Buying a flat at auction that has an absentee tenant

This is a bit of a mess. I am new to the Open Rent Community. All the information below I’ve gleamed from neighbours and from what little I heard from the auction people.

I am in the process of buying a flat at auction.

The flat has been repossessed by the Bank and is being sold by the receivers.

The flat has an 6 month AST from June 2018 supposedly in place.

The tenant has split with his girlfriend (the joint tenant) back in December 2019 and last paid the rent in January 2020

He was back and forth during lockdown, god knows where he was staying. Ended up breaking into the flat at 3am one morning in April (having lost his keys) waking the neighbours and causing a nuisance. He left later in the morning having slept off the drink and left the door to flat flapping in the wind with the broken lock.

Concerned about the security of the block, his neighbours spoke to the Property Management company and they then spoke to the receivers who then secured the property leaving a note on the door saying anyone with possessions inside should contact them.

The tenant returned about a week later, to find the door now secured. Then went away and came back with his father (with new keys I presume) and cleared away his personal stuff. Never to return.
This was in May 2020.

The flat failed to sell in 2x auctions.

I only heard about it after a friend in the block said it was back on the auction site again.

I was successful at this last auction.

I want the flat to live in not to rent out, but don’t want to fall foul of the law WRT wrongful eviction.

As far as I can tell, not having access, is that the property is empty save for debris (empty tin cans, bottles, food waste, bags, etc) and fixtures/fittings that the tenant has destroyed. He for some unknown reason stripped the window surrounds off and broke through the wall underneath them.

The tenant(s) have not been back since mid-May 2020.
Since he emptied his stuff from the flat.

Has the property and tenancy been legally abandoned?

What steps do I need to do gain legal possession of my new home?

What am I/could I be liable for?
WRT Council Tax, Utilities, etc. service charge.

We have exchanged but not completed, but I can see this becoming a mess to untangle.

By the way, no forwarding address/telephone - but the AST was set up with Open Rent. Hence, why I have posted this here. There is supposed to be a protected deposit. But who will have access to it?

He and his girlfriend are in breach of several terms in the AST. And I’ve been told the mailbox is full of unpaid utility bills.

Any help would be greatly appreciated? An ideas?
Many thanks. Simon

“netlawman"google it on” tenant abandonment" its very good. Follow the steps outlined

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Thanks Colin, I’ll do that.

Note that a tenant has the legal right to return within 6 months of the landlords repossession date if they can prove that they left/disappeared under genuine circumstances as opposed to just absconding.

Although this is not applicable to you, this law was put in place to help protect tenants against unscrupulous landlords.

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Many thanks DrChrisRyan for additional info.
I’m worried hat he will use a spurious defence to delay it.
Esp with the covid restrictions on eviction in place.

I wish I could post the photos of the damage and debris.
I think I may also get guidance from the council housing dept,
as I am sure they would be the ones who would prosecute an “illegal” eviction?!?

My point is I want to ensure it is a swift legal repossession.