Reasonable efforts to trace the tenant
I let a flat and the tenant was arrested and imprisoned at the end of last year.
I had issued a S21 back in October to him and have been progressing eviction through the courts. I have tried to contact the tenant through the prison service and through his family but to no avail.
The Notice of Issue expired last Monday and I completed the tear off portion and returned it to the court the following day. So i am now waiting for the Order for Possession.
I am assuming I will need to employ bailiffs following expiry of the Order for Possession, and that the tenant will not get in touch to confirm he will 'vacate' the property.
I am now considering how best to dispose of his goods following the anticipated bailiff enforcement.
I have checked the legal situation on line and see that: -
The landlord is under a legal obligation to take care of tenant's possessions and in Tort becomes an involuntary bailee with a duty to act reasonably in regard to the goods left on the premises. The law relating to uncollected consumer goods is covered by the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977
The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 allows a landlord to sell goods left in a property if reasonable efforts to trace the tenant or owner of the goods fail. The Act further states that if the tenant is traced, the landlord must serve notice stating its intention to dispose of the items, how to arrange collection, and that disposal of the items will not begin until the notice has expired.
From this I conclude that if i make a further attempt to contact the tenant via the prison service, explaining the position in full, I will have made reasonable efforts to contact the tenant.
I will try and contact him to detail this after I receive the Possession Order.
If i get no feedback from him prior to the bailiffs appointment for eviction I can dispose of his goods as I see fit.
Can you please confirm this is correct?
Thanks a lot.