eviction or abandonment?
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eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 3:41 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Vee [OH]) Feb 12, 2015 5:13 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by S i d [MO]) Feb 12, 2015 6:21 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 7:53 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by James [MO]) Feb 12, 2015 9:23 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Baltimore LL [MD]) Feb 12, 2015 10:44 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Mike45 [NV]) Feb 12, 2015 12:33 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 5:21 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 5:48 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Vee [OH]) Feb 12, 2015 6:19 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 6:42 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Deanna [TX]) Feb 12, 2015 9:15 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 12, 2015 10:11 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Feb 13, 2015 9:04 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Mike45 [NV]) Feb 13, 2015 7:19 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 13, 2015 7:24 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 13, 2015 7:32 PM
       eviction or abandonment? (by Keith [AL]) Feb 15, 2015 5:39 AM
       eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Feb 15, 2015 7:32 AM

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 3:41 AM

State Specific Question About: WEST VIRGINIA (WV)

Should this be eviction or abandment?

My tenants haven't paid rent since Novemver 15th, 2014, and had the city shut off their water on December 29, 2014. They had water connected under their name in another house on January 17th 2015, and have been living in the new place. But they still have a lot of their stuff left in my rental house, and it's a royal mess there. They refuse to answer my calls, never reply my text messages, never replied to my emails to them.

BTW, they came with the house when I bought it in September 2013, and they had been there for 2 years prior to that. They were on a month to month deal with the previous owner, as the owner wanted to sell the house, so opted out any lease. They refused to sign a lease with me, and refused to pay any security deposit--she told me she didn't have the money, and promised to pay it later, but she never did.

So, Question 1: did they abandon my house? If so, what do I need to do to get my house back?

Q-2: Or do I still need to evict them? Thing is, they no longer live in my rental anymore, and have been staying in another rental house since Jan 17, about 2 blocks away in the same small town.

I'm a new landlord, and have never experienced this, and therefore don't know what to do. I live in another country, and only go visit the rentals once or twice a year. which leads to

Question 3: Do I need to go to WV, USA in person to do the eviction?

Q-4: Can I appoint someone there locally, to evict the tenants for me?

Q-5: What's the best way to deal with this situation? Please advice. Thanks a lot! --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 5:13 AM

Time to read your local/state tenant laws, then evict following the laws exactly, any business person must do this, you then recover the property which will lead to the next step - repair or sell at a distance greater than 15 minutes the problems multiply quickly at exponential dimensions and expenses, if you have large lottery winnings to dispose of this may work out but as a beginner you need to get some training. --75.94.xxx.xxx

eviction or abandonment? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 6:21 AM

I second Vee's recommendation about reading your State's laws. Even if you hire an attorney, it is CRITICAL that you understand the basic process so you know that your attorney is competently acting on your behalf.

If I were in your shoes: today I'd click on the link in the upper left corner of this page "Landlord/Tenant State Laws", find WV, and print out the entire list of Statutes. Then curl up in front of the fireplace and read them. Then re-read them. Then once more, just for good measure. Find out what abandonment means in your State.

Tomorrow I'd make calls to a minimum of 3 land lord/tenant attorneys in the county where your property is. Tell each one of them the situation and ask what course of action they recommend and how much they will charge. I am guessing most will say eviction is best at this point. If so, be aware some attorneys make is a big fuss and try to charge thousands of $$$ to evict. You want an 'eviction mill' attorney who charges a flat fee (usually around $250 - $500) and has someone in court every day booting deadbeats. It should be simple: Was rent paid? Answer: No. Judgment for the plaintiff...next case.

Proving abandonment may be difficult and end up costing you more. Some LL's just toss everything on the curb and change the locks. Some get away with it; others get sued. Since you don't know what you're doing (not picking on you, just stating a fact), I recommend the more careful approach.

Next time save yourself trouble and evict as soon as legally possible. I've never had a tenant get more than 2 weeks behind...today I file on Day 7 of no rent.

Btw, who never paid the deposit: the LL you bought from or the Tenant? The deposit should have been transferred from the previous LL to you at closing. Asking the tenant to pay again is unfair to the tenant. But that's water under the bridge, just be aware next time.

Also, the time to get a copy of a lease or rental agreement is BEFORE closing, not after. If a lease doesn't exist or the owner refuses to provide it, an estoppel letter sets out basic rental agreement terms: what the rent is, name of the authorized tenants, deposit amount, length or rental agreement, etc. Be sure to get one of those next time as well.

Good luck. Sounds like you have a mess. Knuckle down, get informed, and take action today! --108.250.xxx.xxx

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 7:53 AM

Thanks for your comments, Vee and Sid. Well, I just realized that I didn't know what I was doing 1.5 years ago, and I've been learning a lot since then.

To answer your question about the S. deposit: neither the previous owner nor the tenant remember exactly what happened, but sounds like the previous owner initially got one payment of 5-months' rent from tenant, and didn't ask for s.d. or something like that. The house is low end SFH; the rent for this house is $500 a month; I paid maybe $15000 for it (hard to tell because I bought this together with a bigger, better house across street from this one, and they were priced together at $40,000.

And I live half a world away. I'm thinking I should get a PM local to the property, but when I searched, there wasn't any for this zip code. Is it ok if I pay someone who is not a professional but who is capable and resourceful to manage (lease, maintain etc) for me? (up to this point, I've been managing these rentals myself--I have 4 rentals)

I searched for the LL and T laws for WV but the language is hard to understand. English is my second language, and I can understand it very well, but the legal style of writing is a bit difficult...

Hmm, the curb idea sounds pretty good. What if I gave the tenant 10 days to remove her stuff, and after 10 days, I'll have someone put all her stuff on the curb? Or put the stuff on the curb of her new place? What'd be the worst that the tenant could do? --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by James [MO]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 9:23 AM

Your state likely has a law that deals with what abandonment is in WV, and what you need to do. In my state for instance, if the tenant is more than 30 days late and I have reason to believe they have abandoned, then I can give them an abandonment notice, at the conclusion of which if they haven't responded I can then move their stuff to the curb. It has to be done with certain language and in a certain method to be legal. At the conclusion of that though, you have the property back but you don't have a judgment for any rent or damages they may owe. What you need to do is call a lawyer. I'm sure he can tell you what the WV law is for abandonment and to evict. That would be your first step, contact a lawyer.

James --75.81.xxx.xx

eviction or abandonment? (by Baltimore LL [MD]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 10:44 AM

Understand as much of the process as you can yourself. Then go hire a lawyer who knows the judges, sheriffs, and procedures you need to follow. Alternatively, if you're not in a hurry to get them out, you can try to do the court process yourself or else offer them cash for keys.

I would probably take a shot at cash for keys myself, if they are in dire straits they may be inclined to take it. --73.191.xx.xxx

eviction or abandonment? (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 12:33 PM

I suggest you hire a LL-T atty in that community, who can advise you.

One think you need to do is weigh your options. I see four options immediately: (1) Evict, (2) Declare an abandonment, (3) Cash for keys, (4) Self-help. But you need to know things to weigh these options. For example, how long will it take and how much will it cost to evict? Because that is your "baseline."

Then, what are the abandonment procedures? Can you post the property with both a Pay Or Quit and an Abandonment Notice at the same time, so both clocks start ticking together?

Unless the eviction process is slow and expensive, I would not pursue cash for keys. I'd rather pay the courts and the attorney than reward the scumbags who cheated me!

And I'd ask the attorney about the risks of simply setting everything out on the curb.

Most states, your attorney can do all the work for you, but your court should require you to appear in person to testify that the rent has not been paid. I don't know how your local court works as to personal appearances/ testimony. Your local atty should know this.

Good luck!


eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 5:21 PM

Thanks to all who replied.

Some new development to my new landlord saga: I got an email from someone local to my rentals, saying: "I just got off the phone with the magistrate and you have to send the tenant a registered letter telling her that she has 30 days to remove anything of value..."

So, this is a case of abandonment, right? --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 5:48 PM

I will look into finding a lawyer, and this town is too small to have a lawyer: it has one grocery store, a Dollar General, a Domino's Pizza, and a Diary Queen--that's all the stores it has.

There is a recent oil and gas boom in this area and that's the only business here... --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 6:19 PM

The effect of taking the tenant law into your own hands unknown is the tenant will likely sue for the replacement value of the items you tossed out plus 2 or 3 times the damage deposit and your claim will be denied - if your friend is willing to fund this escapade then let him/her do it, but going into court with clean hands is the best way to operate your business. --75.94.xxx.xxx

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 6:42 PM

OK, I won't throw her stuff on the curb then.

It looks like the best way to deal with this situation is to give her a 30 days notice for her to remove her stuff. And be patient with her.

Is this correct, everybody?

It's obvious that everyone here knows more about RE rental than I do, so kudos to all! I still have a LOT to learn from all of you... --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 9:15 PM

I had a situation where I found out that TX didn't have a definition of what "abandonment" was. We did everything super-carefully, went to the local judge, etc, although we knew the tenant had fled the state and had no intention of ever coming back to retrieve everything that couldn't get crammed into her vehicle. Then we made sure we wrote our definition of abandonment into the lease from then on. I never thought I'd have to use it again, but it just came in handy... this week. :)

Sounds like you're on the right track! --64.72.xx.xxx

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 12, 2015 10:11 PM

Yes, Deanna, I have been searching a long time but an unable to find any definition of desertion/abandonment, so maybe WV is just like TX, and never defined the term.

I go a new idea: would it be a good idea that I hire people to help her move all her stuff to her new place, which is 2 blocks away? Since her excuses is that her husband is not there (he is a truck driver, hardly ever home) and she doesn't have a pickup truck and she has back pain/problems, it makes sense that I help her move out ASAP so I can get the place rented to new tenants...

Has anyone done it this way? What do you think? --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2015 9:04 AM


Here's a quick reply:

They're gone! Go secure your property. Load up the stuff and deliver it to their new home.

The judge's reply is basic legal-talk. He MUST give a "book" answer and protect his law license. This reply MIGHT have been a "cover your rear" answer. 30 days seems awfully long.

But in this case the former residents don't give a hoot about legal.

Hire a realtor to take literally 100 photos as evidence and help you hire the cleanout and haul to their place, re-rent before you lose any more money.

Look for a realtor who handles foreclosures.

You pipes are probably frozen/cracked too.

Next time, file for eviction THE DAY you are allowed. In my state it's the day the rent is unpaid. Check for any required grace periods in WV.

These people KNOWINGLY cheated you.

File in court for the unpaid rent and costly repairs you will have.

Don't be shy.



eviction or abandonment? (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2015 7:19 PM

Redwood: You said you searched WVa law. Well, in just a couple of minutes, I found the relevant section.

37-6-6. Desertion of leased property; entry; recovery of rent, disposition of abandoned personal property; notice.

(a) If any tenant from whom rent is in arrears and unpaid abandons the leased property, the landlord or his or her agent shall post a notice in writing in a conspicuous part of the property, requiring the tenant to pay the rent within one month. If the rent is not paid within that time, the landlord shall be entitled to possession of the property, and may enter thereon, and the right of the tenant to the leased property shall end. The landlord may recover the rent owed up to the time when he or she became entitled to possession.

Read this and the rest of section 37-6-6 to see how to proceed.


eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2015 7:24 PM

Yes, Mike, I got that. And the following paragraph in that section, which requires me to give a 30-day notice for tenant to remove her stuff. See my other topic "Can you understand this?" --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 13, 2015 7:32 PM

Earlier, I had someone going in there to look, and the house is full of stuff, which may take 2 truckloads.

I'm thinking one of these 2 things to do, and can't decide which one is better:

1. give her the 30-day notice, and wait it out the 30 days;

2. Or, I hire people to move all her stuff to her new place, which is 2 blocks away, ASAP, and get the house cleaned and rent out again.

What do y'll think? --110.52.xxx.x

eviction or abandonment? (by Keith [AL]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2015 5:39 AM

You are going to be paying to move this stuff either now or later. And either to their new place e or to the dump. If they wanted it...they would have already gotten it. SO haul it to their new place. Leave it in the yard smile wave and don't lokk back. --70.193.xxx.xx

eviction or abandonment? (by redwoods [WV]) Posted on: Feb 15, 2015 7:32 AM

True, Keith, but there is more to it. If I hire people to help her move, then it'd be a much, much bigger load because of all the furniture (beds, couch, chairs, tables etc.) in addition to piles and piles of clothing.

If I wait for 30 days, and she didn't do anything, then I'd just need to have all the junk thrown away, and keep all the furniture etc. and make the house into a furnished one. I can legally do that, can't I?

At this point, I feel that she probably still wants all her stuff, but she is just not capable to move it on her own--she is very obese, and her husband is a truck driver out of state and hardly ever around, and her son is about 8 or 9. Her car is not big enough to move furniture. Plus they never seem to have enough money, so I don't think she'll pay movers. --110.52.xxx.x

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