Most landlords know how much of a nuisance an irresponsible tenant is. They make a mess, they create a noise that will disturb the neighbors and they are late with their rent. Sometimes it even happens that the tenant abandons the property without letting anyone know. Can you do anything to protect yourself and your property when this happens?
There are many obstacles landlords face when they’re dealing with their investment property. One of the more annoying problems occurs when a tenant abandons the property. This can mean both the temporary abandonment, when they have gone on a longer vacation without letting you know, or, worse, they have packed all their stuff and left. What can you do when your tenant abandons the property?
What is tenant abandonment?
Tenant abandonment is the legal term used when a tenant fails to complete the term of their rental agreement. In other words, abandonment happens when a tenant moves out early, without notifying the owner, or by their death. In the first case, this is also followed by failing to pay regular rent. When a tenant abandons the property, there are certain rules and regulations that you must follow.
Why did the tenant leave?
There are several reasons the tenant may have left the property. Your options depend on these reasons. First off, the tenant may have left at the end of the lease or after giving you a termination notice. This option is the regular one and it happens most of the times. You should check Wisconsin regulations, though most states give you maximum flexibility to dispose of leftover belongings and on renting the property again. The same goes if you have given the tenant the termination notice. These processes are regular and usually go without any issues.
The tenant may also refuse to leave after the termination notice, which means that he or she had to be physically evicted. Usually, the tenant’s belongings are thrown on the street or sidewalk by the sheriff or someone from the police department. Some states have certain requirements when it comes to your next move. This is especially true with regulations regarding the former tenant’s personal belongings.
What to do if tenant abandons the property?
The final event occurs when your tenant simply disappears without a trace. In most cases, when that happens you don’t have to file an eviction or to wait for a sheriff to come. If the tenant left for good without following the regulations, you are allowed to change locks and to do with their belongings as the Wisconsin laws say.
However, unless you are 100% certain the tenant left on purpose, you should wait for a little while. If your lease allows it, enter the property – but be sure to knock first, just in case. Now you should do some research to try to find out what had happened. Ask your neighbors have they seen them leave. Other things that can give you clues are:
- Turned off utilities
- Significant personal belonging that is left on the property
- Sheets on the bed
- The tenant has requested change of address at the post office
Just because your tenant isn’t on the property, doesn’t mean that they have left. Maybe they have been arrested or they have gone to the hospital. These situations mean that you can’t touch their property without permission, as they have legal excuses not to be in the house. The same goes if it looks like the tenant plans on coming back. The signs of this are important belongings that are still in the house, such as documents, medication or belongings that you know are essential to them. Despite tenant not sleeping in the house, he is still the legal tenant if it looks like he’s planning on coming back. Of course, some states have different laws, and you may be able to get rid of tenant’s possession even if you are just presuming they have left, without any concrete proof. Be sure to consult your lawyer and to have a good knowledge of your state laws regarding the procedure when tenant abandons the property. Some states even require that you write a Notice of Belief of Abandonment before doing anything else and to store tenants belongings on a safe place.
Bribe the tenant to leave
If the tenant doesn’t plan on being on the property, but has left personal belongings and doesn’t seem to be doing anything to let you in on his decision about staying on the property or leaving it, you can always bribe the tenant to leave the property. Sure, this seems like a bad decision, especially if the tenant is behind on their rent. However, this way you will avoid the expensive eviction process and protect your property from damage – and you will be able to rent it again sooner. Just be sure that the tenant signs a release of liability form before giving him any cash or debt release.
Sell your house with tenants still in
If all else fails and you just don’t want to deal with bad tenants anymore, you can always sell your house – even if it still has tenants in. Just make sure that you have checked the tenant’s rights that are required by Wisconsin laws, such as providing them with the right notice in the right amount of time. Selling your house with tenants in Milwaukee can seem difficult. But if you adhere to the legalities and work with the right buyers, the process can be done quickly and without much disturbance to anyone’s lives.
Selling your house directly will eliminate the need to clean, market, stage, and show the home. All of these can be difficult when there are tenants living in the house. However, most direct buyers such as Sparks Property Investors LLC will be willing to take on a house with tenants – some might even consider this a perk. This way you will get rid of tenants and still end up with a lot of cash in your pocket.
Selling your house with tenants in Wisconsin can be challenging depending on your situation and who your tenants are. However, when you plan ahead, act thoughtfully, and stick to what the law says, it can be done.