There are signs to look out for an abandoned rental property. As Landlord or Property Manager, these are the most common grounds to believe your property has been abandoned.
- The rent hasn’t been paid in full (or at all);
- The tenant has stopped responding to your communication attempts;
- Lawns and gardens are unkempt;
- The letterbox is overflowing;
- Neighbours or other sources have provided information to suggest the tenancy is abandoned; and
- You’ve received information from the tenant that suggests they’ve abandoned the property.
Of course, inspecting for yourself is the best way to determine if the property has been abandoned. The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act allows you to gain access to the property to confirm this. To do so, you must issue an Entry notice (Form 9) allowing 24 hours’ notice to inspect and confirm abandonment.
During that time, the tenant may contact you, advising they have received the Form 9 and haven’t abandoned the premises. This is an opportunity for you to resolve any concerns you may have that caused you to believe the property was abandoned. However, if you do not receive any contact from the tenant, you can access the property.
When inspecting the property, keep an eye out for these:
- A distinct absence of household furniture and items;
- No personal belongings left lying around; or
- The utilities are disconnected.
Upon confirmation, Section 355 of the RTRA Act allows you to terminate the tenancy. There are two options for ending the tenancy.
You can issue an Abandonment termination notice (Form 15) to the tenant at their residence. The tenant must notify the Landlord or Property Manager that they haven’t abandoned the tenancy within 7 days of receiving the notice or the tenant can lodge an application applied to QCAT to have the notice set aside. If you do not receive any of the aforementioned, the tenancy will end seven days after the Form 15 is issued. The second option is to apply for a QCAT order.
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