What Should You Do When a Tenant Goes to Jail?
By Utopia Property Management
One of the worst situations an owner can find themselves in is when they learn that their tenant has been arrested and has gone to jail.
Sadly, when a tenant goes to jail this means that they may not be able to pay their rent for a short or prolonged period of time and the BIG question is what should a landlord do about it?
In this issue of our San Diego Property Management tips, we will provide you with steps you should follow if you’ve found that your tenant has been arrested and has gone to jail.
Step 1 – Research Their Arrest Yourself
The first thing you need to do if you believe that your tenant has gone to jail, is to research their arrest yourself.
You should first research their arrest online, via the local corrections department website, or you can contact your tenant’s emergency contacts to verify if they were arrested or not.
Step 2 – Determine If You Should Evict Them
Another important rental management tip that we can offer you is to determine if you should evict the tenant or not because, if it’s a long-term stay in jail, they may not have the savings to continue paying their rent until they get out of jail.
Step 3 – Declare the Rental Property Abandoned
Last of all, but most important, if you know that your tenant has not lived in their rental property for any length of time due to their time in jail it’s best to consider that they’ve abandoned the property (California Civil Code section 1951.3).
To declare the property abandoned you must do the following:
#1 – Determine that the property has been abandoned by talking with neighbors and noticing signs of abandonment including an empty refrigerator, disconnected utilities, overdue rent etc.
#2 – File a Notice of Belief of Abandonment – This gives the tenant 18 days to respond to you and paves the way for you to reclaim your rental property.
#3 – Secure your rental property – Once you’ve reclaimed your rental property you must secure it by changing all locks and security codes for the alarm system.
If the tenant had a large number of possessions at their rental property you are allowed by law to keep or store anything under $300 for the tenant, but if their belongings are obviously over $300 you are required by law to contact your county treasurer to have those possessions auctioned off.
To learn more about how to deal with a tenant who has gone to jail, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact Utopia Property Management today by calling us at (858) 598-1111 or connect with us online.