What to Do When a Renter Abandons Your Rental Property

Short of outright vandalism or legal-action style situations, property abandonment can be one of the most frustrating, confusing, and trying parts of being a residential property owner. The situation is also quite delicate, too, and how you handle it is going to potentially impact your business in big ways. Want to know how to handle an abandoned lease? Southwest Mountain Realty can help!

For the best solutions in tenant and property management in Phoenix metro and the surrounding areas, contact Southwest Mountain Realty! Working with a team of professionals can make your situation as stress-free as possible.

First, Let’s Define Property Abandonment

Determining whether or not the property has actually been abandoned can actually be surprisingly difficult. Furthermore, making the wrong conclusion can open up a whole world of complications you don’t want. So to start, let’s define property abandonment in Arizona:

For our state, abandonment is essentially defined by these specific stipulations: The tenant is behind on rent by five (5) days, and all tenant personal property is missing. Or, if property remains, but rent remains behind or unpaid for or in excess of ten (10) days.

In many cases, a lease may stipulate unique procedures and or definitions, as well.

How to Handle Property Abandonment in Phoenix

If you have sufficiently determined that the property has indeed been abandoned, then unfortunately you have some unpleasant things to do. Firstly it is important to proceed very carefully! Doing everything you need to, and doing it properly, is the best way to keep yourself out of potentially hot water.

If property wasn’t left on the premises then your job is a good bit simpler and basically involves a waiting period. You must provide notice to the tenant by mailing to their most recent mailing address, even if that means mailing it to the property that was abandoned. Additionally for clarity it is wise to provide notice on the door of the vacated premises and to contacts. The notice will stipulate a ten (10) day waiting period before the lease is fully forfeit, and at that point you can look at re renting the property.

If property was left on the premises then in addition to the notice mentioned above, you’ll also need to provide notice that you intend to dispose of the abandoned property. If the tenant gets into contact with you about the property, then they have five (5) days to claim the left property. If they do not, then the property is forfeit after the ten (10) day waiting period.

If the tenant reclaims the property, they are required to reimburse you for the cost of storing the belongings (excepting clothing, tools, and similar items, which they are free to take at any point). And yes, you must store these items with reasonable care. Any evident signs of malicious tampering or damage to tenant property will be a quick track for trouble!

If the tenant fails to reclaim any left over property, you may sell reasonably valuable property in order to recoup the cost of the abandoned property. However, if the proceeds exceed what you are owed, you are required to return excess amounts to the tenant.

Looking for property management professionals that can help you gain and retain higher quality tenants? Talk to a manager at Southwest today!

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