Abandonment and legal Possession

Hi, I have read through historical posts on this community about Abandonment. I have lots of evidence to suggest my tenants have abandoned my property. Of course I have tried to contact the tenants but to no avail. From contacting various reliable sources it seems there is a bit of a grey area with abandonment and gaining legal possession, and was wondering if anyone could vouch for my findings.

Some sources are saying that as long as you follow the process of notices given in the Houses and Planning Act part 3 you are able to effectively gain back possession of the property. As long as you keep your evidence to prove, if later down the line these tenants claimed illegal eviction, you can defend such a claim.

Other sources are saying that the only true way to gain legal possession (other than the tenants responding and surrendering possession by signing a deed of possession and witnessing keys being handed over), is to go down the eviction process.

The tenants ‘in situ’ are currently 1 month in arrears, and very soon will be in 2 months, so I can serve a section 8. With the second option of eviction, what happens to ongoing rent whilst the eviction process is going through? Say for example if I give them the 2 months notice (which I understand is currently the notice period for tenants in more than 2 months of arrears according to Covid act 2020), they do no respond and I then make the claim through the courts, and this take another few months, that could be 5-6 months that property is vacant. Are the tenants liable for all this rent, council tax and costs?

To formerly ‘serve’ the eviction notice I have read that I only need to send this as a letter to the address, but this seems a bit convoluted if its very much apparent the tenants have abandoned the property. Is it just their tough luck, or should I send them an email too in the hope they will be able to read it.

Does anyone have a membership already with the NRLA, I spoke to them yesterday and they said if someone sends you the friend referral link we can both get a discount?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts on this.

I think currently it is four months notice ( Ben Beadle of NRLA said it would be two months as of September in May this year after discussions with government).
If your contract says serve notice to the property do just that. Send it first class mail. Get proof of postage from the post office( they give you a receipt). Do not send it recorded ( they can claim they did not sign for it so did not get it) or email if your contract does not allow it.
Send another notice on a consecutive day and get proof of postage for that). I would advise you take legal council if you are inexperienced as serving notices at this time has become complicated because of COVID).
Ref notice period , if in x months they are not there then rent and tax and legal costs can be claimed subject to your contract).
Do you have a guarantor.
I have sent a code to your personal email.

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Are the tenants living at the property or accessing it regularly? If not, how do you know this? What is your evidence that they have abandoned the property?

Hi David122, thanks for your reply. The evidence I have is I have received a letter from the council advising council tax is now due by me. I have written to the council to ask WHY I have received the invoice but yet to have as reply. Witnesses have advised they saw the tenants moving their belongings out. I have visited the outside of the property and a energy supplier hand written letter is stuck on the front door. A pram in the communal hallway also with a note advising it will be removed and disposed off if not cleared by a certain date has been there on several visits. Their car has not been in the allocated space on each visit, I gave 24 hours notice to come to the property at which point I knocked on the door and rang the intercom and there was no reply. The tenants are in 2 months rent arrears, and not responding to texts or emails. Social media suggests they have moved into a new place. Pretty certain they have moved on.

Hi A_A
Thanks for the tip about the postage, I did wonder about that as if they have definitely abandoned the property how I am supposed to ‘serve’ the documents and have it documented so I can prove I sent it. Regretfully no there is no guarantor (lesson learned) but I have some other addresses for them. Thank you for the code. On the Gov UK website its states from 1st August the notice period changed to 2 months as long as they were in ‘4 months or less’ of rent arrears which they fall into, so I was going on that, but yes I have a quote from Landlord Action to do the eviction serving, so may go through them.

Record everything from social media, message on door from utility company and ask witnesses for affadavit.
That will probably be enough evidence for abandonment.
The tenant is responsible for council tax ( contract permitting) , email them your contract.
Landlord Action are reputable and recommended by NRLA.

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I would collect all the evidence you have keep it safe . Chnge the locks and take it back. But that is me I don t care for these type of people. I walked into a commercial let . They had paid rent but not the electric bill to thesupplier .I told the staff I would take £200 every week till the elec was paid. I got the elec co £800 and sent it off under his name . I then went to his house, told him I was taking the property back at the end of the month. and he left Be bold and do not be walked over. ( i know someone will say It s different for a private rental)

As above, collect and keep all the evidence. Have a look at this video on abandonment. How can you determine if a tenant has left a rental property for good? - YouTube

I would then email/text the tenants and write to any next of kin you may have and tell them you believe that they have abandoned the property and the tenancy. Give them a reasonable deadline to let you know if this is not the case and then I would just change the locks and re-let. If you want to be even more secure, follow the abandonment procedure in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, but be aware that this is not law as it was never enacted.

I have written a very extensive article on abandonment that I know some within the NRLA recommend ( unofficially ) Unfortunately, Open Rent won’t allow me to say the address of my web site where this resource and forms can be accessed ( Without charge ) as they deem any Post mentioning my web site as advertising !