In properties with communal areas there is always the potential for residents to abandon or wrongfully store items in those areas.
It may be that a previous resident left behind items they didn’t want to take with them, or a current resident who has left an item they now no longer need or perhaps are storing it somewhere that is in breach of their lease. If in these circumstances the owner does not remove their items, they can be served a TORT notice that will allow us to arrange for the removal and disposal of the items.
A TORT notice can be served on any item that needs to be removed and can include items such as old bikes, white goods left outside and unwanted furniture.
What is a TORT notice?
In the context of shared residential properties, A TORT notice is a legal document that can be attached to an item that is believed to have been abandoned on the grounds of the property. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 permits JCF as the managing agent to then arrange for the disposal of the abandoned goods if the notice is not acted upon or the item removed.
The notice will clearly explain which Clause of the property lease is being breached and the date that the item will be removed if the owner does not remove it themselves. The removal date will be based on the 14 day notice period that the owner must be afforded.
In addition to issuing the notice(s), the residents will also be given a letter to advise them that the notice has been attached to the item. This gives all residents fair warning that if the item or items are theirs, they must now remove them if they are wanted. In some cases, where there are numerous items that could be a mix of wanted and unwanted items, such as a row of bikes, the owners are asked to remove the notice from their bike if they wish to keep it. Any items that then still have their notice attached will be removed after the 14 days are up.
If items are arranged to be removed by JCF, they will be either disposed of if they cannot be reused, or if they are in sufficiently good condition they will typically be donated to a local charity.
What process should be followed when serving a TORT notice?
Obviously it is in no one’s interest to remove a wanted item, so the process relating to issuing a TORT notice is focused on making best efforts to notify any possible owners and to make it clear how much time they have to remove the item.
The process for issuing a TORT notice and removing the item would then follow these steps:
- Prepare notice and covering letter.
- Attend the property and attach the notice to any item that should be removed.
- Take photographs of the item(s) as evidence and proof of the condition of the items.
- Send the letter to both leaseholder and tenant, with a copy of the notice and photos.
- Follow up after the notice has expired.
- Arrange for removal of the item by a contractor and agree method of disposal.
We find that by following a strict and clear process, there is little room for confusion or error and everyone understands the reasoning behind why the item or items need to be moved. Owners who want to keep their items typically make swift arrangements for them to be moved within the timescale given and those who don’t want to keep their items are in no doubt as to what has happened to them when they see that they have gone.
If you feel that your property would benefit from a more professional managing agent, get in touch with us today to discuss your property.