Abandoned Property

A tenant who leaves a property before the end of the contracted period, is behind with the rent and does not inform the landlord, is regarded as having abandoned the property.  Although the tenant is behind with the rent he is within his rights to move back into the property at any point and it is a criminal offence for a landlord to prevent the continuation of the tenancy without a Court Order.  Pending the introduction of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 all a landlord could do is to take legal action which was both time consuming and expensive. 

The Housing & Planning Act 2016, which only applies to properties in England, gives private landlords the power to repossess empty properties after abandonment without the need for a Court Order and within a much shorter timeframe. 

The Act provides that a private landlord may give a tenant notice bringing the tenancy to an end on the day on which the notice is given if :-

  • rent has not been paid; and
  • the landlord has given at least three notices and no tenant, named occupier (being a person permitted under the tenancy to live at the premises) or deposit payer has responded in writing before the date specified in the warning notices.

If all those conditions apply the tenancy will end on the day of the notice.

Note : If the tenant has good reason for failing to respond to the warning notice he can apply for the tenancy to be reinstated but must apply to the County Court within six months of the day on which the notice is given.  Although this limited right exists for tenants to reinstate the tenancy it is likely to be exercised very sparingly indeed and landlords will welcome this new procedure.