What are a landlord’s rights against a tenant who owes back rentand has left the state?

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What are a landlord’s rights against a tenant who owes back rentand has left the state?

We have 2 tenants on a lease. Tenants divide the rent and each pay us. Tenant #1 has paid this month’s rent and is in the home. Tenant #2 did not pay and is basically gone. She lost her job and has left the state 4 months ago. She will not communicate with her roommate or us (landlords) regarding her late rent and where she is. Her mail continues to come to the home and her belongings are in the home. We served a Demand for Possession for non-payment of rent. Tenant #1 has chosen to move out, she does not have the money to pay the portion of her roommate’s rent.

Asked on June 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I kind of feel bad for tenant #1 who seems to be complying with all the obligations required and with the request by you.  What you are going to have to do here is to formally evict them both in order to obtain a judgement against them for the rent owed by tenant #2.  Depending on how the lease is written tenant #1 is going to have to be sued and be on the judgement.  Once the judgement is rendered and you are permitted to re-enter the apartment - her things are still there so do not touch them until you are permitted by law - you can then ask for the sheriff's help in levying against her personal property which can possibly be sold to pay the judgement owned.  Get legal help in your area.  Good luck.


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