Skipping out on rent...

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Latest post 04-04-2007 1:22 PM by dennis_nj. 5 replies.
  • 04-02-2007 8:56 PM

    • Abby07
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-19-2007
    • Posts 6

    Question [=?] Skipping out on rent...

    Saturday morning I was told their was a moving truck at the house where a couple is renting from me. I drove there and asked who was moving, because I was never told or even had a clue of this. The guy said only he was, but she was staying. A few hours later I did a walk through, inside and out, and I have every reason to believe that they are both moving. I did the walk through with the guy and brought a witness with me. He told me everything that he was going to repair, replace, or take care of before HE moved. Now the rent is due by tomorrow and of course I feel that they are going to skip out without paying or taking care of repairs. WE live in PA, the pittsburgh area. Tomorrow, if the rent is not in my mailbox, can I legally Take the house back over? I was told by the neighbor that they havent seen anyone at the house for 2 days but still have some stuff outside that has to be moved. I did call the girl to let her know that I wanted to do another walk through tomorrow, but she isnt answering the phone. In our contract, it states that abandoment is 7 days, but doesnt say anything about skipping out without notice or even a warning.
  • 04-03-2007 12:08 AM In reply to

    Question [=?] re: Skipping out on rent...

    I am not an attorney; just a LL. What State is this in? Was the lease term up, on a month-month, or were they still bound by the lease?
    In your lease you stated that after 7 days it is considered abandoned. What exactly does this mean? After 7 days of what? What is considered abandoned, the unit?, the furniture? At least in my state, there are very specific guidlines for disposing of abandoned personal property absent a document from the owner of the property saying property is abandoned and that I can dispose of it however I see fit.
    I believe that you cannot have a tenant forfeit their legal rights in a lease and deny them due process. If your state has a very specific eviction process and you try to be slick and write a blurb into the lease that they agree to let you evict them at gunpoint the day the rent is late is not going to fly in court. You would still have to follow the guidlines stated in your states statutes. Failure to do so could leave you open to lots of legal trouble.
    What I like to get in writing is that anything left after giving possesion over to me is considered abandoned and permission is granted to dispose of property.
    In situations such as this, I personnally would be more worried about getting them to sign something stating they are vacating rather than asking to do multiple walkthroughs because they are going to leave no matter what (or so you suspect). Now you are stuck with a seemingly vacant unit that you can't do anything with. It would be my opinion, at least in my state, that the very day after the rent is considered delinquent, you begin the eviction proceedings.
    Generally a midnight moveout is a good indication that they do not intend to pay damages, backrent etc..... so walking through an apartment really isn't getting you anywhere. You can always go after them for damages later. What I would do is leave a message asking that they please sign a document stating they have vactated the property so you can move on. Seek damages later. Just my opinion.
  • 04-03-2007 12:25 PM In reply to

    re: Skipping out on rent...

    Now the rent is due by tomorrow and of course I feel that they are going to skip out without paying or taking care of repairs.

    "Tomorrow, if the rent is not in my mailbox, can I legally Take the house back over?"

    Technically, if he's delivered the keys and possession of the place to you, yes. But it's not clear from your post that he's done that. You may have to go by whatever PA statutes say as to when you can consider the place abandoned.

    "In our contract, it states that abandoment is 7 days...."

    But you need to verify what if anything PA landlord-tenant law says on the subject.

    If they have a month-to-month lease, presumably your lease requires at least a 30-day advance written notice of termination. Your post is unclear on what the lease term was, etc.

    Check with a local real estate attorney if you can't find the PA landlord-tenant laws online. You also need to become familiar with whatever ordinances-regulations Pittsburgh might impose.
  • 04-04-2007 8:20 AM In reply to

    • Abby07
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-19-2007
    • Posts 6

    re: Skipping out on rent...

    Well, we had a rent to own agreement but it has since been terminated for many reasons. If i wasnt told by a neighbor that there was a moving truck at the house, I would have never know that they were moving out. The agreement was terminated the day I found out they were moving and didnt give notice. They also bought a cat after they moved in and I wasnt told. They made several alterations to the home and repairs that I was not told about. the section about animals in the contract is cause for immediate eviction. Their 30 day notice to move out will be/has been given starting from the day they started to move out. The section in the contract about abandonment states that: if the tenants leave the home for 7 consecutive days while owing money I can take over the home.
  • 04-04-2007 1:22 PM In reply to

    News [|*|] re: Skipping out on rent...

    Your assertion that "it has since been terminated for many reasons." is likely not enforceable for many reasons. In most situations, you'd have to give a notice to 'cure or quit', and go through standard procedures to have them evicted.
    A rent-to-own agreement will muddy the waters considerably.
    Statements you have made make it fairly obvious that you did NOT have your own attorney involved in the writing of this contract, major faux-pas on your part.
    Another is that most likely you didn't get a substantial up-front deposit from these people.

    "The agreement was terminated the day I found out they were moving and didnt give notice"

    Again, NOT.

    "the section about animals in the contract is cause for immediate eviction. "

    NO, it wasn't.

    "Their 30 day notice to move out will be/has been given starting from the day they started to move out. "

    NO, it wasn't. It appears that you still haven't been given WRITTEN notice by the 'tenant'.

    "The section in the contract about abandonment states that: if the tenants leave the home for 7 consecutive days while owing money I can take over the home."

    Again, NO, you can't. You still have to go through normal court procedures.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, get yourself to an attorney before you make matters much worse for yourself. And if you intend on doing this again, get your own attorney involved.





  • 04-05-2007 6:04 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,104

    re: Skipping out on rent...

    Comments from a fellow PA LL:

    Sometimes you are better off with a skip than you are with an ensconced tenant who refuses to pay rent and proceeds to destroy the place!

    Irrespective of what your lease says as to adandonment you cannot toss or lock out a tenant w/o due proceess--and yes I mean the full notice and follow up and court etc UNLESS the tenant voluntarily surrenders the place--return of keys is a major point here.

    Obviously if the tenant skipps he is unlikley to return and cough up money--but if you are premature to lock up behing him it can boomarang against you--he could come back and say you denied him access blah blah. So you want to try to get even a symbolic return of keys if possible. Be sweet to get the keys--level the $$ boom later!

    I'd be quick to follow up witha notice .demad for money as per due process.

    My leases allow me emergency entry for leaks etc--be creative to get information.


    Your 7 day language in the contract "may" fly if nobody take legal exception to same. So if mid April you notice him as to contract abandonment it may help--especiallyif he ignores it.

    But generally the LL must play be the rules--be sure to pay attention to time lines in PA's security deposit return rules--with due attention of course that tenant must supply you with his new address.

    I have sometimes cut the corners of the notice provisions of the law and contract darn close when a tenant has less than completely moved out--I get legal service to him if his junk is still in the place at that address if at all possible.



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