It has long been a very difficult and drawn out process to recover an abandoned property through the courts but new measures have been introduced to allow landlords to legally recover an abandoned property without needing to go to court.
These regulations are expected to come into force from October 2017 and should make the whole process somewhat easier for landlords and agents. Eligibility Under the act, a new statutory code is being introduced enabling landlords in England to recover a property if the assured shorthold tenant has abandoned it, without the need to serve a Section 21 Notice or obtain a Possession Order. NB: the tenant must owe more than two months’ consecutive rent and must have left the property. What does this mean? The landlord or letting agent may give a tenant notice bringing the tenancy to an end on the day on which the notice is given if the tenancy relates to property in England, more than two months’ consecutive rent is owed, the landlord or letting agent has given the required warning notices and no tenant, named occupier or deposit payer has responded in writing to any of those notices before the date specified in the warning notices. NB: a deposit payer means a person who the landlord or letting agent knows paid a tenancy deposit in relation to the tenancy on behalf of the tenant. NB: a named occupier is a person named in the tenancy as a person who may live at the premises to which the tenancy relates.
What you need to do
Where the landlord or letting agent believes that the premises has been abandoned, three warning notices must be given (at different times) to the tenant, any named occupiers and any deposit payers. The third notice must be stuck to the property, such as the front door. If none of these notices are responded to saying the property is not abandoned and/or no rent at all is paid can the property be repossessed.
Where the tenancy has been brought to an end by a warning notice and the tenant didn’t respond but they had a good reason for failing to do so the tenant may apply to the County Court, within six months starting when the order was given, to reinstate the tenancy. NB: if the County Court finds that the tenant had a good reason for not responding to the warning notice, the court may make any order it thinks fit for the purpose of reinstating the tenancy.