Garage clearout: what can we do about unwanted furniture left behind by seller?

Question: My husband and I have just helped our daughter move into her first property. It is a small terrace house which has a garage at the end of the garden.

The garage is absolutely full of old garden furniture, a rusty BBQ, bags of compost, broken toys, boxes, old ladders etc.

What can my daughter do? She does not want this stuff.

Surely the seller should have taken it away with them?

Answer: In general, a contract for the sale of residential property provides for vacant possession on completion i.e. the property must be unoccupied and empty of all contents apart from any contents which the parties have agreed should remain following completion.

Before exchange of contracts your daughter’s solicitors should have received from the sellers’ solicitors a Property Information Form completed by the sellers in which the sellers should have confirmed that on completion the property would be free of rubbish and would be left in a clean and tidy condition.

Your daughter should ask the solicitors who conducted the purchase for her to advise the sellers’ solicitors of the situation and tell them that if their clients do not remove the items they have left behind immediately, that she will arrange disposal of them and will look to the sellers for reimbursement of her costs for so doing.

If estate agents were involved in the sale, your daughter could ask them to encourage the sellers to remove the rubbish. If all else fails she could take court action against the sellers to recover any costs she incurs but that is likely to be time consuming and costly.

She should check if she has legal expenses insurance which may cover the cost of a dispute.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Fiona McNulty is a solicitor specialising in residential property.



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