Thursday, May 31, 2007

Eviction Derailed When Tenant Goes Missing

Owner seeks way to regain possession of rental

DEAR BOB: I gave my tenant the required notice to move, confirmed with a receipt of notice. She agreed to move out. But the unit is now locked, no one is there, and her car is parked in the driveway. I phoned several times, but no reply. What options do I have? I already hired a contractor to update the unit, based on the tenant's promise to move out on schedule --

- Please consult a local real estate attorney whose specialty is evictions. I'm sure you have thought of the several possibilities such as the tenant moved out but left the car; abandoned the apartment and the car; passed away either in the apartment or elsewhere; is in the hospital or jail; is avoiding you because she refuses to move out; or wants to drag out the eviction procedure to obtain as much "free rent" from you as possible.

All these situations have happened to me with my rentals. Ask the neighbors if they have seen your tenant or any activity at the rental. Then contact the local police to learn if they have any record of activity at the property or if they can trace your missing tenant. After that, follow your attorney's advice to regain possession of your rental unit.

Published by - Robert Bruss, Inman News

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