The property is abandoned. I am having a company secure the property tomorrow and change the locks. Any advice about signage and signs to post?
Bret - I would suggest you consult an attorney in the state that the property is located.
My thoughts (I'm not an attorney):
If there is personal property of any kind inside, I would post a notice to the occupants, informing them that the property was found vacant on ______ (date) and informing them who they can contact to make arrangements to retrieve their property. Each state has different personal property laws. A basic rule of thumb I've heard used, is that if there is property with a garage sale value of $200 or more, consider it personal property and handle with care. I would also post a notice with an emergency contact number so anyone onsite will know how to get a hold of you in case of an emergency. Keep in mind, however, that these types of postings may attract vagrants, drug users and other uninvited guests, depending on the area the home is located. Another thing to consider is to have the securing company open all of the window coverings. This way the neighbors can help you keep an eye on the home.
You may also think about having the property winterized and having a local contractor (or the securing company) provide you with a bid to remediate any hazardous conditions at the property. Now that you are changing the locks and officially taking control of the asset, you may be held responsible for anything that happens there.
I'm not sure who you hired but companies like Safeguard Properties, Field Asset Services, Mortgage Contracting Services and others can help you with any property preservation needs.
Hope this is helpful and remember, these are merely my suggestions.
Thanks, Brian. This is very helpful!
I would have a local property preservation company do this. They will be familiar with the local requirements, don't just hire a locksmith and cowboy it.
In general you can secure the property but you cannot deny access so you will not want to change the locks on all the doors, leave one unchanged to provide access.
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