If a tenant abandons your property it probably means they didn’t want to fulfill the terms of the lease agreement. Some tenants will do this thinking they can avoid paying any unpaid rent, or to avoid the challenges of asking for early termination from the lease agreement. Of course there could be other legitimate reasons for an abandonment, and the first thing to do is determine that your rental was truly abandoned.

Abandonment can be evidenced by nonpayment of rent for greater than 15 days, along with the removal of substantially all of the renter’s possessions. Once it is determined that the tenant has abandoned the premises, proper procedure is to send a certified letter with return receipt requested, to the tenant at their last known address, giving them notice that the premises will be re-rented if they do not reply within seven days.

After the requisite seven days, or if the letter is returned as undeliverable, the landlord must make reasonable efforts to rent the premises at a market rate. If the landlord rents the property for a term that begins before the abandoned tenant’s lease expires, the old tenancy terminates at that date. Any personal property left behind by the abandoning tenant is considered abandoned. The landlord can dispose of the property in any manner deemed proper.