Whether a tenant has been evicted or left voluntarily, you may find yourself needing to clean up the mess, especially if damage was done before they left. Learn what to do if a tenant abandoned your property.
Why the Tenant Left
There are several reasons why a tenant may have abandoned a rental property, and your options for handling the situation depends on the state you live in. Some reasons include:
- The tenant makes a choice to leave after their lease is up or after giving a termination notice. Most states usually give you maximum flexibility to dispose of leftover belongings.
- The tenant leaves after you give a termination notice (from a non-payment of rent, for example). Most states allow you to dispose of leftover belongings after a lengthy period.
- The tenant has been physically evicted, as well as all their belongings, which may have been dumped on the street or sidewalk by a sheriff. Some states require landlords to take caution in this situation while others not.
- The tenant disappears. In a few states, property that a tenant abandons when they leave without notice must be treated differently than a deliberate move.
Check your state’s laws to see what different rules are based on the reason for a tenant’s departure.
Exceptions to Abandonded Property Laws
When it comes to visible garbage and other types of property, state rules don’t apply.
Motor vehicles: If a junker or an inoperable vehicle is left in a parking lot or garage, a select category of personal property doesn’t apply. This means if you are faced with this situation, you must contact the police and give the vehicle’s license plate number, make, model, and where it’s parked. It will probably get towed after determining it was abandoned.
Fixtures: A fixture is deemed as anything permanently affixed to a wall like a built-in bookshelf, and therefore, belongs to the landlord. The only exception is if a written contract stating a lease provision or an agreement between you and the tenant that says otherwise.
Learn Your States Laws
To see what your state’s laws are for abandoned property, read this. If, after looking up the laws, you don’t find the statute covering notice requirements, look up any court cases that have interpreted your state’s abandoned property statutes. Another place to check is by contacting the landlord’s association. Search online for your local or state rental property associations. The National Multifamily Housing Council or the National Apartment Association are also great places to search for networking and information sharing.
Contact a qualified lawyer to help you understand the rules that apply to your specific situation. It’s vital to contact one, if the abandoned property could be very valuable or if there’s any reason a tenant may cause problems down the road.
Need to Sell Property?
If you’re faced with the above situation and not sure what to do, contact Glast Heim Home Buyers. We buy properties in North Florida in any condition and in most cases. We charge no fees or commissions and get you money soon after closing. Fill out our form, and we’ll get back to you quickly.