Section 6


Sub-Section 6.1

General Information


s. 1(3), 106, The Residential Tenancies Act


Abandonment: an abandonment is when a tenant:

  • leaves the rental unit, without proper notice, and tells the landlord that they don’t plan to come back; or
  • isn’t living in the rental unit and hasn’t told the landlord they’re going to live there again; the tenant’s rent has also run out.


If a landlord believes a tenant may have abandoned a rental unit, the landlord should post a notice to the tenant on the door of the rental unit, saying that:

  • the landlord believes that the tenant has abandoned the unit and the landlord plans to enter the unit to deal with the tenant’s belongings; the Branch can provide a sample copy of this kind of notice; or

  • the landlord plans to enter the unit to inspect.

In some cases, a tenant who rents a mobile home lot may abandon their mobile home and its contents. If a landlord believes that the tenant has abandoned, they should post a notice on the door of the mobile home. The landlord may change the wording on the notice to fit their situation.

When a landlord posts either notice, they must give the tenant at least 24 hours to contact them.


If the rental unit is unlocked or not secure when the landlord posts the notice, the landlord should make it secure. The landlord should leave a notice on the door, telling the tenant who to call for a key. The landlord must give the tenant a key if the tenant responds to the notice.


When a landlord enters a rental unit, the landlord should look for confirmation that the tenant has abandoned. The landlord may want to check to see:

  • if the tenant’s clothing and personal toiletries are still in the unit;
  • if the mail and newspapers or flyers are piling up; and
  • what’s left in the fridge; in particular, the landlord can look at the expiry dates on any dairy products.


If the tenant doesn’t respond to the posted notice and the landlord believes the tenant has abandoned, the landlord can take the rental unit back into their possession and change the locks.


If a landlord has a tenancy application for the tenant, they should call the tenant’s relatives or employer to see if they know where the tenant is. The landlord should also check with neighbours to see if they’ve seen the tenant at the rental unit.


While a landlord may call the Branch for information on abandonment procedures, it’s up to the landlord to decide if the tenant has really abandoned the unit. If there’s a dispute about the landlord declaring the unit abandoned, the Branch will decide if the landlord acted in good faith.


If a tenant leaves pets in the rental unit, the landlord should contact the Humane Society for information or assistance.



This policy is included as information for landlords, tenants and officers. If a landlord has questions about an abandonment problem, they can ask the Branch for information.

Steps ▼

1.If a landlord contacts the Branch because they believe the tenant has abandoned the rental unit, an officer may give the landlord information about:

  • posting a notice on the door of the rental unit;
  • looking for signs to confirm that the tenant has abandoned; and
  • what to do with the tenant’s belongings if the landlord declares the rental unit abandoned.

2.The officer may write down the details of the conversation with the landlord so that the information is on record with the Branch.

Forms & Form Letters


For information on what to do with a tenant’s abandoned belongings, see Personal Property in this section.

Policy Developed

March, 2004

Last Revision

Other Resources




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