A landlord is dealing with a tenant who moved out early while the lease in still in place and is wondering about entering the rental. That is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and he is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out the form below.
Dear Landlord Hank:
Does a tenant retain possession of their apartment, after they vacate their unit, but before their 30 days’ moving-out notice expires?
And does the landlord need to have an authorization to enter the unit, for getting the unit move-in ready (cleaning and painting) for the new tenant, before the 30-day notice expires?
Dear Landlady Danielle,
It is customary for a landlord to retake possession of a property when the tenant moves out and turns in the property keys unless the tenant has made some other arrangement with the landlord.
We have tenants leave early all the time because it suits their lives better than staying until the last minute.
If the landlord believes a tenant has moved out, then there is no reason to wait to ready your unit for the next resident.
Usually your lease will stipulate under what conditions you have right of entry.
A reasonable person would think that when a tenant moves and turns in their keys, they are relinquishing their claim to the property – BUT, that being said, why don’t you talk to your tenant and let them know what is on your mind?
Clear communication is the best way for everyone to be on the same page.
You could just ask for the forwarding address for the return of the security deposit and tell the tenant it is OK to turn off the utilities if they’ve moved, so you can access the unit and prepare it for the next resident.
Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine Rental Housing Journal. https://rentalhousingjournal.com/asklandlordhank/
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