Tenant Arrested

Tenant Arrested. What Happens Now

CM's question: Apparently, her tenant unfortunately got arrested and it sounds like it's kind of serious. She's kind of in a bind because she has a lease and she has a tenant, and the bind comes in to where she doesn't know what she's supposed to do with the tenant's belongings. The problem is, the tenant might be going away for a while but you have the tenant's belongings and you also have a lease. So, what is your responsibility as a landlord at honoring this lease and this tenant's belongings?

This is a good time to get an attorney. So if this actually came across my desk, I would actually reach out to an attorney and I probably just won't go alone. I would slightly go to alone. If the tenant has released the property so they have given you the keys back or have some form some way gone in writing that they are no longer wanting to be part of this lease, then you actually are fine. So reach out to the family and hopefully your lease has an emergency contact as this is really important. So going forward, always have an emergency contact in there so you can at least rely upon emergency contact and just be friendly and reach out and say, "Hey, I want to know what's going on with so and so. If you can let them know, I don't want to have to keep charging them rent. If they don't have an ability to pay, can you actually get them to agree to let me let them out of their lease."

At that point, you can kind of move forward and decide what you want to do in regards to a security deposit in default of lease. It's kind of a tough situation, but definitely get the tenants some kind of information on what they want done with their belongings, because otherwise it's going to be really difficult.

As a real estate agent, I've done transactions with clients that were in prison and I can tell you it's incredibly, incredibly difficult. You'll have to wait for to at least to have a notary and to get legal documents signed. It can be very difficult. But if you can get anything in writing from the tenant basically stating that they release the unit to you then you're okay. And then also find out some information on what they want done with their belongings. Otherwise, it's going to be State specific and an attorney going to have to really counsel you on it. I'm guessing you might have to put their belongs in a storage unit and holding it out for the tenant.

Joe White, trying to answer your real estate questions. I don't think I actually did it here, but trying to answer your real estate investing questions the best I can. Good luck!!!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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