Evicted tenant has left belongings and not contactable

by Readers Question

7:27 AM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Evicted tenant has left belongings and not contactable

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Evicted tenant has left belongings and not contactable

Hi,

As there are soo many helpful people on this forum thought I would ask a question that readers may be able to help with please. Here is a brief summary

1. Tenant signed tenancy agreement and paid the required deposits and months rent
2. Tenant moved all items in, TV, washing machine, cupboard, table, etc
3. Tenant stopped paying rent after first month and was not even living in the property
4. We used rent guarantee insurance who have paid some of the rent and evicted tenant
5. All her belongings are still there, she is not contactable and has no forwarding address
6. She contacted letting agent to say she was going to pickup item on a certain day but left no address or contact details
and never turned up. Costing us time and money.
7. Solicitors dealing with case said we have store her items for 3 months under (Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 which, as the tenant owes you money, states that the goods must be retained for at least three months before they can be disposed of.) and give her notice of such.
8. Issue is that she has no contact address, tel number, reference, employer, etc… We have to send her notice to say items are in storage, will cost this much for doing so and ensure she has three months to collect before we dispose off the items).

Letting agent has been of no help either. Is there any advise you can offer here please.

Many Thanks

JitenStorage



Comments

White Collar

8:03 AM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi

Section 12 of the aforementioned Act should assist you and your solicitor should advise you accordingly.

It states:

If the bailee—
.

(a)

has in accordance with Part II of Schedule 1 to this Act given notice to the bailor of his intention to sell the goods under this subsection, or
.

(b)

has failed to trace or communicate with the bailor with a view to giving him such a notice, after having taken reasonable steps for the purpose,
.
and is reasonably satisfied that the bailor owns the goods, he shall be entitled, as against the bailor, to sell the goods.

So if you have taken reasonable steps to trace or communicate with the tenant (try employing a tracing agent - cost is around £120 - I can arrange) and have failed, you can dispose.

Jiten Karia

8:16 AM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "White Collar" at "24/12/2013 - 08:03":

Thanks very much for your help. Will keep your offer to help in mind and come back to you.

Neil Patterson

9:34 AM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Jiten

For tracing people please also see >> http://www.property118.com/first-steps-in-recovery-of-outstanding-tenant-debt/40251/

And for debt recovery please see >> http://www.property118.com/good-debt-recovery-agent/44679/

These and tenant eviction can all be found under the Legal Tab at the top of our pages.

Gary Nock

11:55 AM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Also check the terms of your tenancy agreement. It should contain a clause about removal of goods so in the event of the tenant coming out of the woodwork you have that as well. Bear in mind though the statute takes precedence over the contract. And just to make sure there are no other nasty surprises check your deposit protection paperwork with the agent to make sure deposit was protected and prescribed in formation served. If they do suddenly reappear and ask where their stuff is and its been sold off then Citizens Advice/ Shelter will check that angle.

Puzzler

13:57 PM, 24th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Have you contacted the police? Not because she has committed a crime (necessarily) but in case something has happened to her?

Reader

17:24 PM, 25th December 2013
About 7 years ago

It would help you if your future ASTs dealt with the goods left behind. You may wish to consider a clause stating that the ownership of the goods will transfer to the landlord on vacation and they will be disposed of as the landlord sees fit. That might entitle you to the profits from any sale. Though tenants leave junk not valuables.

Alternatively you could state that the goods will be available for collection for a short prior to title passing to the landlord.

Gary Nock

17:55 PM, 25th December 2013
About 7 years ago

Most standard ASTs cover the situation where tenants leave behind goods. There is a good resume of that above. But remember as I stated earlier that the statute law on torts overules the contractual AST. So even if it says you can remove goods within the AST then unless you have given the tenant time to collect the goods before you do that you can be held liable.

Industry Observer

18:19 PM, 31st December 2013
About 7 years ago

All good advice and most seems 100% accurate, especially that no matter what you put in a contract it cannot override Statute.

Yes have a clause in the agreement stating that the Landlord/agent will make every effort to contact the departed tenant to discuss collection/disposal of items but after 2 weeks will proceed anyway.

White Collar is dead right in his comment on s12 and such 'notice' would satisfy it.

Curious why you do not have a forwarding address or contact address.

The application form used by the agent's referencing company would show former and the Prescribed Information should show the latter

Jiten Karia

13:02 PM, 1st January 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "31/12/2013 - 18:19":

Thanks for your comment

Unfortunately none of the details taken by the letting agent seem to be untraceable. Have been chasing the agent and they said they are not getting any responses they can follow up

Gary Nock

13:47 PM, 1st January 2014
About 7 years ago

Get all copies of tenancy paperwork and commence your own enquiries from any contact details provided. If not already done check social media for their details and that of referees. Follow the ABC rule when dealing with letting agents. Assume Nothing, Believe Nothing, Check Everything! They have no interest in helping you get rid of these goods as they cannot make any money out of it.

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