Abandonment of Property

My tenant has left the country and have said that they are not coming back to the flat due to Coronavirus. They texted me on 1st April, the day their rent was due to say that they were not paying and not coming back to the flat. The main problem is that they have left their personal belongings in the flat and have no one here to remove their property. They want me to leave the property empty until they can come back and take their goods, without paying rent or bills.

How long is reasonable to give them to remove their goods and who is liable for the Council tax in the meantime?

If you have a contract with them they are responsible for the council tax. Hold the goods for one month and tell them if not collected they will be disposed of to defray expenses

PS did you get any keys off them

I have my own set of keys, they have their sets with them overseas

Does anyone know, legally, when I can change the locks?

If they still have the keys then you are not in possesion thus they pay the council tax and water and electric charges and gas. You could put the furniture in a cntainer but you would have to pay .However they have said they will come back for their stuff. so that is not abandonment . It is abandoned if they dont come back a month after the end of the .lease. I dont think you can change the locks till then … if in a landlords association ask them.

Hi Linda, sorry to hear about this tough situation.

There’s quite a few considerations in play with this one, so it might be worth speaking to our legal partners, Landlord Action, who are specialists in this kind of end-of-tenancy scenario.