tenant abandonded, came back and confronted

I have this tenant whos lease has expired and is on month to month- paid her rent for march , on 22nd I hear from the neighbor and someone else that she has been moving her stuff for 2 days, so I text her to ask if she is moving or planning to move - no reply
I called her - no reply and the mailbox is full - the yard keeper saw her n asked her if she is moving and she said yes and she is done and got her stuff out what she needed.

Since she has paid for the month so I did not bother and thought will wait, I went to the bldg on the 25th and peeped into her atp and stuff was moved out and everything was in a mess - I tried to contact her once again and no reply.
so I posted a notice of abandoned apt and her stuff will be thrown out she did not contact me within 48 hrs or if she does not have the intention to abandon the unit. I also mailed her the noticed by certified mail.

That same day in the evening after posting the notice, the neighbor who is also my tenant text me that she was in the apt taking her stuff - so I called her again and no answer. Since she was coming to the apt and taking her stuff and did not bother to communicate with me, I thought I’ll give her time to take her stuff out - since she already paid for the month.
Now on the 30th I go there and I decided to see the condition of the unit but I dint have the keys (I think she changed the locks) so text her n called her again saying - since you have moved out why dont you give me the keys - no reply
so I text her again saying since she did not respond to my notices I will be cleaning her apt and throwing her stuff out. I went to the backyard and was horrified to see thrash, car tires, broken window panes, back windows open, my other tenant also complained he could hear noises in the night from the apt, so I got someone to get into the unit from the window opened it –

It was the worst I’ve ever seen, even the guy who opened said the same - the whole apt is thrashed food, clothes n stuff scattered all over, my carpet all black, holes in the wall, stains on the ceiling, all walls dirty, broken window and the worst no power in the unit and lots of food in the fridge- it was stinking - about $1500-$2000 in clean up n repairs

I get the locks changed to secure the unit n give the keys to the yard keeper to get it cleaned and taken care of, I left and on the corner I see her car turning going to the apt so I turned back and decided to confront her as to what was going on -
she already started taking pics of the guy who was still changing her locks and was talking on the phone for 10 mins n I waited to talk to her.
she rolls down her window and blasts at me as if it was my fault that what was happening with her unit and I was doing something illegal by accessing her unit, changing the locks and she said felt no need to communicate with me, or respond to the notices and that I violated her privacy n insulted her by posting the notice on the door and I took action based on other people info - which is absolute crap.
she kept saying she has her expensive stuff in there, not yet moved etc etc… threatened to sue — but I did not budge _ told her that she damaged my apt, did not communicate, abandoned it - and I did the right thing –
I offer her I would open the door and let her take her stuff I had not started to clean up yet- she refused - I had to calm her down and then she agreed to come on the 1st and take her stuff n clean the apt…
She got all my messages she showed them to me, gave me the key which was not needed now, it seemed she had full intentions of ruining my apt, let it stink n get vandalized by the time I wait for next months rent and follow eviction process, by the way she moved cause she bought a TW so she knew well in advance that she was moving.

Its the worst experience I’ve had so far, dont know if I did the right thing or what should I be doing in this situation.

I don’t know what the hurry is. If she paid for the month then she has it for the month. If you change to locks early are you prepared to give her the prorated amount of the rent back? Why are you in such a hurry?

the apartment was being vandalized, she was not living there, changed the locks and did not respond to the notice, I still waited till the 30th.

Hey BSP,

Two words…[PROVE IT]

I just guessing here, but I’m willing to bet that this tenant has
been around the block with evictions and such. Her response
to you being there, not replying to your calls tells me she was
trying to take you to the bank.

Nonetheless, she paid you on the 22nd, which to me means she
has another month, not including her 30 Day Notice of not renewing
her lease (depending on what your contract states as notice) , to stay

Hindsight doesn’t help much now, but you could have rolled the die and
called the cops on threat of criminal damage to the unit, or that criminal
activity was occuring at the unit. Then just treat it as though she abandoned
the unit. She may take you to court for her “nonexistant” 60 LED T.V. and
Picasso, but with the police report and pics you have a decent shot of winning
your case…even if she tried to sue.

It’s happened to us all doc…hang in there!

No she did not pay on the 22nd she paid at the beginning of the month for march, I already consulted with my attorney I was ok and did the right thing posted the notice and awaited her response till the end of the month,
she was suppose to meet me today at 1pm but did not show up.

That really sucks BSP. With:

  • Proper screening
  • Keeping your costs to a minimum (basically, put the minimum amount of $ in your rental property yet make it nice enough to be competitive in your neighborhood of rentals)
  • Getting a large enough deposit
  • By communicating with the tenant, and checking up on them
  • And by using your good people skills so that you have an appropriate relationship with the tenant (they need to know you ARE the boss and not a pushover landlord, yet you need to be courteous and treat them like a decent human being).

… usually that will not happen, or if it happens it won’t hurt as bad financially.

But it does happen from time to time.

At this point, all you can do is hold your head up, get the placed fixed up and move onto the next tenant. Don’t let this one bad experience make you give up on landlording! Good luck buddy

You can’t win em all and dirtbags will slip past screening from time to time.
Remember: Unless you made a bad deal at the time of purchase, the problem is the tenant - not the property.

It seems you took an interest in checking your property way too late.

You also jumped the gun with your actions.
A property is not abandoned as long as the rent is current.

She never gave you notice and was current on her rent.

You should have started eviction/abandonment proceedings AFTER you had not received rent. Or started them after receiving rent based on the condition of the property.

I am still waiting to hear form her whether she want her stuff or no. What should I do?

You need to do what the law, or in absence of law what your lease, says you must do. Many area have laws that state the landlords must place the possessions of evicted tenants in storage for some specified period of time.

Find out the laws in your area and act accordingly.


In texas the LL may dispose the property if not contacted by tenant within 48 hrs and I gave her enough time

BSP, I am in Texas also that is a horse of a different color. If her lease is up and there is no time on her rent money that she has given you you can move her things out and do a make ready on the property. For example if the rent is $1000/momnth and the last $1000 you got was in March then she has no standing for April. Place a letter on the inside of the main door that says you are going to declare the property as abandoned and everything in it in 3 days. Take a picture of the posted letter with a time stamp on it taped to the inside of the door for evidence. After the third day change the locks take her things out to the curb and MAKE SURE YOU DON’T SELL HER THINGS OF VALUE. You can’t steal her stuff.

Because she seems to be a problem tenant you need to be proactive. After you move her stuff out figure out how much it will cost to repair the damage to the property. Deduct that amount from her deposit and then go to small claims court and file a suit for the cost incurred over the amount of her deposit for the vandalism that occurred while she was still living there. She will take you to court so be prepared to show that you gave her notice. I do think you made it hard on yourself by going in early before. The judge is not going to look on that kindly.

By the way BSP this is a self inflicted wound and it will cost you. You went in cheap, don’t try to get out of it cheaply. Sue her. Go to court and pay what it costs. The next time do a back ground check. This lady was not a saint and all of a sudden when she moved into your place all of a sudden became this tenant from heck. She was like this when you laid eyes on her. If you had checked her out you would know that and passed on her. A background check is less that $25 and this court case will cost you more than $200. That is assuming your time at $100 plus gas and parking over to the justice of the peace’s office to file and then again on the court date plus $90 court costs. There is also the aggravation of standing in front of the judge sweating while he asks you questions to see if you are a predatory jerk land lord or not. Check out the next tenant don’t relay on your superior ability to judge character.

Street:________________________________________________ Apt:________
City:___________________, TX Zip:
The rent on this property has been due and unpaid for twelve (12) consecutive
days and the Lessor/Landlord believes that you have abandoned the property.
The real property will be deemed abandoned within the meaning of (Whatever section of your lease that defines abandonment) and your lease/rental agreement terminated on _______________. I will take possession of the real property on _______________. unless before such date the undersigned receives at the address indicated below a
written notice from you stating both of the following:

  1. Your intent not to abandon the real property.
  2. An address at which you may be served by certified mail in any action for
    Unlawful Detainer (eviction) of real property.
    You are required to pay the rent due and unpaid on this real property as required by
    the lease/rental agreement. Failure to do so can lead to a court proceeding against
    Print Name:____________________________________________
    Owner’s Phone:_________________________________________