Abandonment of Tenancy

  • The surrender of a tenancy without adequate tenant notice.
  • S5(2) HA’88 requires a landlord to procure a court order or action by a tenant signifying surrender – e.g. departure AND return of keys.
  • This appears straightforward, but for some landlords it presents a number of pitfalls.

    Landlords should be certain their tenant really has left, and be wary of being duped into a trap set by unscrupulous tenants in order to use the legal system to secure contrived compensation.

    Witnessing this first-hand: A former tenant failed to pay rent and stole other tenants’ credit card details, before emptying their bank accounts and then his room of possessions and disappearing with the keys. In such circumstances would you have felt free to re-let the room? Most would! Wisely we waited. Sure enough, returning unannounced three weeks later, his luggage cases in tow, this tenant expected his room to be re-let, and looked genuinely disappointed to find his room untouched. Re-letting might have enabled him to claim compensation, which was evidently the point of the exercise. Be warned! Those who defraud fellow housemates will happily also target their landlords.

    Incidentally this crook was eventually prosecuted and sent to jail for the credit-card theft and fraud, but not before putting everyone in the house through hell! For this to happen is rare, but as you can see, not unheard of, and simply not worth risking, which is why…

  • Prudent landlords MUST do their own legal research, as well as demonstrate due diligence with correct notices to repossess before letting to new tenants!
  • See also related topic Abandonment of goods or possessions.

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