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Abandonment of property

Landlords Advice line recently helped Sandra, a landlord seeking advice as she suspected the tenant had abandoned the property.

 

Background

Sandra’s tenant had been occupying the property for 5 years and Sandra had recently got in touch to arrange an inspection.  She had called and sent messages to the tenant but had no response. Around the same time, a neighbour told Sandra that he thought the tenant had already moved out of the property. Sandra again tried to contact her tenant but had no response.

How Landlord Advice line helped

Sandra contacted our Landlord Advice line who advised her that, until a tenant advises that they have permanently vacated the property, a landlord cannot enter the property without the tenant’s permission. Our adviser recommended that Sandra again contact her tenant by phone, email, and also sending a letter to the property, to inform them that she suspects the property has been abandoned and would like to carry out an inspection.

Our adviser also suggested that Sandra check around the outside of the property to see if there were signs that the tenant was no longer living at the property, such as letters piling up in the letterbox or an overgrown garden. Our adviser also told Sandra to check with Housing Benefit/Universal Credit to ascertain if claims had been stopped, and also with utility companies to find out if there had been any recent usage at the property.

After following our adviser’s suggestions, Sandra was certain that the tenant had left and wanted to know how to proceed.

Our adviser explained that Sandra would first need to serve a ‘Notice to Quit’ in order to formally terminate the tenancy. Once the notice expires, Sandra can then contact Environmental Health to inform them that she suspects the property has been abandoned. This is an important step in preventing any potential allegations of landlord harassment or illegal eviction. Our adviser explained to Sandra that she may need to speak to her solicitor and apply for a court order before entering and re-letting the property.

 

If you are a registered landlord, and would like advice from the Landlords Advice Line, call 028 902 45640 (Monday – Friday, 09:30 – 14:30), or complete the referral form.