If a tenant is in jail and his stuff is still in the rental, what can the landlord do with it?

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If a tenant is in jail and his stuff is still in the rental, what can the landlord do with it?

No rent being paid. He has destroyed the place living there with about 30 dogs. He was renting from the previous owner when we purchased the property. No lease or rental agreement. No deposits or anything.

Asked on August 13, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can evict him--you don't need to let someone reside in your space for free. You can sue him for the damage done to your property--and also for the rent he hasn't paid--though obviously, he very likely has no money to pay. You can, after evicting him, dispose of his belongings after a reasonable time has passed (usually 30 - 60 days), though you'll have to store them first (and can, if he or a representative collects the goods, charge for the storage). In short, you have the same rights against him as you would against a non-incarcerated tenant. His being incarcerated, however, complicates matters, since providing the proper notice and process becomes difficulty. You are advised to retain an attorney to help you exercise your rights.


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