One of my tenants had not paid her rent for last month. I went to visit her and I found that her mail had not been picked up for three weeks. I went into the apartment and found her belongings were gone. The neighbours say that they have not seen her for a while. Is it sufficient to treat this as a case of abandonment? What can I do?
These circumstances are probably sufficient to treat the premises as abandoned — although, you might wish to take some precautionary measures to be sure that this is in fact what has occurred. You could make some further inquiries about the whereabouts of the tenant. If you know of family members or friends, they might be able to tell you where she has gone. Also, you might wish to wait for one more rent payment to become due before taking action to confirm abandonment.
If you decide to treat the property as abandoned, you can pursue legal action against your tenant for loss of rent, both in arrears and future rent. However, your ability to collect on any judgment you receive from the court will depend upon whether you can find the tenant.
An alternative course of action might be to issue a 14-day notice of termination to the tenant for non-payment of rent, or to apply to court to terminate the tenancy for non-payment of rent. If you serve a notice of termination and the overdue rent is not paid within the 14 days, the tenancy is treated as terminated. If the tenant is not available, the notice can be posted in a conspicuous place at the premises.
This page was last updated in April, 2006.