In many cases, a landlord may have previously occupied the property that the tenant is now renting. This is great because it means they know the property well, and how things work. However, it can be problematic when the tenants discover they left some of their things behind!! Letting Agents are often made aware that the landlord has left personal items in the loft or garage when it comes to the new tenant moving in. So, what happens now? (It is the landlords’ property after all)
Was the storage negotiated before the tenant moved in?
A landlord may wish to store items in the garage or the loft at the property. This should be made very clear and reflected in the pricing of the property, for example not advertised as having a garage and priced as if it doesn’t if it is used for the Landlords storage. It should also be outlined in the tenancy agreement and it is the landlords’ responsibility to ensure the garage or loft is secure, inaccessible by the tenant and that they have the appropriate insurance for any items they are storing. It is unreasonable to expect the tenants’ contents insurance to cover things they don’t own.
It is important that the tenant does not try to gain access to the restricted areas or to move the landlords’ belongings or they will be held liable for any damage or loss caused. If, for example, there is evidence of a leak and the tenants believe the items might get damaged they should report it to their agent as soon as possible so the landlord can arrange repairs or move their items. Landlords should be advised that the tenants are under no obligation to do this and items are left at their own risk).
Does the storage form part of the tenancy?
If the property was advertised (and let) as having a garage, then it is for the exclusive use of the tenant. The tenant will have full access to the garage and should take out contents insurance to cover the belongings kept in it. It is therefore not appropriate or fair for the landlord to leave personal items in the garage during the tenancy.
An inventory and schedule of condition is an important document and KeyRing Lettings highly recommend every Landlord has one for each property they rent out. An inventory details each room and the contents in it and the condition of those things at move-in. When the tenant moves out the inventory is a crucial reference point when assessing the condition of the property. The tenant should make sure that the inventory is a true reflection of the property when they move in and if there is anything left in the property that they do not want responsibility for they should contact their agent and ask for them to be removed. Whatever items that landlords leave for the tenants to use are the tenant’s responsibility so it should be made very clear.
What if I didn’t need to use the loft when I moved in, but I want to use it now?
Peoples’ lives are constantly changing and the restriction to storage that was agreed at the start of the tenancy might not suit the tenant 6 months down the line. If the tenancy agreement states that the loft is not to be used by the tenant a request can be made to KeyRing Lettings to ask the landlord if this could be re-thought. Let’s be clear- the landlord is under NO obligation to do so. If they do oblige then the change in the terms of the tenancy agreement should be documented and signed as should the inventory.