When a tenant quits a property without notice, the property is considered to have been abandoned. If it has been abandoned, we can recover the property without going to court, and tenants have six months to raise an objection.
A property has been abandoned when either:
Sole tenant: the house is unoccupied and the tenant does not intend to occupy it as his/her main home.
Joint tenant: if the council has reasonable grounds to believe that a joint tenant is not occupying, or intends to occupy it, as their main home.
We can take action to end the tenancy (abandonment proceedings) if we think a tenant has left the property and does not intend to return. We will sent the tenant a written notice and give them four weeks to reply, to let us know if they intend to return to the property. During this four week period, we may ask neighbours if they have seen the tenant recently, or contact the tenant’s family or employer to ask where the tenant is.
If a sole tenant does not respond within four weeks, we will service another notice stating that the tenancy has been ended. If there is a joint tenant, we must give them a further eight weeks notice before we end the tenancy.
When we enter the house, we will change the locks and secure the property. If there are possessions in the house, in certain circumstances we have a legal duty to store these for a minimum of six months. If the value of the tenant’s belongings is more than the cost of storage, we will store them and charge the tenant for the costs. If the storage costs more than the value of the belongings, we do not have to store them.
If the tenant does not collect their belongings within six months, we can sell or dispose of them.
Housing and Property