Can I take over my property if I sent a 3 day pay or quit notice and the tenant moves out most of their personal belongings but doesn’t return keys?

Tenant will not answer calls and I have no forwarding information. Tenant has not paid monthly rent, moved out belongings, leaving a mattress and box spring. Tenant has not written a letter of intent of vacating property or return keys. Can I legally go in and repair, change locks and re-rent?

Asked on July 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Moving out his belongings after a notice to quit shows an intention to return possession to the landlord, though it's not as definitive as statement or letter to that effect. As long as you are prepared to take the slight chance that 1) the tenant may return and demand possession and 2) that if he does, a judge could somehow conclude he never gave it up, you could proeceed with bringing an eviction action and getting a judgment of possession.

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