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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10400
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I let out a garage in Guildford. The tenant has not paid the

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I let out a garage in Guildford. The tenant has not paid the rent and I can't contact him. He left his previous address and his mobile is permanently on answerphone. I believe that he may be in hospital suffering depression. The garage is packed full of his junk, which seems to have no apparent value. What can I legally do? Can I dispose of his belongings?

Have you tried using a tracing agent?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not very useful if he is in hospital. Can I legally dispose of his stuff?

Thank you.

Firstly, you need to try to trace the tenant. You will find firms like this will do no find no fee for £50 plus VAT.

If it comes up blank, that helps.

you also need to put a notice in the London Gazette which is deemed to be a notice to the world asking for his whereabouts and to get in contact with you, and a notice in the local newspaper similarly.

Then, if you don’t get an address you will do all it could be reasonably expected to do to find him.

In a properly drafted lease, you would be entitled to lock him out usually, when the rent is paid for 14 days. Unless that provision is in the lease, you have to apply to court for an order to get him out otherwise the eviction is unlawful. You can serve papers at his last known address.

Assuming that you either have a court order to get him out there the provision is in the lease, then you need to write giving him a reasonable period of time (say 1 month) to remove his belongings failing which they will be sold at auction to the highest bidder. If they’re not worth anything, you need to make sure that you have independent evidence and photographs of everything that’s been left behind.

If you do get money from it, you can deduct the cost of finding him from that. The money belongs to him and you need to keep it safe until such time as he surfaces. Keep the evidence you have of you attempt to find him.

The notice that you give him to take everything out is given under the Torts Interference with Good Act and should say so in the letter.

This explains a little more.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.


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