What would you do? Tenant gone

15 Replies

Good evening all,

Wondering if anyone has been through a roommate or tenant just disappearing. This gentleman in his 40s, I saw him about 7-10 days ago, then when it came to pay his rent, it never came. The rule in Hawaii is, a landlord may give a tenant (or place in a conspicuous place in the unit) a 5 day notice that rent needs to be payed, or they will be evicted. This can be done anytime after the rent is due.

This man is nowhere to be found. I am pretty sure its been over a week since he has physically been here. It is now 5 days after the rent has been due, and no rent check and no tenant. I can technically go to court and start eviction process after 5 days, whether tenant is here or not. Would you go do that, file missing person report with police, or what. I am usually pretty laid back but I am getting worried about him.

I forgot to mention that his phone has been off this entire time, making him unreachable. He did not make any attempt to reach me and I did not see any check in my mail as of today.

I am a hard *** landlord. I would start eviction for sure. If you think this is out of character, than I would maybe file a missing persons or follow up with his next of kin.

I applaud you as a landlord who is more concerned about the welfare of your tenants than a rent check. There's a special place in Heaven for people like you.

If I were you I would enter the premises under the pretext of an emergency situation. If his personal belongings are gone, then it's likely he skipped out on rent, and I would proceed with eviction.

If his personal belongings are still there, then there is the chance that something happened to him. I would contact next of kin or HPD. I don't know that you would have standing to report a missing person if you're not related. Only HPD can tell you that.

Good Luck!

You have more than one way to contact him (or relative/reference)  if not,  lesson learned for next time. 

Call some other nunbers on the app. 

I make sure I have an email or a close friend or relative phone nunber. 

Is his possessions there? Expensive/smaller things gone? 

That's how to gage whether or not you will see him again. 

Obviously follow proper protocal for getting in there to look. 

Does your county have a website that lists jail inmates? You can call the police and see if an ambulance has been dispatched to the house. If you have an emergency contact, this would qualify as an emergency.

Post a notice to enter per your lease/local laws, and see if the property is empty. Call the utility company and ask if the power has been turned off or the account transferred. 

If the unit is empty, it's been abandoned - although consult your local laws. In NJ and FL, we have the legal right to secure our property and change the locks if it's considered abandoned.

If there are still personal belongings in the unit, and the utilities are still in the tenant's name, then start calling around.

When I bought my first rental many years ago, every month had a new twist and turn. 

Truth is, I did not have a guidebook on how to manage my property. Perhaps more importantly, I didn't have a written policy for how I would treat each situation. 

The written policy is the thing the frees me up from having to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Rent is due on the 1st, late charge applies after the 3rd, 5-Day Notice is served and posted by attorney after the 8th. 

Sending a Notice to Enter on 4th day might be a good policy as you will see what's going on sooner. 

If he's been a valued tenant in past and worth salvaging the relationship, go ahead and become a rent stalker and track him down. 

Personally, I have better things to do, like learn from my experiences and move on, and cutting my losses, following local law for handling tenants stuff, changing locks, prepping unit and marketing to find replacement tenant. 

Keep working on improving your systems.

I would enter the property and see if his belongings are still there.

Might be worth checking with power, cable TV and internet providers.  They will not tell you much besides if the account has been closed.

I would also check the mail box, are mail piling up or have been forwarded?  Send a letter to him at that address and see if it comes back to your property or gets forwarded.

Next I would talk to neighbors who might have an idea or have seen something.

Did you collect an Emergency Contact on the application or the lease?  Use it.

@Andrey Y.

I think it is very admirable to worry about your tenant, that being said, you HAVE to begin the eviction process. The way I see it, there are two scenarios that happened. 1) There is a very logical explanation for the disappearance and it is NOT the tenant's fault. That being said, he needs to know that he needs to take care of his responsibilities and when they are not taken care of, there are consequences. 2) There is no logical explanation, and the tenant is on a bender to Vegas (insert own fabricated details here), or some other scenario where it IS the tenant's fault. THAT being said, they wouldn't be a tenant you would want anyway. 

Either way, you begin the process.

Aly NA 

I am thinking he may have taken a trip somewhere, but that does not preclude him from paying his rent on time. A couple of months ago when I was away for a while on the east coast, he even was nice enough to send me that month's dues to my address there. So either that, or something unforseen has happened. I think I will go ahead an set a court date, I think I can always charge him any late and court fees if he turns up.

Where's my tenant Hawaiian style.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20141219_Shark_sightings_reported_at_Bellows.html?id=286425741

Good thing is the POTUS is on that side of the island so when they round up the sharks they'll gut them and there's Waldo! 

I would also check court cases online using his name to see if he might have been arrested/incarcerated by the police. This will rule out if he is in jail. You never know since you never took a full application on him or checked his criminal record.

Welfare check seems warranted since he is not answering phone or door. Or you can call the police and have them meet you to perform a welfare check with you at the premises to make sure he has not been injured or cannot get to the door due to health issue. That will also give you clues to see if he looks like he might be coming back

http://www.courts.state.hi.us/legal_references/rec...

@Andrey Y.   Did the guy show up yet? Did he leave his things or did he take them?  You said that he had a very basic app, but it should have at least had his work info where he works and who his supervisor is with a contact number to verify that he does work there and make that much money.  They must know if he is showing up for work or not.  If he is self employed I would assume he wouldnt want to lose business and would leave some kind of message saying that he will be out of town for vacation or something on his voicemail.  After those things are determined then you should either either evict or contact the police, good luck.

Wow.. I had a hunch he may have disappeared to Japan for some reason or another. I just found out that he did leave to Japan for a family emergency. He said he sent the check on the 14th (rent due 16th), but I haven't received it yet. Anyone familiar with how long it would take to get mail from Japan? How long would you guys wait until asking him to resend it.

What's odd though, how he couldn't buy an iphone charger in the most electronics abundant country in the world. His phone has been off this whole time.

Lessons learned:

1) Get emergency contact info, always. Although if he didnt have any friends in Hawaii or did they still might not have known of his emergency.

2) Never judge a btook by its cover.

Originally posted by @Andrey Y. :

Wow.. I had a hunch he may have disappeared to Japan for some reason or another. I just found out that he did leave to Japan for a family emergency. He said he sent the check on the 14th (rent due 16th), but I haven't received it yet. Anyone familiar with how long it would take to get mail from Japan? How long would you guys wait until asking him to resend it.

What's odd though, how he couldn't buy an iphone charger in the most electronics abundant country in the world. His phone has been off this whole time.

Lessons learned:

1) Get emergency contact info, always. Although if he didnt have any friends in Hawaii or did they still might not have known of his emergency.

2) Never judge a btook by its cover.

That's why on my application I ask for references and an emergency contact.  If I cannot find the tenant for an extended period of time I will contact those people. 

It's possible he didn't have an international phone plan when he went there. I would ask him to use an electronic rent payment service (like erentpayment.com) if he's out of the country rather than waiting for a check in the mail.  Tell him if the check shows up you will shred it for him if you've already received the electronic payment. 

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