Clearing out the tenants goods
Property that the tenant leaves behind still belongs to the tenant and normally should be returned to the tenant.
If you throw away property belonging to the tenant which subsequently turns out to be of value, you may be subject to a claim from the tenant for damages.
If the tenant does leave things behind when they leave, you may charge for the cost of clearing them out of your property.
Torts (Interference with Goods) Act
The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 states that the landlord can dispose of goods left behind – as long as you follow a certain procedure.
Firstly, send a letter by recorded delivery to the tenant stating that you intend to sell/dispose of the goods and give the following information:
- Your name and address (where you can be contacted regarding the tenant’s collection)
- Details of the items held
- The place where they are held
- The date on which you intend to sell the goods (this must give the tenant a reasonable amount of time to collect the goods, say two – four weeks)
You must make sure you keep a copy of this letter.
If you are concerned your tenant won’t accept the recorded delivery, consider hand delivering the letter so they cannot claim they did not receive it.
Try to contact the tenant
If you do not have the address for the tenant, you will be able to sell or dispose of the goods if you are able to show that you made reasonable attempts to locate them.
This is best done by instructing agents. We offer a “no trace no fee” arrangement.
Providing you keep the tracing agent’s report stating that he cannot find the tenant, you should be safe from a claim from the tenant if you sell or dispose of goods left behind.
Selling the tenant’s goods
If any items are sold, the proceedings of sale are, strictly speaking, the property of the tenant.
But if you are entitled to deduct the cost of the sale, any rent arrears outstanding or other money due to you from any money you make from selling the tenant’s goods.
We can advise you if you experience problems when tenants leave and trace whereabouts of tenant and recover any rent arrears or other losses.