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Have Your Tenants Abandoned You?

Do you think your Pittsburgh tenants have packed up and departed in the middle of the night, leaving you with unpaid bills, damages to your property, and piles of trash?

Perhaps you have noticed the“clues” they are preparing to leave before the end of the lease. For example, maybe they are behind in rent and unresponsive to requests for payment.

Unpaid rents, unanswered calls, and letters, heaps of trash in the trashcans, and empty parking spots indicate that your tenants may have disappeared. Before you can legally enter the property based on abandonment, you must first confirm that the tenants have abandoned. Perhaps the tenants temporarily left to deal with family problems, and they intend to return. As the landlord, there are serious legal details you must pay attention to and cope with.

First, use the tenants’ contact information from the lease to reach out to them. Call, email, and text message them. If there is still no response, call the emergency contact listed on their application – perhaps they can get a message to the tenant or let you know if maybe there is a family emergency.

Next, send a certified letter to your tenants with “forward address requested” – this way you might be able to obtain a forwarding address for them. (Ask your local postmaster for complete instructions.)

Next, properly serve and post an abandonment notice.  Once you have complied with all of the legal requirements of the abandonment notice and you are ready to enter the home, be sure to knock loudly, announce who you are, and state that you are inspecting the property. Continue announcing who you are and why you are there as you move from room to room.

Take a camera with you to photograph any damages and document signs that the home has been abandoned. Verify if the power and other utilities are still on. Is there fresh food in the refrigerator or on the kitchen shelves? If furnishings and personal items are missing, it’s a sure sign that your tenants have left.

Once you are sure that the property is abandoned, proceed with changing the locks so that you can take back possession of the property. Then move any of the tenants’ possessions to secure storage, and professionally clean the premises at the tenants’ expense. Now begins the long, and often expensive, process of recouping your losses from the tenants and finding new and hopefully better-qualified tenants to lease your property.

For your property to generate the greatest return on investment, it must have responsible tenants who pay their rent according to their lease and treat your property with respect.

RPM Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh’s leading property management business; we know how to determine quickly if Pittsburgh rental properties are abandoned and have the experience to evict deadbeat tenants.

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