19th November 2015Show all News
Anecdotal evidence suggests that abandoned rental properties could affect and be a problem for approximately 1,500 landlords per year. However, the exact statistics on the actual number of properties that are abandoned each year are not available.
The result of abandonment can be a disaster for all parties involved, Landlord’s suffer from rent arrears and as a result of the property being vacant it could be vulnerable to vandalism and in such circumstances, the only recourse currently open to landlords is to seek a possession order from the courts, a process which is time consuming and has its own costs as well. The proposal is for a new procedure for dealing with abandoned properties, without there being a need to go to court, while ensuring that adequate safeguards were put into place to protect tenants.
The precautions put into place are to prevent rogue Landlords exploiting this new procedure, these will include not permitting the abandonment procedure to be used, unless the tenant is in at least 8 weeks or two months’ rent arrears (where rent is paid weekly or monthly) and requiring the landlord to have sent the tenant at least two prior warning notices over a period of at least 8 weeks / 2 months.
It has been made clear, that it is the responsibility of the landlord to make such inquiries as are necessary in order to be satisfied that the property is abandoned. Where a tenant has not responded and the tenancy has been brought to an end under this new procedure, if the tenant feels as though they were wrongly deemed to have abandoned the property and / or the landlord has acted unfairly, the tenant may apply for an order reinstating the tenancy if they have a good reason for not replying to the warning notices. If the Court found in the tenant’s favour, they would be able to award an appropriate amount of damages.
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