Being a landlord isn’t easy. Rental turnover is something that you must deal with from time to time. In some rare instances, you will face something called tenant abandonment. The risk of tenant abandonment increases as the world continues to change and things become more unstable for society. A lot of individuals are choosing to move back home, or move out of cities, making tenant abandonment a more likely occurrence. There are certain processes involved during tenant abandonment that you must follow in order to protect yourself from any possible liabilities. This means you should be following protocols required by your state and local laws. If you need to know what to do during tenant abandonment, keep reading to find out.
What is Tenant Abandonment?
Tenant abandonment is when a renter has left your property without notice and before their lease has ended. This often means that they have left behind some of their belongings, and are no longer paying rent. This can pose a threat to landlords who rely on consistent rent payments in order to take care of their rental business.
It’s critical to mention tenant abandonment within your lease agreement, as well as explain to your renter what will happen if they abandon the property and if and how long they will have to reclaim their belongings.
What are the reasons that a tenant would abandon a property? They can be manyfold, but include things like:
- They moved from getting a new job unexpectedly
- They can no longer afford their rent
- They are in the hospital
- Or, they had an emergency situation
We understand that as a landlord, you will want to try and get a new renter for your property as soon as possible to recoup your losses, but it’s required for you to follow the correct protocols following the abandonment.
The first thing you should do is make sure you are 100% certain that the property has been abandoned. You can do so by calling their emergency contacts, checking to see if the tenant is still paying rent if the utilities are still on, and speaking to other tenants or neighbours.
Next, once you have confirmed tenant abandonment, you need to check your local and provincial laws that regard tenant abandonment so you can review what the process entails. Then take inventory and itemize the tenant’s property and store their property. Lastly, send a letter to the tenant explaining how long they have to claim their property, the charge for storing, the inventory list, where their property is being stored and what happens if it remains unclaimed.
Recovering your property properly is needed if you want to continue your rental business, but you need to continue to follow the law and required protocols in order to get it back without any legal repercussions. Always remember that adding an additional section into your lease agreement that addresses tenant abandonment will help keep you and your rights safe in the case that you find yourself in this situation.