Abandonment (England) | Ending a Tenancy (England) | Sub-letting and Assigning Tenancies (England)


3 Aug 2017 | 3 comments

We have a tenant who has been renting our property for the past 7 months, however we believe he has now left the property and is not contactable, the mobile number we had for him he is not answering and he is also 2 months in arrears with his rent. We have also been advised that his business (a nearby restaurant) has been sold and he has moved away. On inspection of the property we found a number of people living in the property who are his former employees. We have asked them to leave and they have agreed they will be out of the property by 3pm today. Please can you advise what our legal position is with regards to re-letting the property. Thank you



  1. guildy

    The question is not whether the tenant is living there (which clearly he’s not) but whether there is an intention to return within a reasonable period. This is never an easy question to answer but without keys you should always assume there is an intention to return (otherwise why else would they keep the keys)?

    If you truly believe there is no intention to return then a landlord can take over the property and re-let. However, the test is exceptionally high and as a general rule without keys or something as substantial as keys (such as a letter from the tenant saying they don’t intend to return) then a court order after notice is required.

    Presumably they are 2 months in arrears now and not paying rent? If so, you could as a minimum get the section 8 notice served which would allow you to get a court order as quickly as possible if you’re in doubt about the question of intention to return. During the 18 days of the notice expiring, you can continue your enquiries and try to get the keys back. Then, obtain a court order if you can’t say that you truly believe there is no intention to return.

    • Dobie

      Thank you for your response, this has been very helpful.

      Can you also advise that as the property was left unlocked and windows left open and therefore insecure we have changed the locks. We have left a notice on the front door should the tenant return advising him to contact the office to gain access, is this acceptable?

      We have also since found out that the tenant was subletting the property and the people living in the flat were paying rent to the tenant.

      [Loxley Homes logo YouTube]

      • guildy

        It all depends whether there was an intention to return. If the tenant did intend to return within a reasonable period, you shouldn’t have changed the locks and it was an offence. If they didn’t intend to return then it’s okay.

        The only way to be sure is not to change the locks and get a court order.

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