Tenant has been in jail since 10/30/19 and did not pay rent for month of November, and will miss December, since his next court date is 1/8/20. He is a child sex offender that didn't report his address and the local authorities tracked him down and he was arrested. He did not disclose that to me when he moved in and I made the mistake of not doing a background check. Even if he paid, which he didn't, I can no longer have him live in my house because of his criminal history. I'm losing important income every month that passes and I have lot of interested inquiries for the room. I've researched "abandonment" but don't know how this works or if I can legally just move his items out and begin renting to a new tenant.
Did your tenant give you the keys to the leased property? If not, he is legally still in possession and I would recommend a summary process (eviction) action. I represented the tenant in a similar case and successfully sued the landlord for wrongful entry because he gave his keys to his criminal defense attorney.
However, you should immediately consult with a landlord/tenant attorney about the specific facts of your case because the answer provided here is for your informational, educational and/or guidance purposes only and is based entirely on the facts that you have provided. This answer would be different if different facts exist.
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Best contact a landlord/tenant lawyer and I believe they will tell you you can do that as long as the past tenant knows what you did with their property and it is in safekeeping..I would have them confirm that they did receive your letter at the institution they are housed in..
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