Property Abandoned, Can I Re-Let?

I inherited a few rental properties from my Dad who sadly passed away very suddenly in January.

One of the tenants has only paid 1 month of rent since January (he paid for February only). We have written multiple times but received no response.

The apartment building management team emailed us in April, mentioning that the property is empty. Upon investigation, we visited the property and saw that the locks had been broken. We entered the property in order to re-secure it, and found it was completely empty. There was piles of post dating back to January.

Clearly the tenant is not living here anymore, and is not paying rent either. But can we legally re-let the property, or will he have a claim if he decides to come back?

I would add we have never had any communication with this tenant. We know his name from the tenancy agreement, but have no contact details for him and he has never been in touch with us.

If you search abandonment on this portal it will give you all the answers to your questions

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I have been looking through this portal, and unfortunately there is a lot of information stating that I shouldn’t re-let, but no information on what I can do instead - hence the question.

I inherited this property, and am worried about getting into financial difficulty paying the mortgage and receiving no rent.

I would advise you to take formal legal advice. This is a grey area in law and the more you do to support your claim of abandonment the better.
Place a notice of abandonment on the door. Photgraph it. Enter 24 hours later. Photograph the state of the house, mail etc.
Take legal council regarding whether this is sufficient or do you need to serve a formal notice of eviction.

We did place a notice on the door in April. We also entered and videod the visit, where it can be seen that the flat is completely empty. We also have statements from council tax and utilities stating they haven’t been paid since 2020, and the apartment management who said that they have not seen anyone enter or leave the property this year.

Would legal advice mean a solicitor? Could they contact the tenants?

That’s great. You need to protect yourself so it does not look like an illegal eviction ( person could be serving at HM discretion etc).

If it was me I would contact my solicitor to make sure I have done everything I can to make sure that I am not the victim of entrapment.
JMW ( David Smith) and Anthony Gold are specialists in this field or contact the NRLA for free.

I think you’re reasonably safe if the tenant hasn’t been there since January. You need lots of evidence - watch the David Smith video on abandonment. I would then send a final communication to the tenant saying that you believed the property has been abandoned and his tenancy has therefore now ended. I would then crack on with re-letting. There is a small risk that he re-appears and claims illegal eviction, but I think its a small enough risk that I would be prepared to take it at this stage given that the alternative is months of no rent while you go through notice, possession hearing and bailiffs.

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seconded go ahead change locks relet