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abandoned?

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abandoned?

Postby TooGoodLL » Fri Sep 13, 2002 10:13 pm

My tenant advised that she would be moving on Sept 1st because she could not afford the rent anymore. She asked to use the security month's rent for August. I agreed because I never had a problem with her thruout the 3 years. Her lease had expired last year and never renewed.
Sept 1st came and she requested to stay another week because she could not get movers on Labor Day weekend. She said she would pay me for the days she stayed.
Sept 7 - She made 2-3 trips emptying the apt and on the last trip she said she had to come back. She never came back. She did not turn in the keys and some worthless furniture was abandoned in the apt. Her phone is discontinued and no forwarding address given to me. What do I do? Can I throw out her junk?
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Re: abandoned?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Sep 13, 2002 10:53 pm

Well, please remember this is a tenant help forum. Issues of whether or not the tenant actually abandoned the unit (as apparently she didn't turn in the keys) could get sticky, depend on all the facts and circumstances and we recommend you err on the side of caution - not only because we advocate for tenants, but in the long run you would be protecting your interests even if it means putting the burden on you. If you toss out the tenant's "abandoned" possessions too early, you could have a problem. We recommend you store the possessions for a period of time. Do a search for abandonment on the web site to see what is considered an appropriate and legal time before disposing of the possessions. Take caution to make good faith attempts to contact the tenant to give them warnings of your intentions (if you have any contact information). There is always the possibility the tenant would return and if you had disposed of the possessions too early, you might have some liability. The burden would be on you regarding the storage fees (if there is a cost for storage) and I suppose for lost rent. The flip side is that if the tenant did not "abandon" the unit (that's a legal conclusion), the tenant could be liable for rent and storage costs -- if you could find the tenant. But we recognize (and don't necessarily disagree) with tenants that use their security for the last month's rent. In this case you agreed to it. Normally security should be used for real damages. But too many landlords use the opportunity to hold onto security and concoct imaginary reasons to not return it. That's too bad as it gives a bad name to all landlords -- assuming you were trying to do the right thing.
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