Dealing with goods left behind at lease end or following sale of property
Dealing with goods left behind at lease end or following sale of property

The following Property Disputes guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with goods left behind at lease end or following sale of property
  • Ownership of goods and tenant fixtures
  • Notice procedure—Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977
  • Serving notice
  • Selling the goods
  • Practical points
  • Seeking a court order
  • Drafting advice

Goods are often left behind when a lease ends or a property is sold, especially following forfeiture by re-entry when there may have been no notice. The lease may deal with disposal of items but often there is often no specific provision that a landlord can rely on. This Practice Note describes when and how a landlord can dispose of goods left at the premises after a lease has ended, or after a property has been sold. It sets out the procedure under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 (T(IG)A 1977) for giving the tenant notice to collect the goods, failing which the landlord will be entitled to sell them.

Ownership of goods and tenant fixtures

Subject to the terms of the lease, after the end of the term tenant’s fixtures revert to the landlord and a tenant has no right to remove them. There is an exception where the term ended by notice and the period was too short for the tenant reasonably to remove the fixtures, in which case there is a reasonable time to do so.

However, absent any provisions in the lease, goods remaining in the premises continue to belong to the tenant (or other third party owner). The landlord therefore becomes the involuntary bailee of the goods. This may cause problems for a landlord who