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patadams

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #1 
I have a tenant that sent me a letter saying that she is moving out "over this week and next and will clean the place for the next tenant". She is under a 1 year lease and moving after only 2 months saying she can no longer afford it due to some changes.  I received the letter from her on 6/6/07. The "this week and next" has past as of this last weekend. I have posted notices on the door and mailed them as well and gave her to the 25th.  I also served her with the 3 day legal notice that I can evict but haven't went to the courts yet.  The 3 day notice is up so I can go anytime to start the eviction.  Most of the stuff is moved out but the stove, refrigerator and a bed still remain.
My question is this, if on the 25th, the bed, frig, stove, food is still there, can I begin moving it to storage and say it was abandoned property or will I need to go through with the eviction?  I have her saying she was moving, gave me her new address (I drove by the new address and saw her car there and her dog chained outside so she didn't lie about that) so is that sufficient enough for me to consider this as abandoned property?  I think one of her sons is staying there yet, not her.  Maybe everything will be moved by the 25th and this will be a mute point, but I'm thinking if frig, stove, bed are still there that I should file the eviction on the 25th just to be sure rather than moving the items to storage.
I guess it comes down to this, if someone says they are moving out by such and such date and they do move out but leave a few items behind, and they don't contact you, how do you know that they really moved out? 
patadams

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #2 

Received letter that just cracks me up:

"I moved in here under a lot of stress and am relizing that I wanted to speak to you about the lease but I left it at the house and you took it and I didn't want to give it back because I wanted to go over some things with you. I felt a lot of pressure to move on this and before the 30 days allowed realized it was a big mistake. I had to pay rent at the other house and unable to come up with that kind of money. I am looking for another place and will be out as soon as possible. There really should not be pressure on your part for someone to rent this and shouldn't do that to people. You told me there was someone else that was looking to rent it and I was under duress and put on my application that I was in a breakup. I really hope to keep this out of court.  But before my 30 days was up I contacted you.  You shouldn't put pressure on people to do something that is impossible to do.  I would definitely like my deposit back and the rent."

OK, so it's my fault she wanted to rent this place?  Here is what happened, I did a showing she was first and another lady was right after her.  They were both about even on the app. The 2nd lady was really interested as well. I told the 1st lady that I had received both apps and they were both even and she checked out and if she wanted it I needed dep plus rent or I would go to the next app. She said she would get check and sign lease that night. Well she sent her son with everything signed and the check. As soon as he left lady number 2 pulls up and says she's been trying to reach me. I said Sorry already taken. She says let me know if it don't work out. 
Teh tenant never told me she was "in a breakup" and "in duress" all she put on app was living with boyfriend currently.  I wondered how strange that she would be moving out of his house, anymore everyone is moving in together. But I never pried any further except I did wonder how long it would be before he moved in with her.
So I wonder how this will be in court when she shows up?  She wants rent back?  She'll owe for June and July by the time this is done. Apparently she also thinks she has 30 days to change her mind.
As far as keeping it out of court, I have put forth my effort and called, left messages, mailed letters and posted them on doors as well - no contact. Currently just waiting for court date - already posted notice and have filed.

Still cracks me up how this was all my fault that she rented the place.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #3 
Oh, that's a gas!!!  LOL  She thinks the 30 day notice is for her to change her mind about renting the place?!  It's not your fault she was looking to rent a place during a breakup.  Even if you had known, it's not your place to counsel a prospective tenant.  Not your fault if she didn't read or understand what she signed.  You explained to her that other people we looking and that you needed the deposit and rent along with a signed lease to allow her to get the place.  All true.  That's not pressure, it's fact.  I don't hold places for tenants without money in my hands.  I don't know of anyone who does (unless they're a fool.)

Has she surrendered the keys yet?  No?  Then she still owes rent until she does.  Did she give her 30 days notice?  no?  Then she owes rent for that period.  Is she breaking her lease for no good reason?  You bet!  She owes money until you re-rent (up to the one or two months most courts here will award you.)  She also owes advertising cost (you wouldn't incur those had she kept her agreement) and any damages to the unit itself.

OH doesn't have a definition of abandonment in the revised code.  Write one into the next lease and have each tenant sign the definition.  Usually, I use this -  Abandonment is defined as:
- Tenant is at least 10 days behind in rent.
- Tenant does not respond to phones calls or phone service has been disconnected.
- Utilities which tenants pay have been disconnected, are overdue for payment, or are scheduled for shut-off.
- A physical inspection has been made of the property to ascertain abandonment.  (I usually look for a bed, couch, working TV, edible food, and the majority of their possessions.  If these things are not present, I feel it is abandoned.)
- There is no responce to written notices mailed or left on the door.
- A notice of abandonment will be left on the door stating the tenant has 7 days to contact me or I will have the place declared abandoned.  Locks will be changed.  Tenants' items may then be disposed of without recouse.  (This is a bluff.  I do post the notice, change the locks, then remove & store the tenant's items for 30 days in case they contact me to get it back.  However, if they see the notice and think you will toss their junk, they usually come get it.)

Since eviction is already proceeding, I'd go ahead with it.  It will damage their credit (already has once you file it) and you can then seek a judgement for monies owed if you like.

Just so you know, you are not alone.  I just got notice for one of my tenants only 2 weeks after signing.  Hers says, "I realize that this is sudden but a dramatic change of events has occurred in my life leading me to this decision.  I haven't moved much in as of yet so the apartment will be empty soon.  Just let me know when you need to show it."  Her rent is due on July 1, but her notice says she won't be out until July 15.  Wanna bet I don't see any rent on the first?  Tenants have sooooo much drama!!!!  I think this one got back together with her ex BF too.
patadams

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #4 
I checked this morning as I posted a notice on the door that I would be there to evaluate if she was moved out. Gave her the notice on Thursday that I would be there this morning.  The fridge is cleaned out but still food in cupboards, plates and eating utensils in cupboards, clothing in the closets. Stove is now gone but there is still bedding, prescriptions and all of my door notices left on the counter top. I got a picture of them. The garage is full of garbage and flies swarming. I had to go to work so I left it go.  It will be Tuesday night before my wife and I go to begin cleaning. We are going to start on the outside and get that done and clean up the garbage only and leave the other stuff alone until after the eviction is final.  I really think she has moved but there is evidence that either she or her sons are still coming in. If they take the stuff before then, good, I don't have to deal with it.  However, that frig sure is a nice side by side - hope she doesn't want it.
I think she has pretty much moved but I know I will need to go to court anyhow to collect so I'll just collect rent owed plus charges now. I'm going to file for damage charges on a separate small claims plus any lost rent at a later date.  SCC limit is only $3000 so I'm breaking it into 2 seperate cases.
I love what they leave behind. One other time this happened as well - they leave check stubs and bank statements behind, just laying out. Got a picture of those in case I need to garnish.  I see she has direct deposit and I know what day it goes in.  Sure is quicker than waiting for the wage garnishment to trickle in. I go for the checking first but usually only get one shot before it is closed. That way I get a big chunk and then garnish the rest.
OHlandlord, I actually printed out your Abandonment check list from another post and followed it and posted the 7 day notice when I started getting the feeling I may need to make this decision.  I do already have and abandonment clause in the lease.  But she still has to much stuff still in the place that I'm not comfortable going with the abandonment. I'm going to go through with the eviction for cheap insurance. It is almost as if she knows to leave just enough there to know the law.
Also, I've been through 2 other evictions, both similar but most stuff left was worthless.  There the judge said to just clean it out and change the locks after I showed the pictures and I didn't need a sheriff to come and check it out.  I've never had someone leave something like a refrigerator or decent furniture and computer desk.  Would anyone know if this stuff would then legally turn over to me or does the sheriff need to inventory these?  I have a building on my property where I store for 30 days.  Does the sheriff only need to come if they are still there and refuse to leave?
patadams

Registered:
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #5 
Eviction hearing is scheduled for July 12 at 8:30am.  Family and I are then going camping.  Since there is a minimum of 3 days to regain possession after that it looks like it will be Monday July 16 before I get it back.  Possible I may be able to get it rented again by Aug 1st.

So much for "I'll be moving out here over the next 2 weeks, so please don't take me to eviction court."  I stopped by yesterday and looked in and nothing more is moved since Monday.
kkeyhan

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #6 
I rented a property one month after I purchased. The tenant didn't receive his mail for almost 1 month and he didn't mention anything for the whole month. When he checked with the post office they told him the mailing address and the zip code is different from the one I saw on the title. Now the problem is corrected but he claims that he suffered from this since he also runs a business from there.
The tenant wants me to decrease his rent (didn't mention how much), or he'll leave and wants his 2 months rents and deposit plus moving expenses paid, or go to a small claim court.
My question is : Is it reasonable to decrease the rent? Someone said give not to charge him for 1/2 month, or should I go to court?
I was not aware of this problem and the records do not mention anything about the mailing address discrepancy.


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kkeyhan
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #7 

Most places set things out on the street after an eviction is ruled in your favor, other places you need to store it for 30 days.  If it goes to the curb and your tenant isn't there to pick it up, the neighbors will surely pounce on something that nice.  (You could have a friend that the tenants didn't know waiting to grab it as soon as the sheriff leaves.  If you have to store it, you should be able to charge them storage fees to hold it.  She should pay them before she gets her stuff.  Check your state laws to see what the procedure is for your state.  Or perhaps the clerk of courts could tell you (or your attorney).

patadams

Registered:
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #8 
kkeyhan
I'm not sure what recourse he may actually have legally.  If I were you I would keep trying to find the answer to that.  You may also see if that 1/2 rent idea is of interest to him or what an agreed price may be.  Good luck, I just don't know enough of what this would entail legally.

OH LL
Thanks for the "pay storage charge before you get your stuff" tip.  I guess I should have known that or thought about it.  I have always known to charge storage fee if they chose to get their stuff, but have never yet had anyone come and get it. In the end, I took it to a nearby auction house and just got out of it what I could and that paid for the storage.  Since I have a large building to put the stuff, it really wasn't a big deal to track them down just to charge storage.  I wouldn't tell them that I have a spot because then then would expect it for free. I still trip over it for a month.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #9 
patadams,
I too have a large storage buiding behind a duplex (it was the family home).  It is a 4 1/2 bay garage with full attic storage.  (Love that building!)  I've used it many times, believe me.  I just can't believe what some people leave in these rentals.  Yeah, I can understand leaving old furniture and junk/trash; but I've gotten a washer, self-cleaning stove, battery operated barbie car (the kind your kid rides around the yard in), boxes of brand-new toys with tags, baby pictures, etc.  People just leave anything they don't want or can't fit in the car!

When I remove the stuff from the place, I post a notice on the door saying "The abandoned belongings have been moved to storage at a rate of $xx per day.  Please call xxx-xxxx to pay your storage fee and claim your belongings."  I don't know if it is legal everywhere to make them pay the storage charges upfront before they get their stuff, but since no one ever asks...
patadams

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #10 

OHlandlord, have you ever had anyone claim their stuff?

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #11 

I have had a couple tenants come and get their things just a few days after I have stored them, but no one that I can remember has ever come to get anything after a week.  Most of them just abandon that stuff and buy new.  I did have a family tell me that a church charity was going to come get it.  (That was the self-cleaning stove lot.)  I asked them to have the church call me and I would gladly give the things to them at their convenience, but no one ever called or came.  Isn't it odd what people will throw away?

patadams

Registered:
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #12 

Went to eviction court on July 12. Tenant did show.  Judge asked her if she was done moving and what about items left and she said she didn't want them. He asked her then LL can dispose of them and she said yes.  She had removed most items by this time. the only items left are a nice picnic table, a kids slide, a futon without a mattress a box spring mattress and miscellaneous items.  I stated that there would be disposal/hauling fees for items left.  At one point the judge chewed her out a little and asked her why he wasn't getting through to her.  She kept trying to bring up financial issues about how she isn't the one who gave me the signed lease, it was her son (but she signed it and gave it to him to give to me - I thought she was the one who was meeting me with deposit, 1st month rent, and lease.  When I got there he said she couldn't make it and she sent him.)  I think it is an empty point on her part. Anyhow, he kept telling her that we were here today to only return occupancy back to the LL and that the financial issues would be heard at a later date (I stated I needed a continuance because of pending damages, lost rent).  So I am now in process of getting it ready for renting and see what happens.  Maybe I can get it rented by August!

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #13 

Great job.  If you don't need or want the picnic table, you could probably sell it easily in the summer.  Or you could just leave it at the rental for the next tenants.  It is yours now to do what you please with.  Let us know how the moetary hearing goes.  (And remember to return the deposit statement within the number of days your state requires.  You just officially received possession so the clock is now ticking.)

patadams

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #14 

We began working last night and are hoping to have it ready to go by the end of this weekend.  We will be putting in long hours. The picnic table will be "hauled and disposed" of with these charges being added to the cleanup charges.  I think I'll set it out by the wood pile to "dispose" of it when I get around to it - and there are some things I just never get around to. Of course, I guess we could use it if the need arises between now and then.  Wife likes that idea (and the picnic table). 
They also left a brand new Dirt Devil sweeper that they didn't even use enough to fill the canister one time! It is baggless with a filter and the filter is still white. They jambed up the beater bar on the bottom and burnt up the belt but kept using it.  I took the bottom off and unplugged it and bought a new belt for $3. Had to "haul & dispose" that broken sweeper as well. Wife said to "dispose" of it in the upstairs closet at home so that we won't need to lug our only sweeper up and down the steps anymore and now the kids can sweep their rooms themselves (we'll see how often that happens as well though ).
Everything else was pretty much junk though.

One more thing.  Has any other LL ever noticed how much loose change is always just laying everywhere? I seem to always find anywhere from $5-$15 in loose change laying around.  I use it as incentives to get the kids (ages 6-12) to help cleanup - what they find they get to keep.  I realize that is not a lot of money in the greater scheme of things, but we have a tray at home that extra goes into - not all over the house from bathroom medicine cabinet to garage floor.  I guess it's the concept of it I guess that gets me.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #15 

Yeah, I've noticed that there is always change too.  The last time I went to my mother's most recent vacancy, we both walked around the place picking it up to see how much we could find.  Funny, those tenants can't pay their bills, but they leave money lying around all over the place!  LOL  It's just really amazing what tenants leave behind.  Rarely do I ever walk into a vacant place and find nothing.  (And only once have I walked in to find that the tenant had actually cleaned EVERYTHING before they left.)  But even then, they left me a nearly new circular saw and a solar powered landscape light.  I always liked that couple...

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