Here is a question to the blog clinic from James (not his real name) who is a landlord
My Tenant’s lease had expired and was renting periodically,she gave me notice 2 months ago,since then she moved into a safe house (protective police custody due to abusive ex).
I have made clear that I need the house cleared for re-letting. Can I just throw her belongings out? Change locks and re-let?
I have had no rent or returned keys for 3 months
It is always tricky in circumstances where the tenant has not returned the keys. However if the tenant has actually given notice to quit and has then moved out you are in a much better position, as the notice should have ended the tenancy.
However, if you are to consider the tenancy ended (and it is arguable that the tenant’s actions are not consistent with an intention to continue with the tenancy so I think you may be justified in assuming it is at an end) you cannot just throw her possessions away.
You are, I am afraid, in the unfortunate position of an ‘involuntary bailee’ and must look after them for the tenant. You can move them however, so if you have any storage area available then I suggest you move them there, so you can re-let the property.
Before you can dispose of or sell the things left in the property, you need to comply withe the Torts (Interference with Goods Act) 1977. You will find guidance on how to do this in Bens post here.