Dealing with Tenant Abandonment

Property Management Blog

You get that sinking feeling when you don’t find your tenant inside your rental property for few days. Has he abandoned you? You have tried to contact him, but he has not replied. You checked the home and found that he has taken away all his belongings. Here is how to deal with such a situation.

You know you need to act now even though the property is under the possession of your tenant legally. There are two methods of dealing with such a situation. You can either go for tenant abandonment or initiate the eviction process.

Most landlords hate to start eviction process against their tenants. It can be a tedious and costly affair. However, it might be a prudent decision in certain circumstances. No matter what you decide to do, it is in your own interest to get sound legal advice from your attorney.  Laws regarding eviction and abandonment are different in different states.  It is better to know the laws in your area before proceeding.

Abandonment process

If you are interested in tenant abandonment, it is better to wait for some time. Wait for at least 15 days after the payment of last month’s rent. You can then issue a notice stating that you want possession of your property because of abandonment. This notice also needs to be sent to the address given by the tenant which is your own property.  He will never see this notice, but you must follow the rules of abandonment. There are three essential details in this notice.

*Landlord’s name, address, and telephone number
*Statement making clear that you want to take back possession of your property within 10 days because of abandonment
*That the property will be reclaimed and rented out if he does not contact you inside these 10 days

You are free to advertise the property and receive queries from prospective tenants in these 10 days. You can consult your attorney whether you can show the property to prospective tenants or not.

Taking possession back

After waiting for 10 days, you are free to clean up your property and decorate it for prospective tenants. There is this condition that might freeze you in your tracks and force you to take the eviction route. Have you decided what you will do with the belongings of your tenant that he has left behind? You can remove these items from your property but cannot simply throw them away. In fact, you must keep these items in your custody and allow the tenant 30-day time to come and collect them from you. You must take a decision in this regard depending upon your ability to remove and store the belongings of your tenant. If the items left behind by your tenant are few and you can store them elsewhere in your property, you can initiate tenant abandonment. If there are too many items and you would need a truck on rent and storage space to keep them safely, it is better to take the eviction route.

Most tenants do not leave behind valuable items once they have gone away quietly without informing their landlord. You will only find junk and trash and nothing else in the house of your tenant who has abandoned you. It is a good idea to make a video clip of the inside  of the home as a proof to show in case your tenant turns up in future and claims his belongings.

In the end
The process of reclaiming possession of your property is quick and smooth. However, every tenant is unique, and it is always a good idea to take advice of an attorney before starting the process of abandonment.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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