Briefing: Abandonment Lords Committee Stage

Published: February 2016

Briefing on Abandonment, Housing & Planning Bill 2016


The Housing and Planning Bill contains a clause that speeds up the process of a landlord taking possession of their property where it has been abandoned by the tenant. By taking responsibility for possession claims away from the courts this measure risks making it easier for rogue landlords to carry out illegal evictions.


  • Landlords already have sufficient powers to reclaim a property, including in cases of genuine abandonment.

  • Cases of genuine abandonment are rare, fewer than 2,000 a year, which amounts to only 0.04% of private renting households.

  • Tenants who have to leave their properties for a short period and who fall into arrears are at risk of unintentional or illegal eviction.

  • Safeguards within the Bill are well-intentioned but inadequate. The clause should be removed from the Bill or independent verification of abandonment introduced to it.