Tenant abandoned property

7 Replies

New investor troubles. 

I have a rental property that the tenant has vanished. It has been about 10 days since I have heard from them and the rent has not been paid for this month. Oct. Is the only way to deal with this situation an eviction? Can I post a letter of abandonment on the property with a timeline? I have been unsuccessful at contacting the tenant or anyone they put as a reference. State of Texas. 

@Matt Treece   Have you entered the unit to see if they have any belongings remaining in there?  Dodging your rent collection calls and abandoning the apartment are two different situations.

I'm not familiar with the laws in Texas, but in RI, you can send an abandonment letter to the tenants after they are more than 15 days late on rent.  They are given 10 days to respond and then you are able to repossess the apartment.

The other option is to go through the eviction process for nonpayment of rent.  Obviously, this can be a costly process.

If they did remove all their possessions of value and it's reasonably believed that they will not return to the apartment, you could go ahead and repossess the apartment and change the locks.  In doing so, you bare the risk that the tenant may return and claim that the apartment was wrongfully repossessed.  This would certainly save a good amount over an eviction, if you feel VERY confident that they have no intention of returning.  You have to weigh the risk reward if the apartment appears to be abandoned.

@jason boulay, i have entered the premisis, and the only thing in there is some food and a mattress. I am certain they have left. Another tenant in a connecting unit told me they had a huge fight and left with most of their belongings. 

The answer should be found in your state landlord tenant regulations....read, study ....know the law.

This may vary in TX, but you have to look at the circumstances and the players. Where I operate, there are two options. Eviction for nonpayment which can allow you to get a judgement on someone’s record making it difficult to allow them to rent elsewhere. If the property is deemed abandoned and we don’t pursue an eviction, we are supposed to store their belongings after being inventoried for 30 days I believe. This is at our expense.

That is what your supposed to do. 9 out of 10 Times, if they dip out, I’ll go in the unit. If the TV’s are gone but random garbage furniture remains, they aren’t coming back. I trash it, swap locks, and turn the unit over. Technically not by the book, but bust outs of this nature who take off very rarely if ever want to engage you. They took what they wanted and leave you holding the bag.

You need to consult with your landlord/tenant attorney.  If you don't have one, now's the time to find one.

In a similar situation I was advised by my attorney to enter the property with another person, video the property, and if it was clear they were gone, go ahead with making it ready for the next tenant.  Ideally, they will have left the keys behind.  If it looks like they're still living there (doesn't seem to be the case) then you should do an eviction.

@Matt Treece

Texas law allows the owner to declare the property abandoned .  The law does not specifically define the criteria for abandonment.  Some of the criteria I use:

-Utilities Off

-No activity at the property for more than 72 hours.  I usually post the notice to vacate

- No communication with the tenant

-Items of value have been removed

With your scenario, I would declare the property abandoned and take possession, proceed to cleanup and get the property rented

@greg h. Thats what i am going to do. Post a notice to vacate, give 3 days, then empty it out.

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