Abandoned or not abandoned…….That is the question!
Landlords often face problems when it comes to a tenant who may be in arrears of rent and then suddenly and without any notice just leaves a property whilst still contracted to the rental agreement. Landlords rarely know whether the tenant will come back and whether they can regain possession.
Legally, whilst the rent may still be owing to the landlord, the tenants can return to the property. If the landlord were to have changed the locks and regained possession without first obtaining a Court Order, then the landlord not only runs the risk of being sued for unlawful eviction but may also face criminal proceedings.
However, this problem of uncertainty may soon be a thing of the past thanks to the Housing & Planning Act 2016.
If a private landlord is faced with this, he or she will be able to recover possession by terminating the assured shorthold tenancy agreement on the day that the notice is given provided he or she has done the following:
- 3 written warnings have been given
- No response received from the tenant, occupier or person who paid the deposit
- 2 consecutive months’ rent is still owing
This Act of Parliament may well prove to be a very useful piece of legislation for private landlords who in the past will have faced the precarious question of ‘has the tenant gone or not?’ and provides more welcome certainty into landlord & tenant law.