What to Do When Your Tenant Abandons Your Rental Unit?

If you have not heard from one of your tenants in a while  and his or her rental payment is already past due, it is time to investigate what’s happening.

According to a property owner s in Florida, one of his tenants abandoned his rental property, neglected to pay the property rent and gave no notice before leaving. He was devastated because he trusted that person thinking he was responsible. But, instead of filing legal charges against him, he just forgot the issue because he did not want to deal with a costly lawsuit.

He also reasoned that he did not know where to start his complaints about tenants who abandoned rental properties. He  felt the best thing to do  was some thorough tenant screening procedures in the future to prevent an incident like this from happening again in the future.

Now, if this happens to you, there are specific steps you can do to recover the amount of money owed by the tenant who abandoned his obligation. You also have the right to collect money for any damages on your property caused by the tenant who left including the attorney’s fees if you end up in court.

  • Give proper notice. Landlords are obliged to give a proper “notice of abandonment” to his or her tenant before they can get back the property. After two weeks of abandonment, you can put the notice of eviction on the rental unit’s door in case tenant returns. Write on your notice that you will take back the property if he or she cannot pay the rent on or before the date you specify. You can even send a message to the tenant through email or by any other means of contact that your tenant has in your file. You must put in your notice that you will be filing legal charges for what he or she owes you.
  • Take back the property in a legal way. If your tenant has not made any contact with you after three weeks of posting and mailing the notice, you can now take back the abandoned rental unit. You can change the lock of the rental unit and begin assessing the place. Record evidence that the property has been abandoned such as taking pictures and writing down descriptive notes including the time and date. When you file your charges, these documents will help  make the filing process really fast. After taking all the notes and  totaling  the amount that your tenants need to pay, get the rental unit ready for rent again. Remember, do a tenant credit check screening process to insure that “rental unit abandonment” will not happen again.
  • File your charges in court. Be ready with all the documents you have, the notice you gave them and all the documents that will support your charges. You can contact your lawyer to start the legal proceedings to sue your tenant who abandoned their obligation. This way, you can recover what has been owed from you.

As much as possible, prevent this “rental abandonment” case in your rental property business. You can make this possible if you seek help from a credible tenant screening service provider. They can help you check the prospective tenant’s credit, collection accounts plus get info on their payment patterns, payment history from their previous rental unit, tax liens and much more! By doing this, you can help guarantee that you will get a responsible tenant.

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