Ask a landlord-tenant lawyer and get answers ASAP
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question.
Can you tell me what state this is in?
Has the tenant moved all their property out and returned the keys?
Have they sent any communications stating that they are abandoning?
Ok, there is no clear definition under TX law for abandonment and when a landlord can retake possession without going through the courts.
With that said, if the utilities are off, no food in the fridge (or no fridge, in this case), the tenant is behind on rent, the tenant has not occupied the premises for five days consecutively, and most of the personal belongings of the tenant have been removed, then it is pretty safe for a landlord to retake possession of the property. He can then change the locks to secure it, and post a notice on the door stating that the property is believed to be abandoned and the tenant is to contact the landlord for access.
Since the tenant stole your appliances, you might want to consider filing a police report and a formal criminal complaint for the theft so they can eventually catch up with the tenant and get you some restitution. I would also consider sending the letter below to the tenant at the address:
Letter demanding return of landlord property
As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...
Scratch that letter...it is for the tenant requesting that the landlord return property... Or modify it so that it is for the landlord requesting the return of their own property..