Need some advise. I have a tenant that I believe no longer lives at the property. She was behind on rent and facing eviction. I have tried to get a hold of her through her old phone number and via Facebook but have not heard from her in a week. I got ahold of her cousin who said she has moved. What steps do I need to take to properly end the lease and evict her so I can clean the place up and re-rent it? I posted the 5 day notice on 12/2/17.
@Karl Huth I would first contact WE energies to make sure the utilities are still up and running. However I think after 10/31 they won't shut off utility unless the owner can show the unit is vacant. With that said you would still need to contact them to make sure the tenant has not taken the account out of their name. If then tenant has requested their name to be removed from the account, you bet the tenant is gone.
I would fine a processor to follow the regular eviction process as you have not heard directly from the tenant that she has vacated the property. Have you gone into the property? If not I'd suggest placing a notice on the door and getting in as soon as possible. You may want to send a letter certified mail to cover yourself.
I had this happen to me once. I sent the tenant a text message and a longer e-mail. I gave them a little lesson in landlord-tenant law. I explained that I couldn't re-rent the apartment because, without notification from them that they had vacated, they were still the tenants. That, unless she provided me with a signed note...either e-mailed or left at the property...I would have no choice but to go through with an eviction. Which would show up on their record. I also mentioned that, because they left with no notice and two months still left on their lease, they are responsible for the rent until I get a new tenant. Except I can't even show the property, until they release it back to me or are legally evicted by the courts.
They didn't reply back to either my e-mail or my text. But, later that night, they dropped off a signed note that they had vacated the unit.
What does your lease say about abandonment of the premises?
Thank you all for the feedback, greatly appreciated. In the lease under the 'Possession and Abandonment' section it states 'If Tenant is absent from the Premises for two(2) successive weeks without notifying Landlord in writing of this absence, Landlord may deem the Premises abandoned unless rent has been paid for the full period of the absence'. It also states that I do not have to store any personal property besides prescription drugs which I have to store for 7 days.
I am interpreting this to mean if I do not hear from her for two weeks after trying to make contact with her I may deem the property abandoned and take possession of it? Thoughts?
Its not that you haven't heard from her in two weeks, its that she appears to have been gone from the property for two weeks. This time of year, in Wisconsin, watching for tracks in the snow can be helpful for determining if anyone is still residing at a property. You may ask a sheriff to to accompany you on a welfare check as you first enter the property. Another thing to check is whether the utilities are still on (if they were in her name). You can often enter a property if it is needed to ensure safety. If the utilities are off and you are concerned about the possibility of a person frozen inside or other potential harm may have come to a tenant given a lack of communication, that may be grounds to hasten the welfare check.
Attempt to contact to do a walk thru. Text/ call, fb to last known number. No response attempt to enter on date/ time you told her. Also contact FDL water, they can tell if any daily usage on meter. (if separately metered)
Call me man if you have more questions.
Consult with your landlord/tenant attorney. I was advised to take another person with me and walk through the property and video everything. Ideally, they would leave the keys behind. That's considered legal transfer of possession. If not, it becomes a judgment call. If its empty, they're gone. If their stuff is still there, they're not. In between, maybe. Clothes in the closets and food in the fridge? They're probably legally still there. Most stuff gone and what's left is trash? They're probably gone.