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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2982
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
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Our tenants basically abandoned the property on 9-1-15. We

Customer Question

Hello, Our tenants basically abandoned the property on 9-1-15. We waited the 14 days and sent out a abandonment letter. On 10-4-15, the 18 day waiting game is over. We sent them a certified abandonment letter to get back with us on their actions of the
property, they left or not. They still have not picked it up from the post office. The property is empty in every way, the lights were even turned off, the gas was turned off and they only come by to get whatever mail is left for them in the late hours of
the night. My questions is, as of 10-5-15, we are able to change locks and they are now considered gone. The mailman said they forward their mail, but I guess they are still getting whatever mail. He will no longer deliver for them at the house. My questions
is, if they come by for whatever reason am I allowed to let them know they are trespassing and no longer have access to the house. They still have the key to the house and have other people come in and out while we are at work. They come get the junk they
left, like old books, a baby seat, etc. It looks like items they were going to leave for us to clean up, but decided they want them. The house is a mess, windows broken, doors gone, rugs are filthy, etc. I just want to make sure the property is 100% ours again
and we can proceed with cleaning it up and renting out in November. We are going after them for September and October rent as well as all the clean up fees. But we want to rent first.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

What state are you from?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

California Civil Code section 1951.3 allows landlords to reclaim their rental property when they discover that the tenant has abandoned it. You must make a reasonable assumption that the property is abandoned. Examples of a reasonable assumption of abandonment include overdue rent, terminated utilities, empty closets and refrigerators, and a statement from a neighbor witnessing the the tenant moving. Take detailed notes of what you hear and see as you determine whether the rental property is actually abandoned.

Once you determine that the rental unit is abandoned and the rent is 14 days overdue, you can file a legal notice known as a Notice of Belief of Abandonment. This document outlines the reasons you believe the property is abandoned. It also gives the tenant 18 days to respond to you. The notice must warn the tenant that if you do not hear from him by the deadline, you will assume abandonment and will reclaim the property. Make a copy of the notice for your records, then mail the notice to the tenant's last known address. Mail some copies to any other emergency contacts for the tenant that you may have on file.

If the tenant has not contacted you after 18 days, you can enter the rental property and secure it by changing the locks and changing any security or alarm codes. Take the time to inspect the property for damages caused by the tenant. You can deduct any rent owed and the cost to repair damages from the tenant's security deposit. Mail an itemized list of deposit deductions to the tenant's last known address. You can now prepare the rental property for new tenants and begin advertising and screening applications.

If the tenant has left some personal property behind, you must store it for a period of time. Document each item thoroughly. Mail a written notice to the tenant's last known address that gives a description of the property, an 18-day deadline to claim it, a reasonable storage fee that must be paid in order to get the property, and what will happen to the possession if it is not claimed. If the tenant doesn't claim it, you must determine its value. If the value is less than $300, you may keep it or dispose of it. If the value is greater than $300, California law says you must contact the county treasurer and arrange to auction it.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer as it is the only way I will be compensated for my time by the site. (There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 next to my answer, an excellent or good rating would be fantastic.)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We mailed the abandoment on the 16th of September. The 18th day will be October 4, can we change locks tomorrow or wait until Monday, the 5th? I want them changed asap, they never picked up the certified mail at the post office, we will be receiving it back on Monday.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

If you mailed the Notice of Belief of Abandonment, the time wouldn't start until the tenant received the notice. You should give at least 2 days for the tenant to receive it, so I would wait until probably the 6th. If you sent the notice certified mail, you might take the first date that the notice could have been picked up and count from there. I tend to error on the safe side but it is up to you. If you complied with the process I outlined in my first answer then you should be fine.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I see you have reviewed my answer, do you have any further questions? If not, please positively rate my answer if satisfied.