Personal possessions left behind by a tenant or lodger ( 11.8.2 )
Personal possessions left behind by a tenant or lodger
Updated: November 2017
Words you may need to know
Tenant - somebody who rents a building, house, set of rooms, plot of land, or piece of property. This arrangement is usually under the terms of a lease or a similar legal agreement.
Possessions - belongings, goods, property
Restraint – a control over something
Lien - a legal claim on somebody's property
Possessions left by a Tenant and Money is owed to the Landlord
A Landlord who is owed money by their tenant is not allowed by the law to sell a tenant's possessions to recover the debt.
In this situation the Landlord should go to a lawyer to get an order or restraint on the possessions until the amount of the debt is paid back or permission to sell the possessions is given by the Court.
The Landlord has a 'lien' over the tenant’s possessions that are mentioned in the Order until the debt is paid.
Possessions left when NO rent is owed i.e. Tenant leaves after correct period of notice
The Landlord should give the Tenant written notice telling them that after one month the possessions will be dealt with at the Landlord's discretion.
At the end of the month if they have not been collected the Landlord should inform the Tenant that their possessions will be sold to cover storage costs etc. The Landlord should say what the storage costs will be.
Possessions should be held for three months.
If the possessions have still not been collected the Landlord should sell them and then take off the storage costs. The Landlord can keep the amount of money that the storage cost but any other money left from the sale of the tenant’s possessions belongs to the tenant and the landlord should send the money to the tenant.
If the Landlord does not know where the tenant has moved to and cannot contact them, an advertisement should be placed in the JEP Gazette section asking the tenant to remove their possessions or advising that they will be sold.
Lodgers (in registered lodging houses)
One of the terms in the Standard Agreement for Landlords and Lodgers requires the Lodger to immediately remove all their possessions when the Agreement ends.
Two weeks after the termination the Landlord may dispose of any items left behind 'in any manner at his discretion'.
All costs in respect of the temporary storage of items will be a debt on the part of the Lodger that is owed to the Landlord.
Lodgers in a private house
If no lodging agreement is in place the Landlord should try and contact the lodger and ask for the possessions to be removed.
If not successful then two weeks later, the Landlord may dispose of any items left behind 'in any manner at his discretion'.