What to do if my tenant vacated the house in the middle of the night and is now 1 month behind on rent?

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What to do if my tenant vacated the house in the middle of the night and is now 1 month behind on rent?

The lease ends in 2 more months. There cell phone has been disconnected and I have no way getting intouch with them. My lease says I can start to show the property 30 days prior to lease ending. They took all of their belongings with them except that they left there motorcycle in the garage. What should I do with the bike? Should I keep it until they pay the remainding balance of rent and meanwhile charge them storage for the bike? If they don’t pay, what do or can I do with the bike seeing I do not have the title for it?

Asked on December 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Connecticut

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You cannot charge storage of their items because that is not in the lease.  If it is in the lease to charge storage, then by all means charge! You need to review your landlord rights (find a local consumer protection agency like the state attorney general to help you with locating specifics) because under abandonment situations like this, you have a responsibility to mitigate your damages and can probably show the property without problem. I believe you may need to place certified mail in the mail to give them legal notice (even if it is returned) and contact all of their references, send the notices c/o those references and also place a notice on their door. You must use due diligence. So just make sure you give the proper stay or quit notice if you want to go through legal eviction in order to ensure the tenancy is legally done.  If your lease does not have an automatic roll-over, those tenants can be considered tenants-at-will and still somehow be entitled to stay there. You must give legal notice due to abandonment and non-payment in order to move forward with finally and fully vacating their items. Then consult your state's abandonment laws as related to tenants and lanlord rights thereof.  Every state is different and some states require certified notice be given in order to then after a specific time period consider the property abandoned.


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