Help! We just found out today that our tenant left two-three weeks ago. He owes us rent for the month of September and we had tried to make payment arrangements for a month he couldn’t pay earlier in the year. We are pretty much in shock as he has been our tenant for about 3 years. He wouldn't answer any of our calls asking her for the rent. So today I called a neighbor (thinking he may have been in the hospital, etc.) and she said she saw him moving out a couple of weeks ago. She was surprised that we didn't know. Our tenant had been chronically late, bounced checks, etc. and we tried to be compassionate as he is disabled and older. I called him at work and he answered and I asked him why he didn't give us notice. He said he called and left a message. I told him we needed to have it in writing. He claims he doesn't owe us any rent and that the deposit would cover it. In the meantime, we didn't get any keys, gate opener, etc. My questions are:
1. If he was on a lease which expired in January of this year, does the month-to-month still follow our lease terms?
2. Do we need to post an eviction notice even if the unit is abandoned? If so, what kind of notice and where can we find a form/sample?
3. Will the rent clock still be ticking until we receive his notice? How do we handle the late fees and can we include that if we take him to small claims?
4. Can we serve him at his place of employment and should we use an attorney service to do this?
5. If he left a small box of belongings (personal papers), what should we do with this? Could we use it as leverage?