Q. My tenant has vacated my property leaving items behind. I know that they want to come and collect them, but do I have to leave them in the property as I want to re-let it?
A. Landlords whose tenants leave property behind are in a position known in law as an ‘involuntary bailee’. You are not allowed to destroy or sell the items as they do not belong to you and you have a duty to look after them.
However, you do not have to keep them in the property. They can be moved elsewhere so long as you keep them safe, notify the tenants and allow them to collect them at reasonable times.
If the tenants fail to collect the items there is a procedure under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 which you can use, but it looks as if this is not the problem in your case.
Q. We suffered damage to my rented property recently due to a leak from the property upstairs after their washing machine flooded. I have been able to repair and make good all the damage after a successful claim on my insurance. However, the tenants are now claiming for the cost of damage to their possessions. Do I have to pay this?