Handing over the keys to a property represents a massive placement of trust on the part of the landlord. You’re risking the security of a considerable investment in the hands of strangers. Now, imagine one day receiving a phone call from your tenant’s neighbour or the authorities who tell you the property seems to have been abandoned? That’s the position that 36% of the UK’s landlords have found themselves in.
Figures show that abandonment of properties happens most frequently in the North East of England with 51% of landlords having experienced an abandoned property, whilst it happened less frequently in the South West with only 31% of landlords claiming they’ve had a tenant desert a property.
To further rub salt in the wound, the tenant has a legal right to return at any time and take up residence at the property, as long as it is within the time period of their tenancy, and there’s nothing landlords can do to prevent it. The only option left to landlords is taking up legal proceedings to reclaim the property.
It is a criminal offence to end a tenancy without going through the correct and proper legal motions, which means a landlord will have to serve their own property with an abandonment notice, which is generally regarded as an open invitation to squatters as it’s essentially a sign on the door announcing to the world that a property is empty.
These figures have been released as the Housing and Planning Act, which aims to tackle this growing issue, recently received Royal Assent (approval by the monarch that brings the bill into force as a law).
‘The process of recovering an abandoned property is too long, frustrating, and costly for landlords at the moment,’ said Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the National Landlords Association.
‘Many people will be shocked by just how common this problem is, and landlords will be relieved to know that the Housing and Planning Act will create a new process to deal with the issue, giving them far greater security and peace of mind when recovering properties they believe to have been abandoned,’ he added.
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Source: National Landlords Association