Stuck with your lodger's possessions


If your lodger has left, but not taken all their possessions, you might be wondering what you can do with their things. Do you have a right to dispose of, or even move them?

As the items in question don't belong to you, if the ex-lodger asks for them, you should be in a position to return them. But you don't need to leave them taking up space in your spare room. Especially if you're intending to let it out to someone else. Box the items up for storage, and keep them safe for a while, in case they get back in touch. Of course, if you've had to forcibly evict the lodger, make sure there's someone with you (contacting the police is a good idea) when they arrange to pick their stuff up, to prevent any malicious damage being done.

You can't dispose of the items or sell them unless you've formally asked the rightful owner if they can remove them first. Let them know what you're storing for them, and how long you're intending to wait before getting rid of them (14 days is normal). Ideally you should send this formally by recorded delivery, so that you have a record that it was delivered. Use text or email only for following up on this initial course of action. If you get no response within the time period stated, you can sell or dispose of the items. Why not donate useful items to a local charity shop so that someone in need can benefit?

If you don't have an address for your ex-lodger, and you've failed to get in touch with them you can do what you like with their possessions. It's good advice to instruct a tracing company to track them down on a no trace no fee basis. If they can't trace the lodger, you've got prove they were uncontactable. And keep a careful record of everything you've done, just in case the lodger decides to come back and sue you for compensation.

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