When Renters Go Missing What Should You Do?

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

When Renters Go Missing What Should You Do?

SHARE:

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

Being ghosted by a renter can be a disruptive and confusing experience for any rental property owner. If you’ve never had to engage in the process of determining when and how to locate or evict a missing tenant, count yourself lucky.

Fortunately, the law has considered the instance of a missing renter and, depending on where you live, usually has clear processes in place for finding a solution.

Where did my renter go?

Being ghosted by a renter can be a disruptive and confusing experience for any rental property owner. If you’ve never had to engage in the process of determining when and how to locate or evict a missing tenant, count yourself lucky.

Fortunately, the law has considered the instance of a missing renter and, depending on where you live, usually has clear processes in place for finding a solution.

If your renter was behind on his rental payments or owed other fees and utilities, he may leave the home in order to avoid additional legal processes or the conflict in general. Some tenants may move out in the middle of the night and take most or all of their belongings with them – certainly leaving with necessary items such as clothing and mementos. Some may at least have the courtesy of leaving you a note to state that they will not be returning.

Where did my renter go?

If your renter was behind on his rental payments or owed other fees and utilities, he may leave the home in order to avoid additional legal processes or the conflict in general. Some tenants may move out in the middle of the night and take most or all of their belongings with them – certainly leaving with necessary items such as clothing and mementos. Some may at least have the courtesy of leaving you a note to state that they will not be returning.

In more severe instances, your renter may have gone completely missing from the home. If you suspect that your tenant will not return it is still important to follow laws and regulations in order to evict the renter.  As a property manager or landlord, you remain unable to enter a renter’s apartment without his or her permission. If it’s apparent that your renter has gone missing the best next step is to contact local law enforcement for a wellness check and if legally possible confirm abandonment of the property (typically only possible when health and safety issues are involved).

If you suspect your renter has moved on without providing proper notice, contact the police or other appropriate law enforcement agency and follow the guidance provided. Do not enter your renter’s apartment illegally or search through belongings in an attempt to determine their intentions for return.

If your renter has left the property with no sign of return, follow these steps to establish clear abandonment and begin the process for re-leasing your property.

In more severe instances, your renter may have gone completely missing from the home. If you suspect that your tenant will not return it is still important to follow laws and regulations in order to evict the tenant. As a property manager or landlord, you remain unable to enter a renter’s apartment without his or her permission. If it’s apparent that your renter has gone missing the best next step is to contact local law enforcement for a wellness check and if legally possible confirm abandonment of the property (typically only possible when health and safety issues are involved).

If you suspect your renter has moved on without providing proper notice, contact the police or other appropriate law enforcement agency and follow the guidance provided. Do not enter your renter’s apartment illegally or search through belongings in an attempt to determine their intentions for return.

If your renter has left the property with no sign of return, follow these steps to establish clear abandonment and begin the process for re-leasing your property.

Proving Abandonment

Each state or local government is going to have its own definition of what abandonment of a rental property means. Abandonment is very different than a renter breaking his or her lease. This also may be stated in your lease with your renter. Be sure to always consult your lease agreement first for early guidance on expectations and remedies. Generally speaking, these are considerations to be made:

    • Has your renter paid their rent? Most government entities won’t allow you to evict or abandon a property where the rent payments are current.
    • Are the utilities connected? Contact the power, water, and gas companies to inquire if your renter has requested disconnect services to any of these utilities or if the services have been shut down due to non-payment.
    • Signs of life? Have the neighbors or security cameras captured a moving truck lately? Is there a pet remaining in the home or fresh food in the kitchen?
    • Emergency contacts? Did your renter provide an emergency contact number when signing his or her lease? Contact this person if you’re not sure where your renter has gone.

Proving Abandonment

Each state or local government is going to have its own definition of what abandonment of a rental property means. Abandonment is very different than a renter breaking his or her lease. This also may be stated in your lease with your renter. Be sure to always consult your lease agreement first for early guidance on expectations and remedies. Generally speaking, these are considerations to be made:

      • Has your renter paid their rent? Most government entities won’t allow you to evict or abandon a property where the rent payments are current.
      • Are the utilities connected? Contact the power, water, and gas companies to inquire if your renter has requested disconnect services to any of these utilities or if the services have been shut down due to non-payment.
      • Signs of life? Have the neighbors or security cameras captured a moving truck lately? Is there a pet remaining in the home or fresh food in the kitchen?
      • Emergency contacts? Did your renter provide an emergency contact number when signing his or her lease? Contact this person if you’re not sure where your renter has gone.

Communicating with Your Renter

Communicating with Your Renter

In any jurisdiction, you will have to attempt communication with your renter in order to inform them you believe the property has been abandoned. Your renter will typically have a set number of days under the law to respond to your notice of abandonment. Some states may also require that you file additional eviction paperwork after abandonment has been established.

You may also be required by state law to store your renter’s abandoned belongings for a certain period of time prior to eviction. Talk with an attorney in your state to learn more about landlord storage requirements and if you can recoup such expenses from your renter, once located.

In any jurisdiction, you will have to attempt communication with your renter in order to inform them you believe the property has been abandoned. Your renter will typically have a set number of days under the law to respond to your notice of abandonment. Some states may also require that you file additional eviction paperwork after abandonment has been established.

You may also be required by state law to store your renter’s abandoned belongings for a certain period of time prior to eviction. Talk with an attorney in your state to learn more about landlord storage requirements and if you can recoup such expenses from your renter, once located.

While being ghosted by your renter can be quite frightening, don’t be spooked by the process.  You may have to endure a few steps of establishing abandonment of a rental property and even temporarily storing your renter’s personal belongings for a length of time.  Overall, the process for issuing abandonment on a rental property if straightforward and can be accomplished quickly with the right paperwork and legitimate attempts at communication.

How have you dealt with Let us know in the comments below!

While being ghosted by your renter can be quite frightening, don’t be spooked by the process.  You may have to endure a few steps of establishing abandonment of a rental property and even temporarily storing your renter’s personal belongings for a length of time.  Overall, the process for issuing abandonment on a rental property if straightforward and can be accomplished quickly with the right paperwork and legitimate attempts at communication.

How have you dealt with Let us know in the comments below!

Subscribe!

31 questions to ask rental applicants

Categories

Subscribe for more news and tips!

Share with your friends!

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on email
Share via Email

More Articles from ApplyConnect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this Article!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Articles from ApplyConnect

Blog Topics

Click the dropdown

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.