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If you believe on reasonable grounds that the premises is abandoned (a tenant leaves the premises permanently without ending the tenancy agreement), you must formally end the agreement before the tenant can take possession of the premises and deal with any property left behind by the tenant.

First, you may serve an Entry notice (RTA Form 9) giving 24 hours notice to enter the premises for an inspection if you believe on reasonable grounds that the premises have been abandoned. Reasonable grounds can include:

  • Rent has not been paid
  • A build up of mail or newspapers still in the mailbox
  • Observations of neighbours or others that suggest the tenants have abandoned the premises
  • The absence of household goods
  • gas, telephone and electricity services have been disconnected, or the tenant does not respond to attempts to contact them.
Then, you can end the tenancy agreement by using one of two ways:
  • The RTA has an information sheet called Handling tenancy disputes in the Tribunal. You can apply to the Tribunal for an order saying the premises is abandoned. This way is recommended if there is doubt about whether the premise is abandoned or not. A tenant who disagrees with the order declaring the premises abandoned may apply to the Tribunal within 28 days of the decision to have it reviewed. You can give the tenant an Abandonment termination notice (RTA Form 15). This notice should be served to the tenant in the usual way such as by mail or attaching the notice to a door of the premises. If the tenant does not apply to the Tribunal within seven days to have the notice set aside, then the tenancy agreement will be ended seven days after the date the notice was issued.
  • At last, the rental bond can be returned to the tenant, but if an Abandonment termination notice has been served, the RTA cannot process a Refund of rental bond (RTA Form 4) until the Abandonment termination notice has expired. If the former tenant is dissatisfied with the Abandonment termination order issued by the Tribunal, they can apply to the Tribunal within 28 days after the date of the order for a review of the decision. If the Tribunal is then satisfied the premises were not abandoned, an order for compensation for expenses incurred by the former tenant may be made.

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