Tenant abandonment is an important aspect which needs to be covered in every lease agreement. What do you do suddenly; if your tenant disappeared without any information? As you give out your property for rent to a tenant, there are bound to be clauses in the agreement. There are certain clauses which specify action to be taken in the case of abandonment by a tenant. But the question is: when are you sure that your tenant has abandoned the premises? Handling tenant abandonment is often a very tricky issue and needs utmost care as any step to occupy the premises can lead to a legal confrontation. The tenant can accuse the landlord of forcibly occupying the premises, when he was away for a longer duration. He can have genuine reasons like hospitalization, arrest or even personal reasons that require longer stay out of the rented house, for not having stayed at the premises. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations which define action in such cases.
There are a few sure shot ways to determine if the tenant has actually abandoned the property and moved out. These are:
1. If the tenant has stopped paying rent and has defaulted for a period of more than two months consecutively.
2. If the keys to the house have been changed.
3. If the neighbors have seen him moving out at any point of time.
4. If the house does not have any of the possessions of the tenant inside.
5. Despite repeated attempts, the landlord has not been able to contact the tenant or any of his relatives or friends.
The legal definition for abandonment is when a tenant has vacated premises without any prior notice as mentioned in the lease agreement or when he has moved out without having paid rent more than two months. In such cases, the owner is well within his rights to terminate the lease, takeover the premises and even charge the tenant the applicable charges for abandonment.
A few precautions that the owner needs to take to avoid any legal complications arising out of such a takeover are:
Ensure that at least two of the neighbors are available when taking over; to witness the same. Also, make sure that you are accompanied by a registered legal practitioner while doing the same. Make a list of belongings left behind by the tenant, if any, and have the same authorized by the attorney. These basic steps ensure that the owner has not violated any laws and is not liable for prosecution by tenant claiming to have forcibly occupied the premises.
Similar to eviction notice, a notice to the tenant can be sent a prress as mentioned in the agreement.ecautionary measure to ascertain that the tenant is not available at the add
It is therefore very important that all caution be exercised while taking such a step.