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Landlord rights over tenants possessions

Is your landlord allowed to walk off with your possessions?

Our regular guest blogger Ben Reeve-Lewis talks us through this important and little understood topic.

Tenants property – landlords rights

One of the most common complaints that comes up when doing Tenancy Relations work and housing advice in relation to tenants belongings is;

  • The tenant complaining that the landlord has seized their belongings and refuses to give them back until they pay monies that are owed and
  • Landlords asking what to do with a person’s personal belongings when they have left the property.

Having been asked for the umpteenth time about these issues in the past few months I felt compelled to set the record straight.

Interestingly the same law covers both situations. And it is the….. Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.

Let’s deal with the seizure of tenant’s goods first

A landlord cannot by law withhold another’s personal belongings in lieu of any monies owed. A ‘Tort’ is a civil wrong rather than a Criminal one and the way is clear in the event of a breach for a tenant to take action, including claims for substantial damages against the offender.

Many people, when taking advice from ‘Dave down the pub’ think that there is a law that allows them to hold belongings when a tenant owes them rent. There used to be, it was called ‘Detinue’ but this was abolished by the 1977 Act mentioned above.

Similarly it is common for landlords to think in terms of an eye for an eye, or natural justice but this can prove an expensive mistake. In the recent case of Cashmere v. Walsh, Downing and Veale the tenant, amongst other damages, was awarded £6,515 for the landlord failing to return the goods in question.

The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 itself describes the offence in these words:-

1 Definition of “wrongful interference with goods”

In this Act “ wrongful interference” , or “ wrongful interference with goods” , means—

(a) conversion of goods (also called trover),

(b) trespass to goods,

(c) negligence so far at it results in damage to goods or to an interest in goods.

(d) subject to section 2, any other tort so far as it results in damage to goods or to an interest in goods.

If a tenant owes rent to the landlord, then the correct way to recover the sum is through the county court in possession proceedings or as a separate action for a money judgment

Now lets look at what a landlord can do if a tenant leaves their belongings in the premises.

As harsh as this may seem a landlord is under a legal obligation to take care of tenant’s possessions. Protecting, removal and storage of uncollected goods can result in extra costs that the landlord doesn’t want but the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 does provide some guidance.

Be advised that if a tenant appears to have abandoned their belongings it could be argued that the goods may be evidence of an intention to return and therefore the property has not in point of fact been officially abandoned.

This can be a real headache for landlords, especially when their tenant leads what we in the housing advice world term ‘Chaotic lifestyles’. If you change the locks on the assumption that the property has been abandoned and the tenant subsequently turns up, the landlord could be considered to have illegally evicted the tenant. So watch that one.

It is good practice, when signing up a new tenant, to collect in writing alternative contact details of relatives or friends who in the event of having goods left in the premises a landlord can contact.

In theory it is possible to insert a suitable clause into a tenancy agreement to set out contractual obligations regarding this, but it is advisable to use a formal notice of collection of goods as well to avoid any possible come backs.

As in all landlord and tenant issues ‘Belt and Braces’ is recommended if you want to avoid the possibility of costly delays.

In the event that there is a dispute about who owns the goods that are left a landlord cannot dispose of the goods until this matter is settled.

If you intend to dispose of the goods then you are obliged by law to give a reasonable period of notice before selling them, commonly 21 days. If the tenant owes money to the landlord BEFORE service of the notification then the landlord is obliged under the law to keep the property for at least 3 months before selling them.

The landlord is entitled to sell the goods and keep any reasonable costs that were incurred through storage, removal and sale. The law expects the landlord to obtain the best price they can and then return the amount beyond the landlords costs to the tenant.

It is unlikely that a tenant abandoning a property would leave expensive home entertainment equipment, usually it is old clothes and bags so the likelihood of recouping funds owed through sale is a small one in most cases.

The requirements on a landlord in this area may seem particularly onerous but this is simply one of the frustrations that make up the lot of the private landlord, it simply goes with the territory I’m afraid.

I always tell people that you can make good money as a landlord but it is not necessarily easy money. Protection of tenant’s goods is just one of those areas.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

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Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.

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44 Responses to Landlord rights over tenants possessions

  1. I had a tenant grow a cannabis factory in my roof space, get arrested and sent down, give me his camera and cello (?!) specifically saying I am giving you these in lieu of rent, then get out of prison and ask for them back. Advice?

    • Tell him he owes you the rest with interest.
      Collect the money.
      Give him a receipt.
      Ask him to sign receipt for Cello.
      Find another tenant.

  2. A really informative blog and particularly helpful for Resident Management Companies who are finding themselves getting more and more involved in tenant issues, despite it being out of their remit.
    Sharon Crossland AIRPM
    Leasehold Life
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..Leasehold Third Party Management =-.

  3. Sian, if this ever happens in future, I would suggest you get the tenant to sign a letter confirming that they give the items to you in lieu of rent (assuming you are happy with this). Then it will be difficult for him to change his mind.

    Whether you give the items back now will really depend on whether you have sold them yet, whether (if not) you actually want them, and the liklihood of the tenant actually doing anything about it if you refuse to return them.

  4. A friend of ours is currently in the process of moving from one proprty to another. They are 6 weeks behind in rent with the previous property, but issued a written notice to the landlord a few weeks ago with regards their intent to move.

    They have gone to the property today to collect some of their possessions only to find that the Landlord, assisted by two others, has entered and removed all the family’s goods, including children’s clothing, tools, electronic goods etc and was witnessed by the next-door neighbour to be smashing up fixtures and fittings, owned by the family, with hammers and taking it away as new tennants have been told they can move in this weekend.

  5. That is definitely out of order. They should speak to their Local Authority housing officer, report it to the police, and consider bringing legal action for unlawful eviction and damages for their possessions.

    There may be a lawyer who will do this under a no win no fee agreement. For example try my referral service (see the services link above).

  6. Titch I agree with Tessa on this and I would add that I would think there may be quite a good civil claim hanging around this one too that may be worth pursuing. Check out Tessa’s article on this blog on Cashmere v Walsh and look at the damages.

    It is important to act quickly so the trail doesnt go cold and make sure that you friend keeps any notes, correspondence, texts or e mails relating to matter with the landlord to use as evidence if needed.

    For me I would want to know a lot more detail about the notice your friend because it may or may not be legaly valid. If it wasnt then Tessa is correct in suggesting it may have been an illegal eviction and criminal action may well be a way forward. Bear in mind that you can also take civil action at the same time.

    Be aware that although harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences it is the local authority that prosecutes under the Protection from Eviction act 1977 not the Police. Also, prosecutions under this legislation take an age to go through. I never had a case in court in under 18 months and that was in open and shut cases, whereas civil action is a lot quicker and carries decent damages for breaches.

  7. My partner is currently sharing a house with 4 others. A previous tenant was evicted 2 months ago for failing to pay rent and another tenant was evicted yesterday. Both of the evicted tenants were students, the one that was evicted yesterday was two months out of his contract, the landlady give him 2 days verbal notice to leave the premises and on the Monday morning (the day he was told he had to leave by) she turned up at the premises and told all his possessions to sell them. My partner and his other house mates (all of them 2 months out of contract) received a letter informing them that they were now responsible for the outstanding rent of the other 2 evicted housemates and the breakages that they had caused in their bedrooms before leaving. What rights does my partner and his housemates have? Does the landlady have any right to take their belongings and sell them?

  8. It sounds to me as if the landlady is acting illegally. All those affected should take legal advice now. You can start by contacting Shelterline on 0808 800 4444. This is a telephone helpline run by the housing charity Shelter. They will give immediate advice and help you find someone who can give long term assistance.

    There may be a claim against the landlady for unlawful eviction and compensation for the items she sold. However this will depend on the precise circumstances of the case so you must get proper independent legal advice.

    If the claim is sound, it may be possible to find a solicitor who will act on a no win no fee basis.

  9. You could also call your local council. They will most probably have someone, possibly called a housing advice team or similar and often based in the homelessness unit. Depending on how proactive they are they could do anything from providing detailed advice to actually helping your partner to take out a civil claim.

    It is advisable for your partner to make a list of the value of the possessions taken and keep receipts for any necessary replacements in case a claim for damages is made

  10. Ben – I have read your post with interest about landlords’ (lack of ) rights over tenants’ goods. But is this still the case even where the tenant gives up the keys voluntarily, knowing he is leaving stuff in the property? And what if the stuff is mainly junk?

    In my case a tenant has given up a property after the issue of an undefended Court Judgment for repossession (he refused to vacate the property, after the requisite 2 months notice following non-payment of rent – still owed under a separate judgment). So the tenancy agreement has long since lapsed. Prior to returning the keys he removed most of his belongings, but he still left a lot of things strewn throughout the property: bits of furniture – mainly broken, white goods (working?), old clothes, papers, part-used cans of paint etc. The value would be negligible if sold; in fact it will undoubtedly cost me to shift it all.

    This must be a very common situation. Surely by handing back the keys the (former) tenant was effectively wiping his hands of his former home and everything in it. Am I really obliged to look after the stuff he chose to abandon on the off-chance that he may come knocking on my door one day and ask for his old wardrobe back, or can I safely just dispose of it all as I see fit? I could possibly track him down but I just want to repair all the damage he’s also done and re-let the property as soon as possible – the position I should have been in nearly 6 months ago.


  11. Well Drew this is indeed a common and major headache for landlords, including social landlords, many of whom can be small charities with absolutely no storage facilities.

    I cant comment on whether or not you should simply get rid of the goods in question, I’m afraid

    The Torts (interference with goods) Act 1977 clearly does place an obligation on landlords in this respect and these obligations are not taken away by the tenant walking away unfortunately, although I agree that it does seem a tad unfair – self responsibility and all that. You would think that it would be sensible to simply be able to state “Goods left at owner’s risk” as in car parks etc.

    There are good reasons why I think a landlord should bear a certain amount of responsibility as I have dealt with cases of tenants with what are termed “chaotic lifestyles” which usually refers to people with mental health problmes, drink or drugs etc who arent always in control of their actions who have gone of on one for a few weeks and then return to the property not even knowing where they have been, but having said that I dont think a blanket ruling on it is sensible either.

    But that is neither here nor there as the law is what it is.

    It is sensible when signing up a new tenant to get them to provide an address of contact in this very event where you can send notification to.

    Best answer I can give is to copy in here the relevant bit of the Tort. The term “Bailee” in this instance refers to you as ex landlord and your ex tenant is the “Bailor”.

    Bailee’s power of sale(
    1)This section applies to goods in the possession or under the control of a bailee where—
    (a)the bailor is in breach of an obligation to take delivery of the goods or, if the terms of the bailment so provide, to give directions as to their delivery, or
    (b)the bailee could impose such an obligation by giving notice to the bailor, but is unable to trace or communicate with the bailor, or
    (c)the bailee can reasonably expect to be relieved of any duty to safeguard the goods on giving notice to the bailor, but is unable to trace or communicate with the bailor.
    (2)In the cases of Part I of Schedule 1 to this Act a bailee may, for the purposes of subsection (1), impose an obligation on the bailor to take delivery of the goods, or as the case may be to give directions as to their delivery, and in those cases the said Part I sets out the method of notification.
    (3)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.
    (4)Where subsection (3) applies but the bailor did not in fact own the goods, a sale under this section, or under section 13, shall not give a good title as against the owner, or as against a person claiming under the owner.
    (5)A bailee exercising his powers under subsection (3) shall be liable to account to the bailor for the proceeds of sale, less any costs of sale, and—
    (a)the account shall be taken on the footing that the bailee should have adopted the best method of sale reasonably available in the circumstances, and
    (b)where subsection (3)(a) applies, any sum payable in respect of the goods by the bailor to the bailee which accrued due before the bailee gave notice of intention to sell the goods shall be deductible from the proceeds of sale.
    (6)A sale duly made under this section gives a good title to the purchaser as against the bailor.
    (7)In this section, section 13, and Schedule 1 to this Act,
    (a)“ bailor” and “ bailee” include their respective successors in title, and
    (b)references to what is payable, paid or due to the bailee in respect of the goods include references to what would be payable by the bailor to the bailee as a condition of delivery of the goods at the relevant time.
    (8)This section, and Schedule 1 to this Act, have effect subject to the terms of the bailment.
    (9)This section shall not apply where the goods were bailed before the commencement of this Act.

  12. My situation is a rather tricky one, and I would gratefully appreciate any advice:

    I rented a property from a friend (a former partners brother-in-law) back in 2005. No official tenancy agreement was drafted or signed. The house was unfurnished and I went to some considerable expense in furnishing it with white goods and furniture.

    I paid my rent in advance, but had to move to a smaller property due to spiralling living costs in 2007. I gave my landlord one months notice, and moved all the possessions I could on my own, but not the washing machine or fridge freezer due to size/weight. I stated my intention verbally to retain both items.

    However, my ex-landlord will not refund the extra months rent I had paid in advance nor will he allow me to retrieve my Fridge and Washing Machine. Both are being used to allow him to advertise the property as ‘furnished’ to attract subsequent tennants.

    He has previously lied saying that the items had been damaged and destroyed by the subsequent tennant, but both are still in the property and in full working order.

    I have a letter from him addressed to the local council confirming my tennancy, and I still have the receipts for both the fridge and washing machine (they were delivered to myself at that address).

    I’ve had to suffer without a washing machine for 3 years and I am tempted to force entry into the property to retrieve both goods. What can I do?

  13. You shouldn’t force you way in. That would put you in the wrong.

    Probably the best thing is to threaten (and if nothing happens, bring) court proceedings for the return of the rent money and for the return of the washing machine and fridge or their value, plus compensation for being deprived of them for so long.

  14. I think Tessa is right David, try and threaten and bluster first. These matters are never clear cut when you get them in court. You said you have the receipts for purchase? what if he claims there was an arrangement whereby you purchased them for him and took the money out of rent? That could complicate things. And THEN, even if the courts agree with you and a money judgement is made they dont collect the money for you. If he doesnt pay up you have to go back to court and look into attachment of earnings or bailiffs.

    I have an interference with goods problem at the moment, my partner left her computer at the menders for a few months and when she went to get it back he said he didnt have it. When challenged in e mail he replied saying that he isnt sure of the whereabouts and in the same email says he wants £2,000 storage fee for holding it. Do we go for an injunction on the basis that he has it and isnt releasing it and it is therefore “Trespass to Goods” or damages for loss???? this is how messy interference with goods can be.

  15. I have a situation where a tennant who owes money and caused damage was evicted some weeks ago has left white goods in the my property. Although they left no forwarding address the owner of thier new address has written to us informing us of thier whereabouts which we have since confirmed. Can I leave these items to thier new address and leave them covered in the grounds of thier new property?

  16. Here is a prime example of the complexities of a landlord’s duties to tenants possessions.

    Just had a phone call from a very concerned landlord who wants to do the right thing. She let a property to a woman and her 14 year old daughter. Time came to serve the notice on the tenant, which she did. After service the tenant went to prison. Landlord doesn’t know where or for how long.

    Tenant’s family turn up and remove all her furniture. Landlord changes the locks while they are there. Next day they have broken back in and put the furniture back.

    The questions here are:-
    Did the tenant authorise the family to vacate the premises?
    If so what is status now they have broken back in? No squatter because there are no indicividuals present, just the furniture.
    Now that the personal possession are back in the flat does the landlord still have a duty if the tenant vacated?
    Which takes you back to the issue about whether or not the tenant authorised the removal in the first instance.

    To Quote Johnny Nash “There are more questions than answers”

  17. Having gone through the correct procedure (S21, Possession Order, Bailiff) which by the time of the eviction has taken 5 months, the tenant intends putting himself, wife and 4 children in the mercy of the local council to rehouse them including an initial period in “emergency accomodation” reading between the lines it seems that we could be lumbered with their belongings and we need the property as our home for our 2 disabled children. What is the minimum period that we have to give as a “Notice to Collect” and can we serve the notice on the day of eviction?

    As I am due to go for critical surgery (cancelled twice because of the wait to get our home back) with a 12 week recovery period, the last thing I need is to find out that we are obliged to keep their belongings for a long period of time.

    What costs can I charge them during this period?

  18. HI Alan, that sounds like you have the worst end of everything on this one.

    You should be able to circumvent your problem though. Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, which governs homelessness applications places a duty on local authorioties under Section 211to protect the belongings of those they are dealing with. Most homelessnes units I have come accross have removals and storage facilities.

    The tect from the Act states the following:-

    211 Protection of property of homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.
    (1)This section applies where a local housing authority have reason to believe that—.
    (a)there is danger of loss of, or damage to, any personal property of an applicant by reason of his inability to protect it or deal with it, and.
    (b)no other suitable arrangements have been or are being made..
    (2)If the authority have become subject to a duty towards the applicant under—.
    section 188 (interim duty to accommodate),
    section 190, 193 or 195 (duties to persons found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness), or
    section 200 (duties to applicant whose case is considered for referral or referred),
    then, whether or not they are still subject to such a duty, they shall take reasonable steps to prevent the loss of the property or prevent or mitigate damage to it.

    Hope this helps mate

  19. Thank you Ben for a speedy answer to our problem. It is most appreciated. I think you are doing a grand job of seeing both sides of the coin (landlord/tenant) and advising people of the right way of doing things to avoid costly and time consuming problems later! The Housing Act is a minefield which can trap the private landlord (we only let our property until our eldest finished his specialist school education) causing delays and heartache!

    Once again, thank you from myself, and my family.

  20. Thanks for your comments Alan. I often get accused of being pro tenant and as an automatic cosequence, anti landlord which is not true at all.

    I understand the history of landlord/tenant law but I have long thought that the law as it stands does not serve either landlords or tenants sometimes. I think this is because landlords and tenants are in a relationship with each other, whether they like it or not, which is not necessarily the case with banks and borrowers or sellers and purchasers.

    This is why over the next few months I am getting out of the TRO game and starting my own accommodation agency so I can make sure everyone gets a good deal and is treated fairly and honestly.

    I hope things start to go better for you.

  21. Good afternoon Ben,

    Your comment about a relationship is too close for comfort! The tenant was really nice for 18 months, they had a fantastic property at a very cheap rental.

    As soon as we gave them notice that we were not going to renew the AST it was all out war similar to the wars that break out with divorcing couples!

    I think if the Housing Act was simplified with a standard form of AST written in plain english, and the time periods between serving notice to quit and eviction being shortened, landlords will not build in the “risk factor” into the rental rates and deposits. If I knew then what I know now, the rental rate would have been 25% higher than it was.

    Good luck with your new venture. I am sure you will do well.

  22. Good Afternoon Ben,

    I’m trying to sort a related situation our for my sister.

    She moved out of a property that her an a previous partner were renting. There is a discrepancy over weather notice was given or not and there were some rent arreas.

    The landlord locked away some of her property (a motor bike and two clyles) which were in a shed that was part of the rental.

    He’s now refusing to release the goods unless she makes full settlement of monies due (including a charge for moving the motorbike to a different location!).

    He is claiming the police have advised him he is within his rights to do this? I get the impression that he’s not actually contacted the police and is just trying to scare her into taking out a loan to clear the debt.

    If it makes a difference we’re in Scotland.

    After reading your blog, I’ve advised the landlord that he hes no legal right to hold her possessions in this way. Am I correct in this assumption?
    Is the next step to contact the police myself, or would I have to go through the small claims court, or is there another way I could proceed?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  23. William, the law is different in Scotland and I am afraid I cannot comment on the Scottish rules although one of our readers may be able to do so.

  24. I’m trying to find some information on a similar matter an was wondering if anyone could advise me.

    I’ve recently moved out of a property and have had difficulty moving all of my possessions out. In question a push bike, glass table and suite among other things mainly because of there size.

    Now my landlord has charged me an extra months rent up until the 5th of Jan ‘for storage of my possessions’ which i think is fair enough.

    However on the 4th of Jan when I managed to get someone to help me move my things i have found that the landlord had sent in a cleaning firm to empty the house of everything inside.

    When i arrived there a neighbour informed me that they had already loaded a car full of stuff an left with it and all that was left in the house was the suite.

    Now when i call them and ask about my bike he simply says he’ll call me back.

    Any advice would be great

  25. If your landlord charged you an extra months rent and then disposed of your possessions before that time had expired, then he is definitely out of order. I see no reason why you should not sue him for the replacement value of your bike and anything else that was destroyed.

    Ben may have some comments from the TRO point of view.

  26. Yeah. I dont understand why you thought a month’s extra rent was fair Simon. the same period in Brittania storage would have cost a fraction of that but fair play to you mate, you were obviously trying to be reasonable.

    The law on responsibility for uncollected goods is, for once, fairly clear. I think your landlord was lucky in having such a responsible ex tenant and has jumped the gun somewhat, especially after collecting a further month’s rent. What have they lost through the situation? Zilch!

    I have sympathy for lanldords left with dumped goods but this was clearly not the case with you. Tessa is right, small claims is the way forward. An N1 form and standard claim. Dont rtely on the neighbour’s version of events though. Contact the landlord and find out oif they they have destropyed or disposed of the goods or ifg they have just moved them somewhere else before jumping in with both feet.

    I had a similar situation recently when my partner left a computer for mending at a local shop. when she asked for it back the owner first said he had flogged it on to cover the storage debt but when challeneged by me, using the logic of the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act he relented and said he knew where it was, we got it back despite his attempts to scam her.

    • Thanks guys the information has been much appreciated, sorry if i confused you before on having paid him an extra months rent.

      I haven’t actually done so yet however my guarantor has received a letter informing them that they have to pay it without having informed me first.

      Once again thanks for the advice and i feel i can now move ahead with a clearer head.

  27. Hi have been going through the process of evicting a tenant and after 6 months have calles in the bailiff. If she does not move her furniture out and they lock her goods in the house what rights do we have. Can we enter the house.

  28. Once the bailiffs have been the property is yours again but you have to deal with the property properly. This means send them the letter under the Torts (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1977 and following through. This procedure is described in more detail for landlord members of Landlord Law here :

    See also this ‘horror story’

  29. I wonder if you could advise me on my situation.
    I went through the courts and received a warrant for repossession and a money claim for approx. £6000 against my tenants.
    When the Bailiffs went to evict them they had already left, leaving us no contact address. They had left a few wardrobes, toys, many old clothes, a bed and a camera. Most of their stuff was in our garage.
    They were evicted in September. They have since moved some stuff out of the garage. However now it is January and there is still some stuff left.
    We are now selling the property and need to have all their stuff removed.
    Given we have no contact details for the tenants and their stuff has been on our property for 4 1/2 months, and we have a money order for £6000 against them, are we allowed to remove and sell their stuff?

  30. A couple rented my flat for twelve months during which time they were prompt with the rent and very quiet tenants and do not owe any rent. I also hold a deposit. However in June, last year, he was taken away in handcuffs by police in riot gear with a battering ram (they did not have to break down the door !). I never found out why and he was returned to the flat later. I googled him and it seems he was a very dodgy character. I tell you this because on 30th December they both disappeared, leaving ALL their possessions and posting the key through the letterbox. I called the police in case they had been removed against their will who made a note of it but were not unduly concerned. This is an unfurnished property but by this time it is crammed with furniture and goods. I have removed everything and stored it in my garage but cannot store it indefinitely. The tenant will not answer his phone although I have left a message to say that I will bring in house clearers if he doesn’t instruct me. He is a violent man and I am nervous of him. I am at a loss as to what to do next although I feel I have seen the last of him – well I hope so – they are not from this area ! There is nothing of any value – I think all the furniture and fridge/freezer were given to them – when they arrived they came with the clothes they stood up in. I am at a loss as to what to do next. Any ideas ? I would just add that I found a large knife under his pillow ! Joan

  31. Tessa is right Jean, as worrying as this man sounds the rules still stand I’m afraid.

    Just be wiser next time and get a contact address when you sign a new tenant up and consider putting something in the contrcat about the ‘Reasonable period’ that you will store uncollected goods before disposal

  32. Hello

    Can you advise how long as a landlord we should keep a tenants possessions once they leave the property..?


    kind regards


  33. There is no hard and fast period set in tablets of stone, you just have to act reasonably. But if you give them 14 or 21 days you should be all right. But it depends on the circumstances.

  34. I’ll try and keep this short, any advice welcome. Went through the court system and a possessions order was granted, bailiff day came and the tenants were no where to be seen. Once possession was given over, after entering the property it was obvious that the tenants must have left recently, if not that day.
    These tenants were massive hoarders with boxes and bags of property, as well as electrical goods. It would’ve have been impossible to remove all the items to storage, because of the amount of property.
    Today is the 3 month mark after the eviction day, and now wondering what best way to go forward. My dad is the landlord, and he wants to take the easy way out of just disposing the lot (charity shops, giving away etc), I’ve told him that it would be best advised to sell, but he’s just not listening. Any idea what would be the quickest, and most fail safe way (less likely of tenant suing) of dealing with the tenants stuff? Thanks

  35. Heather I know things are difficult with these things, seemingly unfair but it is what it is.

    People left with abandoned goods are caught by the law that stops people disposing of goods unlawfully I’m afraid. The Torts (Interference with goods) Act 1977 is a small piece of legislation and is set out in the article, but it’s provisions are quite clear.



About the post author:

Ben Reeve-Lewis

Ben is an enforcement officer for a London Local Authority, a housing law trainer, an author on housing law who writes for the Guardian & occasionally pops up wittering away on TV. He also runs Easy Law Training with Tessa & Graeme. Occasionally he sleeps. Find him on Google, and Journalisted. Any opinions expressed are Ben's personal views & don't reflect those of any organisations he may refer to.

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

Legal Services

Legal services are provided via Tessa's online service Landlord Law. Some advice services are provided by Tessa, other legal services are provided by specialist housing firm Anthony Gold.


The purpose of this blog is to provide information, comment and discussion. Although Tessa, or guest bloggers, may from time to time, give helpful comments to readers' questions, these can only be based on the information given by the reader in his or her comment, which may not contain all material facts. Any comments or suggestions provided by Tessa or any guest bloggers should not therefore be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice from a qualified lawyer regarding any actual legal issue or dispute.

Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship (apart from the Fast Track block clinic service - so far as the questioners only are concerned).

Guest bloggers

Please note that any opinion expressed by a guest blogger is his or hers alone, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tessa Shepperson, or the other writers on this blog.

Other websites from Tessa

Lodger Landlord | Google+ | Your Law Store | How to Evict Your Tenant website | the Which Tenancy Agreement Guide | Landlords Tips | Tenants Tips | Landlord Law Store