property left behind when a tenant moves out

Property left behind when a tenant moves out – 10 things to know!

Property left behind when a tenant moves out – 10 things to know! 

        When a tenant moves out, whether they have been evicted or the lease ended, the process is debilitating for landlords. Most of the time, there are items left by the tenant. Dealing with properties left behind by the tenant can be stressful and hassle for landlords. It is not uncommon for them to encounter this scenario. 

           Most of the time, landlords would encounter garbage left by the tenant in the unit. Disposing of these items is easy. On the other hand, if a tenant encounters personal possessions like fixtures and motorcycles, it is a different story.

A landlord may face serious liability if he/she disposes of it or sell it right away. What must a landlord do with the items and goods left behind?

property left behind when a tenant moves out

1. Identifying the property

What are the properties left behind? The landlord may dispose of the stuff that can be considered garbage. On the other hand, items like medication, documents, and other personal items must be safely stored.

After securing the property, the landlord may notify and contact the tenant about their left property.

2. Why did the tenant leave? 

Determining why the property is abandoned can help the landlord deal with the properties left behind. In dealing with this situation, there are different reasons why the tenant has left:

  • After the duration agreement ended, the lease ended, some tenants do not renew their lease and move out. 
  • Evicted – some tenants who do not abide with the lease are given a termination notice. 
  • Disappeared – for some reason, some tenants would disappear and leave their properties behind. 

Whatever the reason why the tenant has left, their properties must be handled with care and be secured safely. 

3. The legal stand of the landlord

Each state has its laws regarding the properties left by the tenant. In California, tenants have 18 days to recover their personal belongings. Recovering the properties left behind has a price – they must pay the storage cost to the landlord.

Through this process, it gives the tenant time to collect their items and properties. 

4. Secure the property

A landlord may create a list of the items and photograph them. Through this process, you will be more organized, and it will save you time later. Also, it can protect the landlord from liabilities and damages to the properties left behind. 

Securing the property does not mean keeping the property. It only means that a landlord should secure the properties in safe storage. You may create a list of the expenses that this storing may cause. 

5. Notify the tenant

Even though the process may be stressful, the landlord must contact the tenant regarding their property. Write a notice informing the tenant about the property or properties left behind. Below are some of the information you may include in your notice: 

  • Include the list you made and the photos you took for them to identify if it’s their property.
  • Make sure that there is a deadline included in the notice. It will give the tenant an ample amount of time to claim their property or properties.
  • Inform the tenant on what will happen with the property if they will not claim it. 
  • If there is a charge for storing the property, make sure they are also aware of it. 

6. Tenant claims the property.

The tenant responds to the written notice, prepare their items and belongings on the date agreed upon. Also, prepare the list of expenses from storing the property. In most cases, the landlord charges the tenant on the storage cost.

7. What if the tenant did not respond?

The tenant did not respond to your notice, there are different ways to handle it. Depending on the state, they have other laws in dealing with properties that have not been claimed.

In California, the landlord can sell or give away the property if it is under $700. However, if it is more than $700, he/she may call the county and sell it on public auction.

8. What if the landlord did not follow these steps?

A landlord may face liabilities if he/she will not safely store the property and notify the tenant. It may take a lot of time to do these processes; however, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. Plus, it can save you from facing charges and liabilities to the tenant’s properties left behind. The tenant has the right to file a case against the landlord if this happens. 

9. Preventive measure

Including abandoned properties in your lease

To save the landlord from the hassle and stress of properties left behind, create or revise your lease agreement. The revised lease agreement will inform the tenant regarding their responsibility in maintaining the unit clean after they move out.

Part of this lease agreement is removing any property after they move out of the unit. Before they leave, the tenant should be informed that the place should be the same before their time of occupancy. Pro-tip, you can give the tenant a move-out checklist. It ensures that there will be no property left behind after they move out. If the tenant did not follow the agreement, there could be sanctions. 

10. Preventive measure – screen your new tenants

It can take up your time; however, screening your new tenants can save you from the hassle of dealing with property left behind. Before you accept new tenants, you can do a background check on how they deal with their previous unit. You may also contact their previous landlord on how they left the unit if there are any properties left behind. 

In some cases, some tenants would still leave their properties behind. If this happens, you can follow the steps mentioned above. It can be stressful and debilitating. However, it can save your liabilities and future charges. Who knows, your tenant may thank you in the future for storing their property safely and might give you something in return.

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How Much Does a Property Manager Charge

How Much Does a Property Manager Charge?

Through a property manager, handling your property can be at ease. A reliable property manager can be an asset to your property’s investment which is why a lot of real estate investors hire property managers to handle their property. 

The property manager manages the property at a price. Several factors can affect the cost that a property manager will charge. Also, it can depend on the amount of workload you will delegate and include in the contract with your property manager. There is no fixed amount on how much a property manager will charge, however, there are variables you can look at when you are considering hiring a property manager. Here are some of the factors that a property manager can charge you: 

Breakdown of Fees When Hiring a Property Manager

Management Fee

In hiring a property manager, there is a basic pay of 8% to 12% that comes from the monthly rent from your tenants. It includes daily management of the property such as collecting monthly payment for rent, interacting with tenants, inspecting the property, and a lot more. However, this is just the basic management fee. There are other fees that you need to consider. 

how much do property managers charge

Maintenance Fee

Do not be surprised that there is a maintenance fee. Expect that you need a maintenance fee to keep the property free from damages and repair. It includes property inspection to prevent and to fix the damage right away. There should be a reserve fund repair for unexpected damages that may occur. Through this, it will keep you from the hassle and stress of damage costs. Pro-tip, discuss with your property manager the daily maintenance of the property in order to prevent future damages and repair. 

Lease Renewal Fee 

A property manager may charge you for drafting paperworks and adjusting the terms and conditions of the agreement for the lease renewal fee. In some cases, some property managers may not charge you, however, if they charge you, it is either the amount of flat rate or the percentage of rent. 

Tenant Placement Fee 

When a property manager placed a new tenant, there could be a tenant placement fee. Tenant placement fee includes advertising the property, screening of the tenant, moving procedures, and preparation of the lease. Its cost could be the same as a flat fee or a percentage from the rent. Depending on the conditions in the contract, you can refund the tenant placement fee if the tenant is evicted or breaks the lease. 

Vacancy Fee

Even if there is no tenant residing in the property, there are still certain bills that you need to pay. Whether there is a tenant or not, you will still pay the monthly mortgage. If you have other tenants residing in your building, it would be easier to deal with it. Aside from the monthly mortgage, there is also tax property every month. Dealing with tax property is stressful if there is no tenant residing in your property. You might want to find a new tenant as soon as possible. In addition to this, you will need to prepare the unit for the new tenant. It includes repair, painting the walls, and cleaning. These are also additional fees that you might need to add. 

Eviction Fee

Evicting a tenant can be stressful. Thankfully, your property manager handles it with ease. For this process, it might cost a lot since you will need a lawyer in processing your eviction. Aside from the payment for the lawyer, you still need to pay your property manager for handling it and doing the process. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars in this process. 

Early Termination Fee

If you plan to end your contract with your property manager, there are underlying costs for this process. Its costs usually depend on your terms and conditions with your property manager. Either you pay for the cost of early termination fee or you will face the court for the breach of contract. For your next property manager, make sure to discuss the other miscellaneous fee including the early termination fee. 

There is no standard price on how much a property manager can charge. However, there are variables that could influence the cost, it includes the following: 

Property’s size – depending on the size of the property that the property manager is handling whether it is a commercial or residential property, the size determines the cost. The larger the property, the higher the cost will be. 

Property’s location – if the property is located in an area whereas it requires higher pay rent, you will also pay higher for your property manager. Contrary to an area wherein it only requires lower rent payment, you will also pay lower to your property manager. 

Miscellaneous fee – there could be other extent of services payment for your property manager. Your payment will depend on the amount of work you will delegate to your property manager. If you hire him/her to just collect the rent, then you will pay lower. However, if you have given your property manager to manage and handle tenants, collect rent, handle maintenance, and other tasks, you need to pay higher. 

how much do property managers charge

Do I Need To Hire A Property Manager? 

If you are looking for a property manager, you might want to consider these factors before making a decision. Also, it is vital to discuss the terms and conditions comprehensively. Hiring a property manager can help in handling your property with ease. It is not easy to manage a property especially if you are alone. Through a property manager, the workload can be easy. It has a price to pay, however, you can save yourself from the hassle and stress of handling a property. 

As property owner, you need to understand that handling a property can be difficult and tedious especially if you own a larger property. Hiring a property manager can be an investment and asset for your property. Make sure to consider these steps when hiring a property manager, it can save you time and money. 

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