This policy describes the requirements for processing a public rental property abandoned by the tenant. Its objectives are to enable staff to:
- identify as early as possible properties that have been abandoned
- take appropriate measures to reclaim abandoned properties
- reclaim any outstanding rent and/or miscellaneous debts from former tenants of abandoned properties
- prepare the properties for re-tenanting as soon as possible.
This policy is consistent with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
A property is considered abandoned when the tenant has left the premises permanently and it is no longer his/her primary place of residence. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 1997 section 61 , states that a tenancy is terminated when the tenant abandons the property.
- Property abandonment not confirmed
Where abandonment of a property is suspected but cannot be confirmed beyond reasonable doubt eviction action will be taken in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
- Tenant absent without permission
An unauthorised absence of more than one (1) month is considered a breach of the Tenancy Agreement and Housing Commissioner’s Additional Terms - clause 1. Tenants who are absent from the property for more than one month without Housing ACT’s permission will be required to resume occupancy immediately or appropriate legal action for possession of the property will be taken in accordance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 section 36(e).
Rent in lieu of Notice
When Housing ACT confirms that a property has been abandoned the tenant will be charged three weeks rent from the date of abandonment as compensation for not giving notice of vacating the lease (Residential Tenancies Act 1997 section 63). The date of abandonment will be the date Housing ACT determines, after making reasonable enquiries, that the property is abandoned.
For copies of fact sheets contact Housing ACT.
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