state of the property, you could always find a way to make the above fit the glove, as such.

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it

Yes we entered property today after the tenant never turned up to hand keys over. We have sent a message saying we will dispose of her possessions/junk that has been left behind after 14 days if we don’t hear anything from them.

Now onto the clean up job.

It’s technically 3 months that LL has to hold on to things. You can charge storage but if it’s unlikely you will ever see them again it’s a pain to store fir no reason. But if they come back 2 months later saying they want their belongings, and you don’t have them, that could be problematic fir LL.

That’s probably not the case in most circumstances Amy8. That rule of 3 months is only if the bailor owes the bailee a debt in relation to the goods retained. A landlord is an involuntary bailee and not really in that circumstance. It has been said that goods should be kept for 3 months if rent is owed, but most solicitors I’ve spoken to think that is excessive and not a reasonable interpretation of the Interference with Goods Act.

I do hope you have photos of everything including the garden. You’ll need receipts for clearance, you can also apply charges if fair and reasonable. All you claims should be itemised including damage or repair , you will be asked for the evidence above by the deposit scheme used to claim against the deposit.

Keep screen shots of all WA messages, copies of emails, letters , visits and summary of conversation. Otherwise you could lose out on a technically. This will at least make up for some of the lost rent.

If you know the tenants personal details, mobile, NI, car number. There are ways to pursue them, if needed.

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Thank you for your response.

Yeah I have done a video, but I am going to take photos as well just to be on the safe side.

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Feel sad when I read how tenants treat their rented places.
I am a pensioner with a disability , my son is my main carer. We have been looking for a ground floor in enfield long term. Hoping to find it soon. Glad I found open rent at least it tells people who accept dss.
Regards Andy

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