Tenant moved out without telling me

12 Replies

Just realized a tenant hadn't paid rent (my bad. 25 days late) called them. They said they moved out on the 1st. They have a deposit of one month. Never called never texted. No notice. I'm wondering if it's trashed since they didn't come track down their deposit. Said they can drop off keys on Friday. 

Do I even consider giving their deposit back if it's clean? Lost a month here I could have been placing tenants. 

At the very minimum it seems that they owe you for this month's (March) rent. So I'd at least charge for that.

@Lucas Carl

What does your lease say? Does it say they need to give you notice before moving out? All my leases state they have to give 30 day written notice. If your leases don’t say that then you need to start adding it so this doesn’t happen again.

Focus on your lease, if you need analyzing it, let me know and we can look at it. 

If you're in jurisdiction, you can send them to collections but get it rented out ASAP obviously.

If they owe you money, keep the deposit OR offer them half back if they can let you a tenant in 2 weeks.

Couple of ways to leave on the right foot and salvage the rent.

Reach out to me anytime

First, our leases require one (1) calendar month's notice, and given when they pay their rent on the 1st day of the final month of occupancy. 

If they didn't give notice, they violated the lease and forfeit their deposit. My advice is to go over to the place and post two notices, one notice being a 3 Day Pay Rent or Quit and a notice of inspection. Post them on any and all entrances so they can't say they didn't see them. 

Your notice of inspection will allow an inspection 24 hours later, which you exercise and discover that instead of paying the rent, they vacated the premises as stipulated in your pay rent or quit notice. You can take possession of the premises, change the locks and screw getting the key back, just keep their deposit. 

Now some states require an accounting of what you did with their deposit, so send a letter to their old address, they didn't give you any idea of where they moved, and indicate the part of the contract they forfeit their deposit for not giving notice. They probably didn't clean it either, so charge them for that as well, including changing the locks. 

When you count it all up, they should owe you more than the deposit. End the accounting with the admonition of where they need to send the money they owe you.This will keep them from seeking out an attorney to litigate the matter.
 

@Lucas Carl, without any notice from them, unless/until you receive keys the tenants are in possession. 

True, it's your bad that you let it slide for 25 days.  Go and inspect, and if it's obvious they moved out, change locks and secure the premises.  

Use an 'abandoned property' notice to take possession--check your state's rules.

@Lucas Carl  I agree with Marc.  They still have the keys and didn't give you 30 days' notice.  Go and inspect it and keep the deposit to cover the rent.  Hopefully it is in good shape.  Do the inspection before you get the keys, so you know what to expect.  Hope you can find a new tenant quickly.

in today's climate of no evictions that could be a blessing.  ???  that has happened to me so often i forgot how many times. 

our lovely C D class tenants who are judgement proof they simply dont pay the last months rent and never ask for their deposit and move out :(  

Originally posted by @Lucas Carl:

Just realized a tenant hadn't paid rent (my bad. 25 days late) called them. They said they moved out on the 1st. They have a deposit of one month. Never called never texted. No notice. I'm wondering if it's trashed since they didn't come track down their deposit. Said they can drop off keys on Friday. 

Do I even consider giving their deposit back if it's clean? Lost a month here I could have been placing tenants. 

 I'd imagine that your lease states they need to provide you with advanced written notice that they are vacating. I see no scenario here where you'll need to give them any of their deposit back. I'd imagine they will end up owning you several grand. However, very unlikely you'll ever see a penny of it.

Keep the deposit. They didn't even bother to notify you. That is of course, unless they have record of an attempt to contact you with the information, in which case they could raise a dispute and successfully stick it to you. Others have responded with better authority than I. 

Notices posted. 
I don’t think I’ll ever hear from them again.

Problem solved everyone thanks for your help! 

They moved out on the first, but you don't get the keys until Friday?  Sounds to me like you don't have possession until Friday, so they owe rent up until then, or until 30 days after they gave you notice.

Did they tell you in writing that they vacated?  IMO, but check your local laws, if they didn't pay and said they left, you can enter without notice. 

We inherited a tenant who swore he always paid by the 6th every month.  Two months in, on the 6th, I haven't received payment and also got a shut off notice e mailed to me that morning.  We went to the apartment and spoke with neighbors, he had moved out in a hurry the day before.  We could see that some things were still in the apartment through the window, no one was coming to the door, and I felt we had a right to enter.  I put the key that the previous landlord had given me in the lock, it didn't work, then I recalled that the tenant had been home each and every time we had visited, before and after the purchase, so now I have a new item on my new purchase checklist- verify that the keys work!  Luckily he had left a window unlocked, so with a boost from my husband I gained entry through the window.  He had left one working window A/C unit, a bunch of broken furniture, and 6 kitchen cabinets were stuffed full of plastic grocery bags.  We cleaned and fixed up the apartment, and had it rented within a month.  I never got a forwarding address despite leaving several messages, so I sent his final statement to the same address to be forwarded to him and never heard a thing from him.  We kept his deposit, between giving no notice we would have been entitled to it for the month's rent, it would have been difficult to make a case on the damages since there was no condition report from when he moved in, but we could have charged him to remove and dispose of all the junk.

@Lucas Carl check your lease of course, but my guess is you are entitled to 30 day notice, which would mean they owe you March rent. You can use deposit to satisfy unpaid rents. Only caution I would give you is to advertise the property available April 1, not available now. If you are keeping their deposit for March rent, you cannot advertise it as available until April 1. That is probably not a big deal since it is only a couple days away.

To cover yourself legally, you will want to send a security deposit return letter. Wait until April 1st to send the letter. In the letter you want to summarize any damages and deductions. You would deduct March rent and if there is any damages or cleaning, they will likely owe you money. Send that summary to their current or last known address. I am assuming they didn't give you their new address. Send it to the current address via certified mail. One of two things will happen - it will get forwarded or returned. If returned, do not open the letter, just file it away in the envelope. Should they come back later demanding their deposit, you have proof that you sent them a security deposit letter to last known address. The postmark on the envelope is proof of timely delivery attempt. 

I am fairly sure you will not hear from them again, but cover yourself just in case.