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Are You Trying to Determine if There has Been Tenant Abandonment?

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By : marco benavides    99 or more times read
If you are a landlord, it is not uncommon for you to have had the experience of tenants sneaking out without paying the rent they owe or to leave in the middle of eviction proceedings. It is also not uncommon for tenants to leave some things behind, especially if they are trying to sneak out. Most landlords know the legal code and they know what to do in order to determine if a tenant has abandoned the dwelling. If you are a first-time landlord and you are going through this experience, what are you supposed to do to determine whether your tenant has abandoned your rental property?

It is good to know the legal code in your jurisdiction if you are a landlord, especially if you are new to the rental property business and would not quite know what to do in the case of tenant abandonment. Most jurisdictions have a very detailed procedure that must be followed if there is tenant abandonment. There are also detailed instructions regarding what must be done with the personal belongings of the tenant. You should know that it is not as easy as just going to your property, changing the locks and throwing your tenants things away to be picked up by the garbage truck. If it were that simple, then tenant abandonment laws would be unnecessary.

Most jurisdictions provide for a certain period of time to transpire before tenant abandonment can be declared. The rent has to go unpaid and you must be able to determine that the tenant has been absent for a certain period of time. It also matters whether there are any belongings in the dwelling. The problems lies in that no matter how clear the law is, your situation will probably vary because it is inevitable for a former tenant to leave some or a few things behind.

You should know that most jurisdictions require that you keep the tenant's belongings for a certain period of time. If the tenant does not come back, you would be able to recover what is owed to you through the sale of the belongings. If you generate anything above what is owed to you, it will more than likely have to be returned to your former tenant. In the doubtful event that the tenant should try come back after abandonment has been determined, you are going to have to prove that you attempted notification.

The best thing to do is to look into the legal statutes in your particular state and get really familiar with them so that you will know what to do if you were to run into this situation. You would be better served to hire a professional in these matters so that you can protect yourself. Once the lease is signed, you acquire certain obligations and your tenant acquires certain rights under the law. Therefore, it is in your best interest to know what those rights and obligations are so that you will not violate any civil code for which you might be penalized. Once again, if you choose to make a determination of abandonment on your own, make sure you are familiar with the statutes in your particular state and jurisdiction.
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