Abandonment of property occurs when a tenant locks up the premises at or after the expiration of the tenancy, does not occupy the premises and fails to deliver up possession of the property to the landlord.
For ease of understanding, the three (3) conditions to be fulfilled before a property is declared abandoned are: (a) The tenancy has expired, (b) The tenant has not occupied the premises since the tenancy expired and (c) The tenant has not given up lawful possession of the premises to the landlord.
When this occurs, there are two things the landlord is required by law to do. They are: (a) issue a seven (7) days notice of the landlord’s intention to recover possession. (This condition can be fulfilled simply by pasting the notice on the abandoned premises); and (b) apply to the court for (i) an order for possession and (ii) an order to force open the premises.
When the orders are granted, the property will be forced open by the Court bailiffs and the property of the tenant will be taken to the Court premises. The landlord is then free to let the property out to another willing and able tenant.
As a landlord, if a tenant has abandoned your property, do not take laws into your hands by breaking the property open. If you do, you may be liable to pay for damages if any of the property of the tenant is damaged, destroyed or lost. Consult a lawyer to go through the proper channel for you to take possession of your property.