It's often confusing for landlords to figure out when a tenant has abandoned or surrendered a rental unit and when they need to go through the eviction process. This video gives some ideas on how to best deal with the confusion. Enjoy!
Here's the summary on abandonment:
The safest move is always to go through the eviction process unless the tenant returns keys or gives you a written statement that you can take possession of the property. That said, when there are enough indicators that the tenant has abandoned the property, you may choose to take possession without going through the eviction process. Indicators of abandonment include:
- The lease has ended;
- Rent is unpaid;
- Unit is empty or only minor items remain;
- Utilities are disconnected;
- Tenant has not been seen on the property or tenant was seen moving out;
- Tenant is not responding to your communications;
- Tenant gave notice that he was going to vacate;
- You gave notice for the tenant to vacate the unit;
The more of these factors that are present, the safer you are to deem the unit abandoned and take possession of it without the eviction process. The less of these factors that are present, the more likely you are going to want a statement of surrender from the tenant or to go through the eviction process.
One final tip: Define abandonment in your lease. Lay out the factors that constitute an abandonment of the unit. In doing so, be careful not to violate any portions of the URLTA.
If you need help applying these factors or figuring out whether your tenant has abandoned or surrendered his rental unit, reach out to your friendly neighborhood attorney.