Hi everyone. I have a problem that I hope you can help with. I haven't gotten rent from a tenant in a while and have made phone calls and sent letters to no avail. When speaking to a neighbor, I asked if they knew about this tenant and they said that they didn't think anyone was living there.
I dropped off notice saying I'd be going to check on the property for inspection and then visited the unit the next day. It appears as though this person no longer lives there. There are a few things in the property such as a dresser, mattress, box-spring, and garbage, but nothing else really.
It looks to me like she is gone.
What should I do? Can I just haul her crap away and move on? I don't see the point of using a lawyer because whe's already out. She does owe me around $800.
What should I do?
I'm leaning towards just hauling the stuff away and moving on. She broke her contract by not paying and from my phone calls, letters, and the word of neighbors, she's a ghost.
Issue a 3 day notice to quit to be on the safe side. Then haul her stuff.
This is a difficult issue. If you throw their junk away and move on, she may come back and claim that you conducted a self-help eviction. That can get you in a lot of trouble when the tenant gets a FREE legal aid lawyer.
I would suggest talking to your attorney and get his recommendation. You will need to determine what's legal in your state. You might be able to claim abandonment. Also, I would suggest that you immediately evict tenants as soon as they are late.
Talk to you later,
I always go the full legal route so I am covered. This includes the sheriff serving the papers and being present when I open the door.
I would also bring a video camera over there before moving anything and take a shot of every inch of that unit. Have another person with you as a witness also (sheriff would make a nice witness).
Then if she comes back looking for her 37" plasma television, it will more difficult (but, not impossible) for her to sue you for it.
You can know that the contract is broken but you can not set aside the contract. A judge is the recourse to void the contract. You need to do an eviction to restore your right to lease that property to someone else. Do not move the stuff out until you have a court order since your tenant has rights.
Likely there is a clear standard for what you must do in the state. Here is what I am used to when I was directly managing.
You follow the normal process to vacate or be evicted. Figure out what notices the state requires.
Once the notice period is up then you can enter. Again, follow the state laws for what your state requires on this.
Any items left have to be stored for a period. Notice has to be served that you will be storing the items with the costs being passed on to the ex-tenant if they want to retrieve them.
If they do not claim them you need to auction them or otherwise show that you received fair compensation for anything of value. You can deduct costs for storage and other fees that are owed you.
If there is a surplus the money might belong to the ex-tenant.
The risks are that you think the stuff is trash and it really is some antique or speciality item. Maybe the person was in a hit and run and they are in the hospital in a comma. They could return and then sue you for selling or junking the items. You can not prove that the items were not of value. If you failed to follow the clear instructions for your state (court assumes things are clear) then you are likely to lose a suit. If you followed the process then you will be OK and things will be settled up.
It is not pretty but...
Granted when the stuff really is trash haul it away. Just remember that one man's trash is another man's gold.
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