June 2012

The following questions have come in regarding day to day landlord and tenant issues.  The first question was from an apartment manager whose tenant was evicted and prior to the constable being ordered to come out and do the lockout, had come into the office and surrendered all of their keys.  When the manager went to the apartment to inspect it, they found that the resident had left some of his personal property behind.  The question was whether the manager had to hold the property for twenty one (21) days.  The answer is no.  Once the keys have been returned, the tenant is returning possession and everything in the apartment.  I would still photograph what is left behind and if there is anything of value, try to get a hold of the tenant to see if they wanted to pick it up within a short time such as 24-48 hours.

The next question concerns a very similar situation where the manager had a constable lockout completed, but the property that was left inside the apartment was not the resident’s.  It was rental furniture.  The manager wanted to know if they could call the rental company to pick it up.  The answer is yes, but make sure that the furniture identification numbers match up with the numbers on the company’s rental contract for the furnishings.

“What do we do with a hoarder?”  Depending on how bad the interior of the rental property is, you would do either a five (5) day health and safety, to clean up the property, or an immediate eviction if there is extensive damage as a result of the hoarding.  You should do a two (2) day access, taking pictures of the condition and then re-inspect.

“Do we have to account for the security deposit against the Judgment for the eviction?”  No, you can apply the deposit against any unpaid rent or damages.  So you generally want to keep the Judgment in full force and effect and apply the deposit towards future rents that would be owed until the lease expired or the property was re-rented or property damages beyond normal wear and tear. 

The next question, one of our clients had a grease fire involving a kitchen area.  The resident also verbally assaulted to manager.  “Do we have any recourse?”  Yes, you have grounds to an immediate eviction because of the property damage and threat of serious property damage.

The next question involves renewal.  “We sent the tenant a renewal, but the tenant has not responded.  Can we now do a non-renewal letter?”  Yes, as long as the tenant did not come in and specifically accept the renewal offer, you can always retract that.

One of our more unusual questions was as follows.  “Our tenant’s family wanted to have a funeral viewing in their driveway.  Do we have to allow this?”  The answer is, unless you have something that prohibits it in your lease, you would have to allow it.  You can make sure that the funeral company delivers and picks up the body and that there would be no damages caused in any way.

“We had a resident pass away and we had to do extensive cleaning and bio hazard attention to get the property ready to re-rent.  How do we collect the money?”  Unfortunately, you would have to sue the estate of the tenant and generally speaking there is not enough money in the estate to make that worthwhile.  You would probably be taking care of the cost yourself.

“One of our tenants is an older individual that has been taking pictures of the small children on the property.  What can we do?”  You can serve the tenant a notice, probably a five (5) day health and safety, or a ten (10) day non-compliance, to stop taking pictures, as this is an invasion into the individual’s privacy.