What to do if unsure if tenants moved?

6 Replies

Evicting tenants due on 1st for breach of lease. Texted me they were moving on 7th then gave 4 different dates. Their friend told me they now live in another house but they left a lot of stuff and a week after the last move out date are still taking their time moving it out while leaving all utilitues on I'm paying. They wont answer phone and I dont know if they are finished or when I can go back in. If gone or almost gone like to avoid eviction costs but afraid to go in. 

@Jayne Rocco   They gave 4 moving dates one of which was Sept 7?  Call them from another phone and send a registered letter telling them they must contact you to sign off on the move out.  Check your local laws.  If you don't have something in writing saying they abandoned the remaining items, you may have to store them (at their cost).  I'm guessing there is enough damage that you won't be returning the security deposit  or they'd be answering your calls to get their money.  Again with that, you need to send them an itemize list of the damages.  There is often a set period of time to do this, so make sure you get it done in time.

Post 24 hour notice of inspection on door. Take a picture of note on door.

24 hours later go in side. If less than $500 worth of stuff you can trash it and consider them gone.

I never ever put utilities in my name. I don't by a property that doesn't have separate meters .

I would very all this with your local Magistrate that handles evictions.

1. You are in over your head. Consider hiring a property manager. Yes, a property manager can cost you 10% of rent income, possibly more. But a good one will ensure you have market rate rents and are protected from this kind of nonsense that will cost you money. Every year I rescue owners from themselves because they've allowed problem tenants into their property and it ends up costing them more than if they had just hired me to start with.

2. Your state has laws regarding abandoned property and you should learn them (or hire a PM that knows them). The first thing I recommend is that you enter the home to see if they left junk or items of value. Odds are pretty good that it's a bunch of junk they couldn't fit into their 1982 Ford Escort and they don't care if it goes away. If this appears to be the case, try to get the tenant to confirm - in writing - that they are not coming back. Text or email is sufficient. If they confirm it is junk, haul it off, change the locks, and move on. If they refuse to confirm, make a judgement call as to whether you should junk it or follow the legal route.

If utilities are in your name, shut them off. That will ensure tenants don't hang out in the rental. If they file some legal complaint, you can play innocent and claim that it was a complete misunderstanding...and then take your time getting them back on.

Odds are pretty good they are shysters that are already moved out and they have no intention of making good on what they owe. I would be a little loose with the law and just get their stuff out, change the locks, and move on. If there's a threat of legal action, play by the rules.

@Jayne Rocco

Do you mean you are afraid for your safety to go into unit? Then take a couple friends. Or, if a reason from the past makes you fear for your safety, file for the eviction and have a police office/sheriff go in with you when the time is right.

What class of property is this? If it’s a C or D class and this will continue, hire a property manager.

I'm really appreciating all of the advice. Just to clear up a few things though- no, I'm not afraid for my safety, more of a legal repercussion. The utilities are in my name because it's an old triplex with 1 meter for water and electric I bought for future location value-thus I cant turn them off either without turning off the other tenants.  . I dont believe I'm in over my head or need a PM. I've managed my own properties (over 50 at one point) but never encountered tenants quite like this and feel there is always more I can learn and suggestions I may not have thought of. Sometimes I want to jump the gun or get tunnel vision and I truly appreciate the input.