So I bought a triplex recently, fully rented. I stopped today to check on the property and coordinate a utility inspection with one of the tenants. Looked in the window, unit is empty. Electric has been turned off.
Tenant’s lease was through April ‘20 under previous owners lease.
Can I seek lost rent? Is it worth my time?
Secondly, with the apartment abandoned and electric being off (assuming unpaid bill) can I legally change the locks immediately? Or do I need to post a notice of any sort?
Thanks for any input
@Jason Papp for clarification: Property is in Pennsylvania. Westmoreland County 45 min outside Pittsburgh.
@Jason Papp just went through this. You won’t get that rent. Consult an attorney about Changing locks.
In my case I was able to talk to the tenant and they told me they were moving out and I confirmed they moved out
@Caleb Heimsoth Thanks Caleb. I figured the rent wasn’t worth the effort. I’ll reach out to an attorney. I was also assuming there was a sticky situation brewing around changing locks without proper steps being taken.
Be happy people you didn’t vet are gone. Do you have any contact information for them? If so give them a call, if they answer just confirm they have truly left and if they say yes ask if they would sign a release of the property back to you control. No harm no foul and move on.
If they don’t answer just ask them nicely the same thing via voicemail. Or just text them. People respond better if they feel in control.
After that is done then change the locks as advised by your lawyer. Or if they sign the letter then the property is all yours again.
I had something similar happen, about 4 months after I purchased. The tenant moved out overnight and dropped the keys off with the neighbor. Easy enough changed the locks, cleaned the property, updated it some and sent him a bill for almost 2,000 dollars. It was legit charges, but I never saw a dime of it. And I didn’t expect to. But he sure didn’t come calling asking for his security deposit back.
@Jason Papp check your state laws.... in Fl you can regain posession if the landlord presumes that the tenants appear to be gone for 15 consecutive days.
@Eric C. Thanks. And I agree. Silver lining is I can replace and screen myself.
I didn’t get a phone number for this tenant at closing. I did get a tenant estoppel form, I’ll be adding phone number to that form going forward. I reached out to the sellers as well for the #.
@Jason D. Thanks Jason. Great name btw haha
@Jason Papp I doubt the electric company will give you any information though they should let you know if the bill was paid. Try mailing a letter to them (use registered mail and tracking) at the house. They probably have forwarded their mail to the new address and you can show that you tried to contact them. Presumably you have the security deposit.
Post a note on the door saying you are coming by at XXX time on XXX day as you want to check on the place. If the electricity is off, better hope the fridge is cleaned out and the fridge door is open.
@Theresa Harris Great advice on registered letter.
Here I'd simply post an abandoned tenancy notice on the door, enter to verify things are ok with no power (like the fridge), change the locks and leave.
The abandoned letter has my name and contact info to call with questions. Check your state LL-tenant law under 'abandonment'.
@Steve Vaughan Thanks Steve. I’ll look it up and check my BP state form package as well.
Have had this happen a few times now. They did you a favor. Hopefully you got the security deposit at closing which you can now put toward getting the unit rent ready.
One property a guy left all of his belongings including tools. I always wonder what happened to that guy. I left a notice on the door for a few weeks just to be sure, but the electric was off.
@Jason Papp Assuming this tenants security deposit was properly credited to you at closing like it should have been, you now have that money to put towards the turnover which isn't a bad thing. This is a short terms setback that will actually set you up better for the future.
@Jason Papp let it ride man. You dodged a bullet.
You have two options : option A: track him down drag him back to the unit and force him to keep paying his rent or option B ; clean the place up change the locks and rent it back out . Everyday that thing sits vacant is a day you are losing 20 + bucks out of your pocket so dont wait around for things to get better or for the idiot to come back . Post the appropriate notice on the door take a photo of it mail out a letter stating you are considering the unit abandon ..and proceed to refill the unit
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