We own a condo in Philadelphia, PA that we rent out. We do not have a license to do so.
We have had a tenant living there for 11 months. She asked if we could add her boyfriend to the lease. We did and extended the lease until the end of October 2013. They abandoned the unit without notice on August 1st, 2013. Other neighbors
saw them pack up and leave, confirming abandonment. The unit was left unsecured and keys have not been returned. Locks have since been changed. I also confirmed abandonment by speaking to the boyfriend who claimed he had left a month prior and they were no longer together, this proved not to be true as there is evidence to the contrary in the unit.
They have left no forwarding address, nor did they provide anything to us in writing they were vacating the unit. We do have her mother’s address, his work address and his former home address as it was on papers left at the unit.
Some minor possessions were left behind that I understand may need to be kept under the new Act 129 although the original lease was signed prior to the act being passed. Anything they left that could attract bugs was thrown out (dog towels that had been urinated on, dirty dishes left in the sink, a toaster oven) as mice droppings were found on the counter tops.
The condo was trashed and must be cleaned, painted and re-carpeted and we are unable to rent it out until we can get this done. We tried working it out with them as I finally located the boyfriend but they no showed.
I have retrieved mail that shows that two unauthorized relatives lived in the unit during their stay and an unauthorized german shepard was housed there as well. They left a large dog cage, food and a leash and the neighbors confirmed the dog lived there. No animals were allowed. The tenant claimed it was a service dog in training for her son but there is no proof, nor did they ask if a dog could be allowed under those circumstances.
I have a security deposit
equal to 1 month which pays for Augusts rent.
The plan is to sue the tenants and relatives that lived there for damages
, as stated above, and rent until the end of the lease unless we can find a new tenant but cannot until we have time to have the unit fixed up.
The questions are
Can I legally do this? Since they abandoned the property must I keep what they left under PA Act 129. Can I sue everyone I can prove lived there even though they were not on the lease or can I only sue the tenants on the lease? Can I sue without a rental license? What are the repercussions of this?