Tenants illegal storage

9 Replies

In August we closed on an 8 unit property and inherited the tenant base. Most of these tenants would have never passed our screening process and we intended to proceed with non-renewals as leases expired. C property in a B area that we purchased as a value add asset.

Prior to closing, we asked for the current Owner to notify the tenants to remove from the premises any items not stored within their assigned storage locker or apartment. The Owner even scheduled a 40 yard dumpster 1 week prior to closing to allow the residences an opportunity to discard any items that they no longer wanted.  As soon as we closed on the property, we sent introduction letters and posted notices regarding storage rules, which again were that all items needed to be stored within their assigned storage locker or apartment otherwise items would be considered abandoned and removed from property.

All residences complied but one who's lease was set to expire Oct 31. Upon vacating, it was discovered that a bicycle and a kids toy jeep had been left on the boiler room. They had preyed the door jam to gain entry to the locked room. This room was not inspected during the move out walk through by my property manager so these items were not discovered until last week. When they were discovered they were donated.

Today, the old tenant left a voice message demanding these items and then preceded to file a police report. 

How would you guys respond to this situation? Thanks in advance for your input!!

Thanks for the feed back guys! 

Quick update....the police contacted us as a follow up to the tenants attempt to file a report.  The officer informed us that the tenants were told they had no basis for their claim and the items would be considered abandoned in the police departments opinion. We did advice the police of the illegal entry so it's documented should this issue surface again at a future date.

Thank you again for sharing...I'm really looking forward to adding value to this project and continuing to make improvements!

Brian

Originally posted by @Brian Karlow :

In August we closed on an 8 unit property and inherited the tenant base. Most of these tenants would have never passed our screening process and we intended to proceed with non-renewals as leases expired. C property in a B area that we purchased as a value add asset.

I am salivating as I read this paragraph.  This is exactly the strategy we employed when we bought our building.  Upgrading tenants is the best way to improve your investment!  Excellent job!

BTW, my handyman taught me to love fist holes in walls.  He said every fist hole is worth $10K off the price.  Then he taught me how to make perfect repairs.

Glad it worked out well for you!  I agree, it was abandoned property.  If the items had been left behind in their unit, then you would deal with it in accordance with the landlord-tenant laws for your jurisdiction. Being that they were put into your mechanical/maintenance/storage area made all the difference.

Just a note.... when a tenant makes a threat to call the police, call their lawyer, or sue us.... our standard response is sincerely and calmly stated "Do what you feel you need to do." I came across that phrase when working in the patient relations department of a large medical center. It serves well to help defuse anger and bring a person to their senses.

Tenants may make empty threats, but if they do proceed, then we address the complaint or demand letter when we receive it. That could mean our lawyer talking to their lawyer, but so far it has never come to that. 

Glad everything went well. Just as a minor rule (and of course please check with your local laws and how it applies in this case).

Everytime, i run into an issue with a tenant (regardless if it is minor or major one), i try to add a clause for it in the lease; so it it then mentionned in the lease they sign next time.

I hope this tip helps some folks here.

Best,

Taoufik

I was going to suggest ignoring the voice mail and that the former tenant filing a police report was likely to end exactly the way it did.

My dad was a "building superintendent" (fancy name for janitor) for three buildings in Evanston, Illinois.  Each tenant was assigned a locker in the basement.  It was not unusual after move out a tenant might leave something behind, either in the apartment or in the locker.  In most cases my dad trashed it but if it was "good stuff" he'd save it and once or twice a year have a garage sale.  One year when he was having this a former tenant stopped by the sale and claimed dad was selling one of "his" items.  Dad said nope, it was his stuff but he'd offer the guy a good deal if he wanted to buy it from him.

Nothing ever came of the former tenants claim either.

Gail