Property removal

9 Replies

We own a single family rental in Gwinnett County, GA. We rent to 3 separate tenants. One is on a month to month lease but has not paid rent in 2+ months and hasn't been seen in 4 weeks and has left property in the house. We will start proper eviction tomorrow but want to remove and store his property. Is the removal and storage of his property legal?

No! You can not enter the room or touch his belongings.  File the eviction and then the writ.  The Marshall will let you in the room.  Go through the correct process.

I am not familiar with Georgia law, but as said above, definitely find out what it is and follow it to the letter in case you end up in court on it. Documenting is always a good idea; keep notes somewhere about when resident was last seen/in communication with you, how and when you tried to reach the person, take a couple of pics of personal items left if you can get in there legally. (In Oregon, we can post a 24-hour notice to enter for inspection or maintenance). 

In Oregon, we also have an abandoned property procedure. Check your state laws; I assume every state has something similar to deal with this situation, as it occurs regularly, I'm sure.

hi Steve,  

I am not an attorney and you definitely want to consult with one before moving forward but, you do have the right to enter the room and I recommend that you do only to verify there are no safety issues that put the other tenants in jeopardy. I would not remove any belongings. The tenant could easily claim damaged or stolen property. Take plenty of pictures. If it were me and the tenant does not show up to court, once given the writ of possession I would consider the items abandon and dispose of them. 

Here's the issue you might run into with the sheriff. In Fulton County, when the sheriff arrives for the removal of items from a single-family home it's either all the items from the home or none of the items.  The sheriff will not put themselves in a position to determine whose property is whose within the home. if it's a legitimate boardinghouse that's licensed to rent individual rooms make sure that's clearly documented in the evection process. 

Best of luck

@Steve Gee

With proper notification you not only can, you have a duty to inspect the premises.  As Jason pointed out, safety is a valid reason.  I believe property abandonment carries with it additional rights to the landlord.  I would contact an attorney to exercise your rights.  You may find you don't even need to evict.

@Steve Gee -- Also here is another thought for you - The tenant could have saved money for the holiday traveling they are doing, instead of paying rent, or maybe they are just ill, in another state, or even out of the country because it's the holidays. Maybe they are in the hospital or worse yet, in jail. You do have the right to start eviction as soon as they are late, but maybe you get all your money tomorrow and don't have to worry.  Maybe this is also going to be a lesson as to what is legal with regards to room rentals in Gwinnett.  Wish I knew what the law is and maybe it's the same as the rest of Georgia which you can read about in the post from @Linval T.

Originally posted by @Matthew Paul :

Call them on the phone and ask them if they moved out ? 

 Good idea.  I should have thought of that. Oh wait, I did. Phone goes straight to voicemail each of the 14 times I've tried. Called his mother who won't answer either. Called and left messages at his place of employment but never get a return call.  But thanks for the fabulous idea.

To those supplying good advice and information I thank you for your help.