Landlord/Tenant Matters – Abandonment

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Landlord/Tenant Matters – Abandonment

Landlords should draw their Residential Leases carefully to include everything that they may need to better enforce them.

What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay and doesn’t pay and doesn’t pay and when the threat of eviction becomes greater, they just leave in a hurry. That often happens and many times they just leave their property when the property really has little or no value.

Well, the Landlord at least has the premises back (from all appearances) but does he/she? You don’t want the Tenant to come back and later claim that he/she left valuable property there and that he/she really did not vacate and although he/she is late on rent payments, they could pay, BUT now the Landlord has wrongfully taken their property and wrongfully evicted them (and “the property was very valuable”).

The Lease should include language that clearly sets out how the parties agree that “vacation” and “abandonment” are identified, e.g. “if tenant is behind on rent and there is a reasonable appearance of having vacated the property for more than 10 days and the tenant has not notified the Landlord otherwise in writing…”, then the Lease should state that anything left in the premises may reasonably be deemed to have been abandoned by the Landlord, in his/her sole discretion. The precise language may be customized, but something like this should be included.

It is not right for a non-paying tenant to hold the Landlord captive to wrongful, and sometimes calculated, claims of the Landlord taking their “valuable” properties and wrongfully evicting them.

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