So the issue all landlords despise has happened. A tenant has moved out but left some of their belongings in your property. You’re now unsure what to do next. From this moment onwards, your actions have to follow law and must stand up to scrutiny – the tenant can still make a claim against you for damages. Follow our advice below and the situation will hopefully be resolved with ease.
A tenant has moved out but left their belongings, what should I do?
It’s Still the Tenant’s Property
As soon as you see the items left behind, you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether it was left as rubbish or simply forgotten. DO NOT be tempted to throw any of this away, sell it or neglect the issue. Everything still legally belongs to the tenant and they retain rightful ownership – even after they’ve left it behind. If you throw away any items and they hold value, you’ll be liable for damages. There is however, a silver lining to this terribly frustrating situation. You may be able to charge the tenant for the cost of clearing your property and possibly any storage afterwards. Be sure you follow the right procedures for these.
The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977
Thankfully, you do have some legal backing in this situation. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 allows you to dispose of any belongings left behind, on the condition that you follow a specific course of action first.
What You Need To Do
A written letter is the best place to start. We recommend doing this via recorded delivery so you can guarantee the tenant receives it. Explain in your letter that you wish to dispose/sell the items. You must inform them on how to contact you to retrieve them. As well as this, you should include a detailed description of the items, where they are being stored and when you’ll be selling/disposing of them. Be sure to allow the tenant enough time to take preventative measures. Remember, this could all be a genuine mistake. You should give your tenant the chance to rectify the situation. Keep a copy of the letter in your records.
What If I Don’t Have the Tenant’s New Address?
Don’t worry, a resolution can still be found. You need to be able to prove that you’ve made a reasonable attempt to get in touch with the tenant. We recommend using a tracing agent to track down the tenant’s address. These companies usually won’t charge you if they can’t find the individual’s location. Keep the report that states they can’t find your tenant and you’re good to go ahead with the disposal.
Decided to Sell the Items?
You’ve followed the strict procedure, you’re now ready to sell the items and pocket the cash. Unfortunately the money’s not actually yours to keep, it belongs to the tenant. This is infuriating, we know. Thankfully, if there have been any charges or costs incurred throughout the process, then you’re good to go ahead and reimburse yourself.
Want more rental advice? Give the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide a read.
With our inventory services, claiming from your tenant’s deposit for this could be easily achieved and resolved. These issues needn’t be such a strain. Find out more information here.
You might also like
How Will The Proposed EPC Regulations For 2025 Impact Landlords?Upload on February 24, 2022 by Lydia Horsley
The drive to improve the energy efficiency of properties in the UK looks likely to impact landlords in 2025, with the proposed EPC regulation that could require landlords to make potentially significant and expensive changes to their properties. What are the current energy regulations? All domestic and commercial properties for rent need to have [...]READ MORE
ESTAS Customer Service Awards 2021Upload on June 3, 2021 by Lydia Horsley
No Letting Go are proud to announce that we have been SHORTLISTED for a prestigious ESTAS customer service award! To be announced in October 2021. ESTAS honour the best agents, conveyancers, mortgage advisors and suppliers in the UK. The annual ESTAS awards occur in Spring and Autumn, attracting the top players in the UK’s property and lettings [...]READ MORE
What Agents Need To Know About Renting With PetsUpload on May 5, 2021 by Lydia Horsley
We’ve learned over the past year how much of a comfort pets have been for many people during lockdown. The government is keen to make it easier for dwellers in private rented accommodation to enjoy the benefits of living with a furry friend and is taking steps to encourage more landlords to allow pets. What’s [...]READ MORE
The Importance Of End Of Tenancy CleaningUpload on May 5, 2021 by Lydia Horsley
When your new tenants move into a cared-for, clean property, you’re setting their expectations for how your property should be looked after. To create the best impression, an end of tenancy clean will show your new tenants the property in the best condition possible. What’s involved in an end of tenancy clean? The purpose of [...]READ MORE