Have you had tenants pack up and disappear in the middle of the night? Leaving you with unpaid bills, property damage, and piles of trash in your investment…
Before you can file for an eviction based on abandonment, you must first confirm that the tenants property is actually abandoned. Perhaps the tenants temporarily left or are on an extended vacation. As the landlord, there are serious legal details you must pay attention to and deal with before assuming tenants have moved.
Use the tenants’ contact information from the lease to reach out to them. Call, email, and text message, if there is still no response, call the emergency contact listed in the lease. (I’ve personally done this) often the emergency contact may know where your tenants are, if there is a crisis, and when the tenants are coming home. Usually, tenants will make an address change and mail-forwarding request with the Post Office. You can send a certified letter to them with “forward address requested.” Ask your postmaster for instructions.
Before entering the premises, you must follow a legal course of action. State and local laws dictate the time and particular process for delivering legal notices to tenants, so ensure you are familiar with these laws. Once proper legal notice has been served, knock loudly, announce who you are, and state that you are inspecting the property. Continue announcing who you are and why you are there as you move from room to room.
Take a camera with you to photograph any damages and document signs that the home has been abandoned. Verify if the power and other utilities are still on. Is there fresh food in the refrigerator or on kitchen shelves? If furnishings and personal items are missing, it’s a sure sign your tenants have left.
If you are convinced that your property is abandoned, find out what options your state’s laws allow. You may wish to seek legal counsel. Basic parts of the eviction process are to file in court, change the locks, move any of the tenants’ possessions to secure storage, and professionally clean the premises at the tenants’ expense. Now begins the long, and often expensive, process of recouping your losses from the former tenants and finding new and hopefully better-qualified tenants to lease your property. A legal eviction will generally take Real Property Management 30-40 days from start to finish. Many first time landlords are under the assumption a written notice is all that’s needed. If handled incorrectly an eviction will take longer AND you can be sued by the tenants.
Real Property Management is the nation’s leading property manager; we know how to determine quickly if properties are abandoned and have the experience to evict deadbeat tenants. For over 25 years, Real Property Management has developed intelligent solutions for thousands of individual property owners, investors and Realtors.
With 20+ years experience in residential and investment real estate, sales, property management and consultation, Matt is an Ohio licensed Realtor currently working as Sales Manger at Real Property Management. Contact him directly at [email protected] or on twitter