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More about abandonment
The best way to avoid problems of abandonment is to choose reliable tenants who are less likely to ‘do a runner’. That's why we always stress the importance of comprehensive tenant screening checks, taking inventories and ensuring that the tenant has satisfactory references,
Gathering the evidence to support your claim that you lawfully gained possession on the basis that the property was abandoned is a lengthy and time-consuming process, but a necessary one. Speak to all those who provided references to find out if they know of the tenant's whereabouts. Take notes of the time, date, and person you spoke to.
Utility companies may be uncooperative because of data protection restrictions, but you may be able to get some answers. Speak to the neighbours and ask them if they have seen the tenant recently or if the tenant mentioned going on holiday.
Furnished or unfurnished, if the property contains only what was on the inventory, it is a fair bet that the tenant has gone. If you are even slightly unsure, you must place an abandonment notice inside the property giving 14 days’ notice, copying it by mail to the property address and the referees given.
If after this period it’s evident that the property remains empty, place a notice outside advising that the locks have been changed and provide a 24-hour telephone number for the tenant to call. This legwork will provide invaluable evidence should the tenant reappear and claim unlawful eviction.