Advice for Landlords With Tenants Who Have Abandoned Their Lease
Private landlords all over Australia face the issue of tenant abandonment. Although the majority of tenants will give notice within the requirements of their tenancy agreement when they intend to quit a property and hand their keys back accordingly, some just don't do this. As well as being discourteous, it can lead to landlords facing certain business costs. Read on to discover what landlords should do in these circumstances.
Try to Establish Whether Your Property Really Has Been Abandoned
You might think that your property has been abandoned and you might be keen on taking it back, but do you really know that this is the case? Telltale signs of abandonment include failure to pay the rent and a build-up of mail in the letterbox. However, this could easily be because your tenant has been hospitalised or gone on holiday whilst forgetting to pay. Phone, email and write to them to try and establish the facts. Ask neighbours and anyone else who might be in the area who can confirm your suspicions. It is always worth knowing your tenant's next of kin in situations like this when you don't get a response.
Don't Repossess Without Notice
Never enter your property without giving proper notice. Seek legal advice if you want to enter your property even if you think it is abandoned because you could land yourself in trouble if it is still being occupied. Written notice that you will attend for a tenancy audit or for a maintenance check-up is usually enough to allow you to enter the property and look around.
Change the Locks
Once you have established the legal right to repossess your property following an abandonment, you should have an emergency locksmith change the locks for you in case your tenant unexpectedly returns. In cases where the tenant has changed the locks themselves to prevent you from accessing the property, you will need to hire a 24 hour emergency locksmith. Have paperwork on you that proves you are the legal owner of the property and that you have the legal right to change the locks to prevent any hold ups.
If your tenant has left personal items in your property, it is good practice to store them temporarily so that they can be collected. The next job is to carry out any repairs that might be needed so that your home is in good condition to return to the market and find a new tenant.