Sponsored: Tenants don’t pay rent for 4 months, then move out without notice; landlord worries about going through eviction process

Q: In response to your online column in The Mercury News
and East Bay Times on October 4, 2020, titled “Tenants claiming
financial crisis break lease and move out to buy their first home;
what can landlords do?”:

I had tenants abandon the apartment after not paying
rent for four months, even though they are on Social Security. Then
they moved without informing me. In the strongly-worded clause
about abandonment, it says they lose everything they left there.
The police say no. I still have to go through an eviction process.
We’ll have to go to court. Is the abandonment clause even
legal?

A: It is my experience that most landlords go out of their way
to save money. There are real estate attorneys and eviction
attorneys who know the laws in your city, county, and state. Start
gathering your lease, photo and the fact-based timeline for the
one-hour consultation. Put the tenants’ belongings in the garage
or living room until you receive legal advice. Since Midnight
Movers are known to reappear and sue over the possessions they
abandoned, now is not the time to be frugal or imprudent.

Q: My landlord recently broke into my home while I was
at work and threw all of my belongings away because I was one month
late on rent because of COVID-19. I had never been late before, and
he told me he could do this even though there is a lease and a
moratorium. Now not only am I homeless, but I have lost everything
too! What can I do?

A: Sadly, this type of hardball tactic has been around for
thousands of years. In the response above, I warned that landlord
to avoid acting irrationally, or he could end up on the receiving
end of a lawsuit. My interviews with the fine people at the
nonprofit Project Sentinel never cease to amaze me with more than
50 programs to help people with housing issues. Funded primarily by
donations, they serve as educators/mediators to tenants, landlords
and distressed homeowners. The phone number for Project Sentinel is
1-800-339-6043. View the informational Project Sentinel website at
www.housing.org. The section
labeled AB 3088: The Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief
Act of 2020 has a link to a video by The Law Foundation of Silicon
Valley. It describes how a landlord could not do self-help
evictions and tenant lockout. If you are out of the Northern
California area, seek a like-kind nonprofit. Good luck and keep in
touch.

Questions? Realtor Pat Kapowich is a career-long consumer
protection advocate and Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager.
408-245-7700 Pat@SiliconValleyBroker.com
DRE# 00979413 Learn tips, trends and best practices by subscribing
to YouTube.com/PatKapowich

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Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Sponsored: Tenants don’t pay rent for 4 months, then move
out without notice; landlord worries about going through eviction
process