Abandoned belongings

1.  When residents leave their accommodation, they sometimes leave their belongings behind. At this point accommodation providers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland need to remind themselves of the requirements set out in the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977.1Schedule 1, part 2 the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 Different legislation applies in Scotland.

Notices in relation to sale of resident’s belongings

2. A notice must be in writing and has to be sent by post in a registered letter, or by the recorded delivery service. It must specify:

  1.  the name and address of the accommodation provider, and give sufficient particulars of the goods and the address or place where they are held;
  2. the date on or after which the accommodation provider proposes to sell the goods; and
  3. the amount, if any, which is payable by the resident to the accommodation provider in respect of the goods which became due before the giving of the notice.

3. There must be a reasonable period between the date upon which notice was given and the date of proposed sale to allow the resident to recover their goods. This period must be no less than three months if, before notice was given, amounts were owing in respect of those goods by the resident to the accommodation provider.

4. No notice may be given and no sale effected if the resident is questioning or refusing to pay all or any part of what the accommodation provider considers to be their due in respect of the goods.

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