The Housing Executive and Housing Associations are legally allowed to enter your property and make that property secure if they believe that you have abandoned the property or left the accommodation without giving 28 days Notice to Quit.
In these circumstances, the housing provider can terminate a tenancy without obtaining a court order. However, the housing provider must be satisfied that the property has been abandoned and must follow a series of steps before terminating the tenancy.
Deciding a property has been abandoned
Before the housing provider begins the abandonment procedure it must have reasonable grounds to believe that you have abandoned the tenancy. This may include receiving information from your neighbours stating that you have left the property.
Once the housing provider suspects that the property has been abandoned, it must serve you with an Abandonment Notice. This Notice will request that you contact the Housing Provider within 4 weeks and advise that failure to contact the Housing Provider will result in the termination of the tenancy.
If the 4 week notice period passes and the Housing Provider has not heard from you, it must serve you with a further notice which will bring the tenancy to an end.
If you have left any personal property in the abandoned dwelling, the housing provider must keep these items in storage for a period of 6 months from the date on which the tenancy was terminated. The housing provider must inform you in writing that:
- it is holding some of your property in storage;
- this property can be redeemed at a specified date;
- you are liable for any expenses incurred by the housing provider as a result of storing this property;
- the housing provider can dispose of your property if it is not reclaimed by the date specified in the notice.
If you have not collected the property within 6 months of the tenancy ending, the housing provider is entitled to sell any items which remain in storage.
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Appealing an abandonment decision
In some cases, the property may not have been abandoned. You may have been on an extended holiday or staying with friends or relatives. If you have been unfairly served with an abandonment notice, you have a right to appeal to the County Court. The appeal can be made up to 6 months after the date on which the tenancy was terminated. If the appeal is successful the court can order the housing provider to either
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- Allow you to resume your old tenancy, if the property has not been allocated to another tenant, or
- Offer you an alternative tenancy.