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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 35297
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I was "renting" out my basement to someone who hasn't paid

Customer Question

Good Morning,I was "renting" out my basement to someone who hasn't paid in months. I recently received a text saying he has moved to Florida. He left all his stuff and said he will back in a few days to get it. Is it ok if I change the locks? I would think that the text would be considered a notice of abandonment. I don't wan't this person in my house while i'm not there.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. 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.

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Legally that would be considered an unlawful lock out and could get you in trouble if he decided to take legal action if he was denied entry. The fact that he as said that he will be returning to get his property means that he has not abandoned the property.

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However, the way you could get around this would be if you "lost" your key and then had to have the locks changed. You would need to notify him that you had to do so due to the lost key, but he can contact you for a duplicate when he comes back for his personal property.

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But if you want to take action sooner, you can post a 3 day notice to pay rent or vacate on the property front door and then pursue a formal eviction action in court after the 3 day expires which would allow you to dispose of anything left once the judgment was entered and the writ was executed by the sheriff.

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As a landlord myself for over 26 years, that is the route I would take because it could be months before the person decided to come back and get his property.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When he comes back to collect his stuff I'm not obligated to let him stay in the house am I. Let say if he's there when i get home i can legally tell him to leave?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 months ago.

When he comes back to collect his stuff I'm not obligated to let him stay in the house am I.

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Yes, until you formally evict him to cut off his rights to possession, you can't prevent him from staying there.

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Let say if he's there when i get home i can legally tell him to leave?

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No, he is still your legal tenant until you evict him through the courts and terminate his tenancy or he moves everything out and returns his keys to you and states he will not be coming back.

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That is the whole point I was making about going ahead and starting the eviction process so he can't drag this out for months and months..

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thanks

Barrister

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