Nicholas Humphreys Estate Agent has created a guide to tell landlords how to deal with belongings left in properties by tenants.
In the past, landlords have found themselves paying significant compensation awards to tenants after disposing of belongings they believed had been abandoned. So, if you rent out a property, it’s worth making sure you’re clued up on your rights when it comes to possessions left after the end of the contract.
Estate agent and property franchise Nicholas Humphreys suggests landlords keep belongings safe for at least two weeks after the tenancy terminates. More expensive or personal items should be left for up to 90 days to give the owner time to collect them. The business explains:
“In legal terms, [landlords] may become an involuntary bailee if they, without their consent, find themselves in possession of goods belonging to another… You cannot simply deal with or dispose of the goods as you wish, as there is no general right under common law to dispose of such goods.”
Instead, Nicholas Humphreys argues landlords have a duty to avoid deliberately damaging, selling or disposing of abandoned items, and not hand them over to third parties if they don’t have the owner’s permission to collect them.
Landlords should always try to find the tenants and fix a notice to the property in a visible position. The note should include details on how to contact the landlord to get their possessions back, and a specified timescale of at least 21 days to do so. If the tenant fails to collect their items within the window of opportunity, the landlord can treat them as abandoned.
However, if the property owner chooses to sell them, they must keep the money generated through the sale for a reasonable amount of time, in case the tenant comes to collect it.
To find out more, you can read the whole guide on the Nicholas Humphreys website.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©