What is considered to be property abandonment?

My fiance and I are currently living in rental house that is under his mother’s name. She has not lived in the house in over 2 months and her lease is no longer in effect; she is month-to-month. She did not pay the rent for the month that she moved out but we paid the rent for last month and this month.

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If a tenant abandons a unit and leaves property behind, then many landlords have provisions in their lease agreements that will set out a time frame for abandoned property.  If they don't have an abandoned property provision, then it will take a couple of years for it to be considered officially abandoned.

You actually have two problems in taking or disposing of the property.  The first is that if property is abandoned and rent is due, then the landlord, not the next tenant have the right to the property to satisfy any back payments.  The second issue is that the unit is still in her name... which means she still has the right to full access and legal use of the unit.  As long as her name is on the lease, she is presumed to still be the owner and her property will not be considered abandoned.

So... to get the property out, ya'll need to get with the landlord to see what the lease read, get your names on the lease, and contact his mother to arrange for a return of her property.

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