Hoping to impose on your great cache of knowledge once again.
My husband and I purchased a property in February with a large garage. We agreed at the time of closing to a Delayed Possession Agreement for the garage (something I will never do again, BTW, but we were told that the owner was recently widowed, having a hard time and would really appreciate the extra time to clean out the garage, so we wanted to be nice - oops!). The agreement is up on May 8.
This would not be an issue if the former-owner-now-tenant hadn't made it painfully clear that they are going to take every last minute to clean out the garage. In fact, no moving of stuff is taking place at the moment - only working on cars.
Needless to say, we feel taken advantage of (we though we were helping someone by giving extra time to move and in reality, they are treating it like "their property" (words they have used verbatim)), but the real concern is that they will not move when they agreed.
We want to make sure we are above board when we start moving their stuff (provided they do not surprise us and do it themselves in a timely manner). So:
Given that we do have a Delayed Possession Agreement and Rental Agreement Addendum in the contract, do we need to notify them in writing of the intention to terminate the lease?
Is there any special wording for this kind of notice, since it is not a standard lease?
Thanks in advance for your help - this is an extremely frustrating situation and a huge reminder that doing favors for people in real estate is very often not the smart way to go.
Does the agreement spell out what happens to any "abandoned" property at the lease end?
No - the agreement is really simple - it's a one sheet part of the sales contract. It just says that the lease is over on May 8. Nothing about reverting to month-to-month, abandoned property. It's pretty vague, which is what makes me concerned.
There is this in the agreement:
- Tenant agrees to remove all personal property both of value and of no value, from within the garage/shop and premise by the end of the rental agreement. Landlord and tenant agree to a walk through inspection upon move out day to determine if all personal property has been removed.
So it says specifically that they have to move out but not what will be done with their property if it's not moved out.
Possession agreements are usually on an addendum with clear language as to termination and don't need further notice. However, if that agreement is violated then a party in possession can cause an eviction process. Evictions vary state to state, a month to month or any possession being less than a year may be the requirement you need to meet. In those cases notice is required, notice may be 30 days before an eviction can be implemented, so from that angle, in order to evict notice may be required. That may be limited to the time of default, going past the agreed term. If you have real concerns I'd say ask your Realtor and/or attorney.
To reality, I doubt you're going to be in a long drawn out matter of possession, just to the garage, I doubt this widow will be fighting with you or trying to enter the living area.
You do have an obligation to safeguard her belongings, they are in somewhat of your care, custody and control, you can't just though her stuff on the street. Landlords are required to hold tenant property before they may dispose of property, so you need to know those state requirements.
I'd say safeguarding might be reasonably met by moving stuff out into a fenced in yard in the back or on a deck and throwing a tarp over it after the term expires, depending on what the property might be. She would likely be responsible for costs of moving and safeguarding the property, you could have it moved to a storage building.
But really, this sounds like emotions have driven more of the concern than is probably warranted, here referring to her home is a technical misstatement that you seem overly sensitive about. Chances are, if you just ignore the little stuff and not get into the drama, everything is likely to be just fine. Sellers usually don't want their things in a garage others have access to. :)
Thanks @Bill Gulley for the thorough reply. I agree that it's better not to let emotions get the best of us here (although very easy to do given the circumstances).
What I was planning on doing is sending a certified letter reiterating the end of the contract and suggesting a time on May 8 when we can do a walk through, which was agreed to in the original contract. So we have a paper trail of diligence.
I'll check in with a lawyer here about state requirements in re: the actual property and keep my fingers crossed for the easiest outcome.
Kathlyn - this problem really isn't much different from any other kind of purchase, including buying from a distressed owner.
I'm in California where the laws are pretty well defined and tend to bias in favor of consumers and tenants (I'm saying that kindly). I had a deal about 10 years ago that ultimately cost me about $400,000 out of pocketdue to allegations that personal property was mishandled or missing, so I'm a little sensitive to the topic.
That being said, here are a few tactics to consider:
On May 8th (hey, that's your agreement, right?) show up with a crew to either 1) document removal of everything and relocate to off-site storage and give seller the address and key; 2) put valuable items in a PODS or similar modular storage container and transport to her new local residence or the PODS facility; 3) itemize items (in lots, if necessary) and hold a published auction and send proceeds to seller.
Bill Gulley may be right about putting the personal items in a pile, however I once had (another) bad experience about 25 years ago when I was the nice guy and allowed a former owner to leave their personal property in the garage for a short time (post eviction). The story end with a lot of Samoan drama and the local SWAT team being called out.
I don't need this kind of distraction in my life and I'm sure you don't either. My vote is to give no reason for the former owner to ever return to the property, post May 8th.
Thanks @Rick H. for the advice. I am going to hope against hope that they vacate on time. As to the personal property that's left over if there (hopefully) is (not) any, we will be careful on how we proceed disposing of it. I do like the idea of putting it in a PODS pod and delivering it to the former owner's door! :)
I'm double checking Idaho state law - we have a little more pull here as landlords (one of the reasons I sell properties in CA instead of renting them!).
Thanks again for the input - much appreciated!!