A cat left behind!!

15 Replies

I have a tenant that just moved out, but left behind all their furniture, food and worst of all they left their cat! It's a real shame that we can't take damage deposits in

The cat is a first for me in the last 10 years of landlording. I don't really know what to do. I've brought home the cat for now, but I guess I'll have to give it up to a local shelter.

Any advice or suggestions on what to do? I intend on giving them 2 days to remove their items and claim the cat before I hire someone to do it and bill them for the trouble.

If they left behind furniture, food and a cat how do you know they really left? Did they hand over the keys?

Yes, they left the keys with us. I'm worried that they have illegally subletted the place because when we originally rented to them, there were no pets.

I'm not sure of the tenant laws in your jurisdiction. You may have to put the belongings in storage for a few weeks so you can show & rent the place out. Research that pronto to be certained. As for the feline keep it for a while if you don't mind. If you want keep it permanently if they don't return for it. Otherwise sell it or give it away...

If they don't return for their belongings after a while sell or give those away too. Trash what you can't sell and don't want to keep.

Kudos,

Mary

Speak with an attorney in your area. I've had this discussion, and in our area, handing over the keys legally means they've handed over possession. The stuff could be disposed of as you wish.

Please do something humane with the cat. A no-kill shelter would be best, assuming you don't want to keep him or her.

You can call a consignment store to come and pick up their furniture if it is worth anything. Call animal control for the cat. Clean the unit and get it re rented.

Ming your profile says you are in Canada. Is your property with this tenant located there or in the united States??

Here in each state the landlord tenant laws and process vary considerably. In Canada I have no clue how things operate relating to tenants. There are generally what is called "personal property disposal laws" that must be followed for your area.

You need to at lease call a local eviction attorney where your property is located to get options about your specific situation.

Ming did they just hand you the keys OR did you get a signed letter from all parties on the lease that they were relinquishing their leasing right and vacating the property as of such and such date??

If you let them hand over their keys to you without getting the letter or checking the unit then that was a mistake.

No legal advice.

@Ming Lim

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act and accompanying regulations indicate how long you are to retain/store a tenants belongings before you are permitted to dispose of them. If you still have access to their deposit, you should be able to use those funds to offset the cost of storage.

As for the cat, I would take it to the SPCA or a local cat rescue organisation.

I'm concerned that you mentioned illegal subletting. Are you sure the tenants that turned over the keys were living in the property? Is there any chance the possessions and the cat belong to someone else who still lives there? Does the property look like it was being lived in? Or is it the usual crap left behind plus cat?

I think I am missing something here. If they hand over the keys to you why didn"t you do a walk through at that time.

Joe Gore

Pack it up and send it to @Brandon Turner!

If the tenant surrendered the keys and you have it in writing , I would be clearing out the place BEFORE someone could claim they were subletting , the longer you wait the worse it could be .. IMHO

My brain would not jump to subletting with the addition of a cat. Tenants accumulate all kinds of stuff during tenancy, authorized and not.

We've had cats left behind. Tenants gave notice and moved out, but left two cats in the yard. Any pets were strictly prohibited. They were super friendly, loving on us to get inside, until we brought over crates. We couldn't catch them and they started hanging out under the house.

I suspect that the tenants came back to get them at some point. Maybe after move in settled down so their landlord didn't see. We alerted the new landlord, since he had called for a reference and we had given a glowing one, not knowing. And we made it harder for critters to get under the house again (constant battle in our area).

Originally posted by @Michele Fischer :
My brain would not jump to subletting with the addition of a cat. Tenants accumulate all kinds of stuff during tenancy, authorized and not.

We've had cats left behind. Tenants gave notice and moved out, but left two cats in the yard. Any pets were strictly prohibited. They were super friendly, loving on us to get inside, until we brought over crates. We couldn't catch them and they started hanging out under the house.

I suspect that the tenants came back to get them at some point. Maybe after move in settled down so their landlord didn't see. We alerted the new landlord, since he had called for a reference and we had given a glowing one, not knowing. And we made it harder for critters to get under the house again (constant battle in our area).

I definitely work with that class of tenants and previous owners that accumulate crap. Been left with plenty of cats. And once a pit bull puppy. But always in the yard (and under the house and in the attic and in the outbuildings), never in the house. Leaving a cat behind in the unit is out of the ordinary for me and would make me wonder.

So here is what happened...

Sunday was a very confusing day.. but to make a long story short, the tenants did sublet to someone without my knowledge. The subletters knew they were supposed to move out, but haven't finished moving out before we entered the unit. Hence their belongings and the cat were still mostly there.

To answer the keys question, as this property is far away from where I live, I typically have the tenants just leave the keys in the mailbox on their last day. Turns out they made an extra set for the subletters! I expect some level of mess (this is a student rental property) left behind and it's built into the pricing.

Anyway, the subletters are clearing out and have taken the cat along with them. Good thing, because my dog was ready to eat it. :)

@Jean Bolger

I saw the title and immediately thought the same thing. The picture topped it off for me though.

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