How to Handle an Abandoned Rental Property in Florida

When you’ve rented out a property to a lessee who suddenly stops paying rent and has not been seen at the property, you may be at a loss about what you should do. You certainly don’t have to wait indefinitely for your tenant to return, and you have legal remedies available to you.

Attempt to Reach Emergency Contacts

An emergency contact may give you some insight about what’s happening with your tenant, but you should not rely wholly on the input of a third party in taking any type of legal action. A third party cannot unilaterally terminate a lease on another person’s behalf.

Comply With Your Lease Terms and Applicable Law

Abandonment is generally considered to be a termination of a lease agreement by a tenant. However, review the lease that you have made with your tenant to see if it defines what constitutes abandonment. Also, your lease may stipulate what type of notice you must provide before retaking possession of the unit. Florida law sets a fifteen-day minimum requirement for notice before commencing a legal action, but a subsidized tenancy may require thirty days’ notice.

Secure the Premises

After you have made sufficient attempts to contact a tenant and complied with all of the terms in your lease as well as statutory law, you can enter and empty the unit. You should change the locks before renting the unit out again. For help from a lock rekeying service Orlando, reach out to a company that is experienced in serving property owners in your area.

Store Abandoned Property

If items left on the premises are clearly trash, you are free to dispose of them. Items such as furniture or electronics should be kept at a storage facility. You must send notice to the tenant via registered or first class mail at his or her last known address, which may in fact be your rental property.     

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