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Hot Topic Highlight - What is the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977?

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What is this week's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we take a look at the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. Thanks go to Clearway for their input to this blog. You can read more about what they do at the bottom of this blog.

This is essential reading for RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates with commercial Property Management as a technical competency.

What is the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977?

Landlords must act in accordance with the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 when dealing with any goods left behind by tenants.

Any landlords that dispose of or sell goods left behind by a tenant without following the correct procedure as laid out by the Tort Act 1977 could find themselves liable for damages.

As a landlord, you would generally expect that when a tenant leaves your property, they would take all their belongings with them. However, from time to time, you’ll find that tenants leave furniture or belongings behind at the property.

Whilst this is frustrating and it can be tempting to bin the items immediately, if it later turned out that the items were of value, your tenant would have grounds to claim damages from you.

Any items that a tenant leaves behind are still their property and according to the law, a set procedure must be followed before a landlord can dispose of them.

What steps should a landlord take?

First, you should store the tenant’s goods somewhere secure and make reasonable efforts to trace and contact the tenant.

If you do not have the tenant’s new address, you may need to use a tenant tracing service to prove that you have made reasonable efforts to find them.

Next, you should serve the tenant notice to come and collect the items by sending a letter to their current address.

The notice should include the following information:

  • Where the goods are being stored.

  • A description of the goods.

  • A date by which the tenant must collect the goods.

  • Notice that if the tenant does not respond by this date the goods will be disposed of or sold.

If the tenant does not get in contact or collect the goods by the date given, the landlord can then sell or dispose of them.

What happens to any proceeds made from the sale of the goods?

Any proceeds made from the sale of the goods are the tenant’s property and should be returned to the tenant once deductions have been made for any debts owed by the tenant to the landlord. Debts owed could include rent arrears, the cost of storing the goods, and any selling fees.

Who are Clearway?

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Operating nationwide, we have extensive experience working with some of the largest property and facility managers, landlords, insolvency practitioners, insurance providers, and infrastructure contractors in the UK. We also work across the public sector with local authorities, the NHS, the Met’ Police and social housing providers.

Security and safety supplier today, your technology partner for tomorrow.

Whatever you need, we have you covered. With a strong focus on vacant property, asset protection and site security, contact us today to see how we can help you.


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Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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