Tenant is not returning my calls, or texts

11 Replies

Hello, My current tenants are on 30days notice period. They supposed to move out at the end of January. It was month to month lease and I did not renew because of smoking. After 2 written notices and tons of complains from upstairs neighbors, I had enough. I have place posted and I'm ready to show it to potential renters. Lot of people interested. I'm trying to schedule viewing but tenant is not picking up phone, nor returning texts or emails. What are my options at that point? Thank you for your help.

Is it possible they already vacated? In a scenario like this, it's not unusual for a tenant to just "ghost" and disappear with no further contact. I've had tenants do just that and leave two month's prepaid rent in escrow!

You have the right to enter the unit (pursuant to whatever your State's landlord-tenants laws stipulate for notice/timelines, etc). In this case, you could probably even deem it an emergency/welfare check. (I've had tenants die in their units, so there are very legitimate reasons to check on tenants who have gone incommunicado).

My first priority would be to check on the unit and figure out if they are still living in it. If not, then you turn it around and move on to getting it ready to rent. There's no lease to be concerned with since they're month to month, so if they've moved out (or at least are no longer living there...moving their furniture out and no longer living there do not always go hand in hand unfortunately!), change the locks and move on.

If they are still in it, you might want to consult an attorney and move forward with an eviction for writ of possession asap.  If they haven't gone by now, there's no reason to believe they're going to change their mind and go willingly anytime soon. Every day you wait is another day of lost rent.

Jeff Copeland, Broker in FL (#BK3326487)
727-235-7988

I just went through this with an inherited deadbeat. He payed December rent then stopped payment on it. Stopped all communication. I served 5 day pay/vacate. Went on vacation for a week. When back decided to stop by before going to courthouse to start eviction process. He had moved out. Better yet didn’t trash the place. So yes, stop by and see first hand what’s happening.

They are still there just don't want to communicate. Yesterday I called phone rang twice and went to voicemail. They are clearly avoiding me.

Rent is paid up and I have their security deposit. Which btw I'm going to keep if they live unit smelling like an ashtray.

I just wonder if I could send a note about eviction process due to breaking lease agreement by not communicating with me/not letting me in.

And/or saying I will charge them for my loss since I have no way to show the property and signing new lease starting beginning of February.

I just don't understand their behavior. Maybe they are not planning to move at all?!

You are kicking them out so what's their motivation for playing nice?

In my experience, they will not cooperate and you will miss the opportunity to show the house. Just let it go. You could force yourself in but it will likely result in more problems and they could scare off any potential renter. You could go the eviction route but it will take longer than the end of the month, cost you more, and you still won't be able to show it to potential renters.

Just keep an eye on the place to see if they are moving out. Take possession once they do and deal with it accordingly.

Why show it smelling like smoke ?    But you can post on the door a  notice to do an inspection of the property 

I would not recommend you show the unit prior to the old tenants moving out. Let the tenants move out, assess the damage, get it rent-ready, and *then* start showing the unit. Vacancy is to be expected so trying to minimize it by showing while people are still there is likely a waste of your time. The smell of smoke and I'm sure the overall look and condition currently of the unit is not going to attract any quality tenants.

If your tenants don't move out by the date they're supposed to, then you immediately follow the first legal step in your area to have them removed.

Do not try to show while a unit is occupied.

305-537-6252

@Aleksandra U.,

You may want to quit trying to communicate. They have a right to quiet enjoyment of the property, if you end up in court and they show that you called 42 times, sent 68 texts and knocked on the door 7 times in an 11 day period you could find yourself in a position you don't want to be. 

If you really want to let someone in you can post notice that you are entering within the proper time frame (24/48 hours depending on your area and lease). If you do that though I would expect your potential renter to fall into some drama that day and find a less than desirable apartment in front of them. Would you rent a place that you went to look at and a screaming match ensued between the tenant and landlord?

I would wait it out, just my 2 cents. You can't evict them for not answering your calls.

Mike Cumbie, Real Estate Agent in NY (#10401285310)

I agree, don't want to show it when it looks/smells bad. Just thought they would be reasonable, let me in and keep it nice since they are moving out and have to leave it in good condition otherwise they won't get damage deposit.

I do have a note in a lease saying they have to let me in for showings. I don't bother them
too much, but I'm also not going to let them
be since they have some obligations and responsibilities as tenants.

Sure I can expect some vacancies but maybe only when there is no one interested. Since I have at least 4 qualified potential tenants, I don't want to lose the opportunity.

It's a tough situation, never had it before.

It looks like though, I will have to wait till they gone. Definitely don't want to have any drama and fights in front of my new potential tenants.

I would strongly consider the advice to wait to show until current tenant moves out but here's a devil's advocate view: 

You can send 24 hour notice that you will be dropping by to show.  Unfortunately the place may not show WELL, and that great tenant prospective may be less than impressed.  If you do go this route, I'd recommend being honest and open with the new tenant about the situation.  Use it as a learning opportunity and way to get some communication flowing with your new tenant.

It may depend on where you are financially as to the 'call' here.  If you can't afford the vacancy and need to get the place filled ASAP after current tenant moves out, I'd be inclined to just give the notice requirement you need and don't worry if they don't respond.  Use your key.  Here 24 hour notice is required except for emergencies.  Obviously a valid reason if in front of a judge would probably be appreciated... Etc.  This sounds valid to me.  Based on what you shared, I don't think a judge that's reasonable would determine current tenant's behavior to be considerate, courteous, and/or helpful.

Originally posted by @Aleksandra U.:
Hello,

My current tenants are on 30days notice period. They supposed to move out at the end of January. It was month to month lease and I did not renew because of smoking. After 2 written notices and tons of complains from upstairs neighbors, I had enough.

I have place posted and I'm ready to show it to potential renters. Lot of people interested. I'm trying to schedule viewing but tenant is not picking up phone, nor returning texts or emails.

What are my options at that point?

Thank you for your help.

 Don't show occupied units. Just a waste of time for everyone. 

  • You do not know the exact date your current tenants will be out. Yes I understand they told you the date they will be out but that doesn't mean that's actually going to happen that way. 
  • You don't know the condition the unit will be in when they do move out. 
  • Scheduling around tenants is insane. The unit won't look right with all their belongings & your not really saving yourself much money given the extra hassle & risk.
James Wise, Real Estate Agent in OH (#2015001161)
216-661-6633
Originally posted by @Jim Goebel :

You can send 24 hour notice that you will be dropping by to show.  

This is your answer.  EXCEPT bring a friend they've never met who will do you a favor and "see" the place with you.   Literally "Show" the friend the place as though it's a real prospect.    Maybe it's a Contractor or Agent so you can begin to 'professionally' assess what you'll need to do to fix it.  Maybe it's just a pal.  Either way, get inside your Unit. 

... then, buy said friend lunch in the next town over.  

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