Tenants disappeared and their friend gave back keys and vacated

7 Replies

My tenants rent was already 5 days late and we agreed to meet last night at 7pm for me to collect. When I got there nobody was home so called/texted them, both their phones are turned off. I wait a while and supposedly their friend came by to clear out their stuff and gave me back the house keys. She told me that they left on an emergency flight back to the mainland and were not coming back. No idea why, no notices, no nothing. I was just contacting them this morning about me coming down tonight for the rent and the tenant said "sure". I have a pay to quit notice signed by the witness that im going to post up on their door. Am I allowed to change the locks and re-rent? Can they come back and am i legally obligated to keep the unit empty? Desperately in need of some advice as I have never dealt with anything like this. I have their security deposit as their lease was supposed to end in june. The only thing left that the friend couldn't take was the bed that they purchased.

As of right now, I will be filing for an eviction. My main concerns are. Am I legally allowed to terminate the lease due to abandonment and change the locks before the eviction goes through? I have an abandonment clause in my lease stating that " If the tenant vacates or abandons the property, the landlord shall immediately have the right to terminate this agreement."

@David Dong with your clause and the return of keys, go inside and make sure the place is ok. Make sure that there are no conditions that would harm the property. (Water left on etc). While you are doing that inspection, see if it appears that they’ve taken all their stuff and abandoned. If so, I’d feel comfortable retaking possession. I’d attempt to email them or text them to state that your understanding is that they’ve abandoned. Ask them to tell you if things are otherwise. The. I’d change the locks and get the property on the market. I’d only file for eviction if I thought I could get money out of them.

Originally posted by @Ryan B. :

@David Dong with your clause and the return of keys, go inside and make sure the place is ok. Make sure that there are no conditions that would harm the property. (Water left on etc). While you are doing that inspection, see if it appears that they’ve taken all their stuff and abandoned. If so, I’d feel comfortable retaking possession. I’d attempt to email them or text them to state that your understanding is that they’ve abandoned. Ask them to tell you if things are otherwise. The. I’d change the locks and get the property on the market. I’d only file for eviction if I thought I could get money out of them.

 I've emailed and texted, so far no response. My main concern is if I dont go through the eviction process, can I legally repossess my property and re-rent it? I'm concerned if they randomly appear and claim I wrongfully evicted them.

"I've emailed and texted, so far no response. My main concern is if I dont go through the eviction process, can I legally repossess my property and re-rent it? I'm concerned if they randomly appear and claim I wrongfully evicted them."

Your concerns are valid.  I would check with a local attorney to see how best handle it.  Your local laws might allow you to re-rent, but it's your word against the friend.  If you throw the bed out they'll claim it was a priceless family heirloom and the mattress was stuffed with cash.  

If there is no response, all of their items are gone, you have the keys and the utilities are out of their name, I'd say it is safe to say they are gone. Go in and make sure the place is okay, send a registered letter stating that the lease is terminated (use the mailing address for the house) and get it re-rented.

Aloha @David Dong , I would contact the Hawaii DCCA - Consumer Protection Office at eight o eight five eight six two six three four to get some guidance and ensure you don't violate any Hawaii Laws in securing your property and handling the tenants deposit. Please Google the Hawaii DCCA (Landlord Tenant Handbook) which may be useful (note: can't post links on BP reply's)

A friend of mine is a local Property Manager on Oahu who does this for a living, if you need some guidance, I am sure he can help you. Please PM me and I will connect you up with Russ. HTHS, Joel