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outland

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 

I have a written lease that ends 8/31/07.  It was between myself, the Landlord, and one person, the female, in an unmarried relationship.  The couple indicated to me that the boyfriend's brother may visit a few times a year and asked that I not limit the number of occupants to two.  I agreed and allowed a maximum of 3 adults to be permitted in the lease, but didn't specify any names. Of course, the brother didn't just visit, he moved in.

 

I also wrote into the lease that any personal property that is left over at the termination of the lease is forfeited and the tenant is responsible to pay for the professional removal of such property.  The couple is breaking up and moving out at the end of July.  The official tenant on the lease will be returning the keys at that time.  The brother has indicated that he doesn't plan to move out, or pay rent and that he will let the courts move him out.  I asked my County Tenant/Landlord court about evicting him and they said he is not my tenant, he is trespassing and it is a municipal police issue.  I spoke to the police for clarification and they indicated I should call them at the termination of the lease and they would address the issue at that time, which is leading me to believe they would remove him for trespassing.

 

My thought is that once the tenant on the lease terminates the lease and returns the keys, the boyfriend's brother is trespassing and because the lease was already terminated by the lease holder, any items left behind, including this guy's belongings would become mine.    I'm wondering if he would really loose all rights to the items in the apartment and if I would also be able to change the locks and shut off the utilities without violating the law, since my official tenant has moved out.  I perceive the brother is just a squatter.  Does this sound accurate or am I way off.  New Jersey laws would apply here. 

 

Thanks,

Bill


OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,804
Reply with quote  #2 
Boy I don't know about this.  It is obvious that you knew the brother moved in and that he is living there.  You even allowed him (by notation of number of tenants).  How long has he lived there?  If he has been there for a length of time, he probably has established residency.  If you call the police and ask them to handle it, what are they going to do?  If they show up and he shows them mail, utility bills, a driver's license, or anything along those lines with your rental address on it...?  Has he paid any of the rent?  Paid them for his share of the rent?  Have any receipts/cancelled checks for you or them for his rent?

I'd let them move and then see what the police do.  Maybe they will escort him and his stuff out.  (Usually if they do not place his things out, they will allow him to return with a police escort within 10 days to retreive his stuff.)  But if the police see he has established residency, they may not remove him.  You will then have to evict him.  This type of person and how they are dealt with varies greatly depending on where you live.  Some states/areas are very pro-tenant, and he may be allowed to stay.  Others are pro-LL and he might be removed immediately with all his belongings.  If the police remove him, you can change the locks and turn off the utilities, but you may have to hold his belongings for a period of time.  If they refuse to remove him, you will not be able to change the locks or turn off the utilities, you will have to follow eviction procedures.  Wait and see what the cops do.

In future, do not allow any adults to live in a unit without an application and them being on the lease/agreement.
outland

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you, I appreciate your quick reply.  All rent was paid in cash.  I made sure never to take money from the brother-in-law.  I only took rent from the named person on the lease. She once indicated the brother-in-law was paying half and that he didn't have his half, but I always told her I didn't recognize him as my tenant and that all money I received was hers and she was the responsible person on the lease.  I provided numerous letters that the lease would not be extended.  At 75 days I provided a letter titled 60 day notification to vacate and documented all areas of the lease that pertained to leaving and expressly indicated that all occupants must vacate the property by the last day of the lease. 

In my town they have overnight parking restrictions and he was never able to get a sticker from the town because he had no proof of occupancy, at lease not that they would recognize. Several times he had the sister-in-law try to get me to add his name to the lease and I wouldn't do it. 

The key thing for me is that he gets out when she does.   I do get the impression that the cops will take a firm action with him leaving, but I'm not sure how they will deal with his belongings.  I'm not really concerned with keeping his stuff, I just want to be able to legally change the locks and keep him out so I can start the whole process of making repairs and getting a new tenant. 

I'm going to add a line in all future leases that all utilities must be in the name of the lessee.

How do you handle roommates?  Do you put both people on the lease?  I always used to put just one and never had a problem until now.   

Thanks
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,804
Reply with quote  #4 
I try to always put both people on the lease.  Of course, you do get instances where a relative comes to stay with the tenant for an extended period of time.  When this happens, I have them fill out a guest registration form on the relative.  This way I at least know who he is and hoave some info on him. 

If the guy in your unit has been unable to get parking stickers, it looks like he never had anything put in his name at your address.  This is good, because it will be very hard to establish residency with the police if he couldn't do it with the city for parking purposes.  Perhaps they will toss him out as soon as they hand over the keys.  Why don't you ask the local cops and ask them how you are supposed to deal with his belongings after they evict a squattor?
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