Tenant Gave Notice, but left everything.

I had a tenant that hadn’t paid rent in 6 weeks. I gave him a three day, and he called to Beg me to let him stay until the end of January. I agreed.
On February 5, I went to the apartment and found it to be trashed with Garbage, furniture, clothes, everything you can imagine. My Property manager trashed it out, changed the locks, cleaned and put it on the market in one day.
That night the former tenant called to tell me he was taking me to court because he hadn’t moved out yet and I threw away his belongings, everything he owned. He then broke into the apartment, stole the appliances and anything he could grab. The police call it burglary. What should I do?

File charges against him. Not sure about the laws in your state, but even if you had kept all his belongings, he would be entitled to them back after he paid his back rent. So you tell him that he can have it back after he pays for 3 months worth of rent. Once he does that, then he could probably sue you. Our state has a law that says you have to keep their stuff in storage for 6 months. It’s happened to us a couple of times, mostly they just leave with their trash behind and I toss it in garbage bags and store it in the basement for a few months on the off chance they’ll pay the back rent. They never do. I guess you could claim the apartment was abandoned so that’s why you got rid of his stuff. Not sure how that would work in your state though.

Yes, press charges is the police will allow you to do that. The deadbeat owes you rent + damages for the mess you had to clean up and any other damages you have. I doubt if his junk was worth that much, especially after you tell the judge that it was all junk. People often threaten to sue, but they rarely follow through.

Good Luck,


Just a suggestion: if you want to be a landlord, take the time to learn the landlord tenant law in your state (and any laws that are local). If you had known the law, you would have handled the move-out in a legal manner.

Do not depend upon your property manager to know the law. You are liable if he makes a mistake, and you are the one who is going to get sued.

Tenants often threaten to sue and never get around to it. If they threaten to sue, you will feel a lot more confident about it if you know your laws and know that your actions were legal.

There are a few deadbeat cheats who make a living off of setting their landlord up and then suing. There aren’t many, but they exist, and the way to protect yourself is to know the law.

You need a state specific answer to your question. Laws vary from state to state.

If I could prove a tenant had stolen from me, I would press charges. Just knowing it was burglary isn’t enough. You have to be able to prove that the tenant did it.