Personal possessions left behind by a tenant or lodger

11.8.2 Updated on:

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 get an order or restraint on the possessions until the amount of the debt is paid back. This order can only be made by a 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

The landlord should give the tenant written notice 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 deduct the storage costs. The landlord can keep the storage costs but any other money belongs 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 asking the tenant to remove their possessions or advising that they will be sold.

Lodgers in registered lodging houses

Two weeks after the termination of the lodging agreement, 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.

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’.