What to Do When A Tenant Abandons Their Rental Property

Coronavirus has changed the world in every way, including the rental market, because what once was a stable rental market is now filled with uncertainty, or abandoned rental property, since most tenants have been under lockdown for months now and may be unable to pay their rents.

Sadly, another big decision that many renters have to make the following coronavirus is if they are going to continue living in their rental properties if they are no longer working or are unable to find work in the coming weeks.

Historically, in the world of property management, it’s not uncommon for some tenants to pack up and move out in the middle of the night without alerting their landlord, or the owner of the property.

In the weeks ahead, if you are alerted that one or more tenants may have moved out in the middle of the night, this article will provide you with several tips that you can use to deal with the situation.

Abandoned Rental Property

Tips for Dealing with An Abandoned Rental Property

You may have heard from one of your other tenants, a neighbor, or someone else in the area, that your tenant has moved out but until you can confirm it for yourself the only real way to know for sure is to visit the property in person to see if the unit looks like it’s vacant or occupied.

Yes, you can visit the rental property yourself and look in the windows or knock on the door to find out if your tenant answers or not but the only real way to confirm that the property has indeed been abandoned is to enter the property to see what’s going on.

Since you are the owner of the property, you know that you cannot just enter that property without posting a 24-hour notice to enter on the front door so it’s best to post that notice then come back to the property after 24 hours to inspect it for yourself.

What to do about abandoned rental properties

What If It’s Still Occupied?

Let’s say you come back 24 hours later and are ready to enter the property. Once you enter the abandoned rental property, the first obvious sign to look for is if the rental property still looks like it’s occupied. This means that there’s going to be furniture in all the usual places, sheets on the bed’s, television and all the other normal things that your tenant may use regularly.

If the rental looks like the tenant is still living there, the next step is to contact their references to find out if something may, have happened to them because they could very well have been in an accident, or they may have been arrested and are currently stuck in jail.

After doing some digging, let’s say that you were able to contact the tenant and found out that they are indeed planning on moving out of the property but still have not managed to move all their furniture and personal belongings out.

Rental Property Abandoned

Consider Offering Cash For Keys To Gain Possession

In this case, you may want to consider offering them cash for keys, this will enable you to take possession of the property and avoid having to evict the tenant.

It’s always a win-win situation if a landlord can get their tenant to move out of the rental property peacefully without having to a evict them. But, let’s say that you did your research on the tenant, couldn’t find them, and you did confirm that they have abandoned the rental property while leaving a significant amount of their personal belongings behind. In this case, you have the legal right to evict the tenant from the property and charge them an abandonment fee that’s 1.5 times the monthly rent.

Eviction is something that most landlords always try to avoid if possible but, if this the case with your tenant after they’ve abandoned their property, it’s also important for you to know that even if they left behind personal possessions like furniture, electronics, and other items behind, you can’t sell those items right away.

Oregon law states that you have to mail your former tenant a notice telling them that you’re going to be storing their property. In your letter, you must give them a time frame of at least two weeks to pick up their personal property. If they have not contacted you within two weeks, or shown any interest in picking up the items that were in their rental property, then you are free to sell their possessions.

Tenant Screening Saves Time and Money

Dealing with a tenant who may have moved out of their rental property in the middle of the night is never a fun thing. It’s also not desirable when an owner has to evict a tenant either. Both of these are reasons why the importance of tenant screening cannot be emphasized enough.

As an owner, when you take the time to properly screen a tenant before renting to them, you’re going to know without a shadow of a doubt the quality of the character of the individual that you plan on renting to.

Thanks to the internet, there are a wide variety of online tenant screening tools that you can use to properly screen an individual before renting to them.

Besides researching a potential tenants’ background and personal references, you should also confirm that the tenant has a stable job and makes 3x the monthly rent because this will help to ensure that they are going to have no problem with paying their rent every month.

Contact Rent Portland Homes

At Rent Portland Homes, we’re experts at all aspects of property management including tenant selection, rent collection, maintenance, customer service, accounting and so much more.

Save the time, money and hassle of managing your Portland rental property yourself. Contact us today by clicking here to learn more about how we can help you to grow your portfolio of investment properties and save you the continued hassle of DIY Property Management.



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