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How Can You Tell If a Rental Property is Abandoned?

It isn’t much of a surprise that a lot of landlords are still confused over whether their rented property is abandoned or not, as some tenants do not notify their landlords when they have to be away for long periods of time. Ideally, the tenants should notify their landlords or property managers if they are going away for long periods at a time.

When can we tell if a rental property has been abandoned by the tenant? Well, if a tenant leaves a property without prior notice and with rent owing, the premises may be considered abandoned.

Here are a few reasonable grounds to help you conclude that a rental property is indeed abandoned:

  • Unpaid rent
  • No response from tenant when contacted
  • Property is void of household goods
  • Accumulation of unread mail in the mailbox
  • Power, phone and gas services are disconnected

If you or your property manager believe that a tenant has abandoned the rental property, you may issue an Entry Notice (Form 9). A 24-hour period must then be observed before inspection can be conducted to confirm if the property has been abandoned.

If proven so, the property owner may apply for a QCAT order stating that the property is abandoned (Residential Tenancies Act 1987, Section 77).

As landlords, you may claim compensation for any loss of rent or damage caused by the tenant.

Being the owner, it is your obligation to keep all costs at a minimum. The tenant would be obligated to cover all the costs involved in reletting the property, such as the break of lease fees and costs for advertising (in case the property is rented through a Real Estate Agent), as well as the rent incurred until the end of the agreement, or until you have found a new tenant.

When ending a tenancy, you can choose from either of the options below:

  1. Apply for a QCAT order
  2. Issue Form 15 (Abandonment termination notice)