Tenants are the only source of income for landlords. Every landlord sees to it that tenants are allowed entry into his property after proper screening. This is because no landlord wants to face problems caused by bad tenants. One common problem caused by bad tenants is that of abandonment.
Tenant abandonment takes place when one of your tenants goes out of your property in a discreet manner without informing you. He does not honor terms of his lease agreement to cause financial loss to you.
There can be a numbers of reasons behind tenant abandonment, but you have no inkling of things to come when you sign the lease agreement with a tenant. The tenant may be facing financial problems because of loss of job or he may be depressed because of some life event. Whatever the reason, you face a situation where your home is vacant, and you lose its rent.
What you should do in such a situation?
First thing you need to make sure is whether abandonment has taken place. If he has, you need to seek legal advice on steps to be taken from your attorney. You should also take preventive steps to make sure no other tenant does the same with you in future. Your tenant is still in possession of your rental property legally. Therefore, you should not do anything that can land you in trouble with the authorities. It is better to take legal advice to stay clear of any legal problems.
Find out if it is truly a case of abandonment or not. Ask other tenants why your tenant left in a hurry without informing you. Did he face an emergency and was in a great hurry? It is hard to confirm if your tenant has abandoned you and, in most cases, you have to follow your hunch feelings.
Some giveaway signs
There are some signs that point to abandonment. Unpaid rent is one of them. If you are not able to establish a contact, it could be a case of abandonment. Turned off utilities and connection transferred in your name is another sign that your tenant has abandoned you. If you are not sure, it is better to investigate further. It is a good idea to inquire about your tenant from his neighbors.
Once you are reasonably sure that your tenant has abandoned you, it is time to check into his unit. You are well within your right to go inside the unit occupied your tenant to see that everything is right or not. It is a good idea to make a video clip when you go inside your tenant’s unit. Also, do take a witness along with you so that he can verify your action later if your tenant tries to create some trouble. It is better to protect yourself legally as you do not legal possession of your unit till now.
What do you see upon entering the unit of your tenant? Has he taken away all the furniture along with him? Are there any valuable household items inside or he has taken everything with him? Check for the presence of appliances that you gave to your tenant. Are there any clothes inside the wardrobe? Do you see any fresh food items in the kitchen, or everything is left to rot?
If the condition of your unit is bad and everything has been removed, your worst fears may have come true. Leave everything as it is and come out of the unit. Lock it from outside to make sure it is secure. You must now decide upon your future course of action. Should you go for an eviction or follow tenant abandonment procedure?
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