Eviction Process and Abandoned Homes


#1

Hi all,

I have a case of a tenant who decided to just leave his home and moved elsewhere. He mentioned that he was abandoning his home but I wanted to know what you folks have done in the past regarding a tenant that leaves the home and no longer pays rent. Do you still go through a formal eviction process?, non-renew the lease and move on? How do you officially resolve that type of situation. Also, if, instead of eviction, I simply notice of lease non-renewal, and the tenants home remains on property, does your state consider this abandoned property?

Thanks

-Peter


#2

In my Michigan parks, I go through the eviction process with the courts to establish a legal paper trail and chain of title. It only costs $160-175 for the attorney/court costs and the former owner of the abandoned trailer never shows up. So a default judgement awarding possession to me is virtually assured. With that in hand, I apply for and receive a surety bond for minimum value ($1000) at a cost of $100 (suretybonds.com). Include all the above with an application for a new mobile home title and send to secretary of state with the appropriate fee (approx $120). 6 weeks later the home is yours. At that point I either fix it up or stuff it in a couple of 40 yard dumpsters.


#3

Each state will have a different process or protocol to address this. What state is the park in ?


#4

Too bad you couldn’t have gotten him to sign a bill of sale and gave him 50. Probably would have saved some time/


#5

Maybe maybe not. Because then you find out its got 3 k of back taxes so you have to know what you are doing on the state specific process.


#6

The park is in Maine. I have tried to get in contact with the individual to have them do a bill of sale but I have no idea where they are anymore. No forwarding address was left. Also, only homes newer than 2007 in Maine have titles. These homes do not have titles.

The process in Maine after an eviction and writ of possession is pretty straight forward. I have to give notice with proof of mailing, wait 14 days for a claim, if nothing then I am free to dispose of it in 3 ways, sell it for FMV, release it back to the person after paying damages, storage, back rent, etc, or dispose of it.

I just hate having to go through the eviction process to get control of this home. I have asked the local MHA what they know of as the process, waiting to see what they say. The cost of our last eviction (uncontested) ran around $1200 with the lawyer so it wasn’t cheap. Also, I am trying to figure out, if a tenant just non-renews their lease and moves out leaving the home. There is nothing for me to evict on but they left the home.


#7

Hey Joe - thank you for your contribution to the MHU forums. My partner and I just closed on two parks in Michigan and I have a follow-up question for you: can you explain the logistics of how to handle a tenant you evicted that owns their own home? More specifically, once we receive the eviction judgment, can we change the locks on the home? What is to prevent the homeowner from continuing to come and go from the property? We have 3-4 problem tenants that own their homes (the previous owner had a long balance with them as well). We’ve filed eviction complaints and are waiting on our hearing date. Assuming they don’t pay and we are awarded possession - and assuming they leave the home on the lot and personal property in the home - what do we do all of it? Do we allow them to come back?

We never went over these real life headaches in the boot camp!
Thanks for any help and insight you can give.
Chris Cannon


#8

By all means, if you want to go to jail you may seize the home.

No you cannot claim their property without due process. This will typically mean filing for abandonment title after the proper time period has elapsed. Then you will typically have to dispose of it. In the alternative, you can prevent it from leaving until the back rent is paid, as long as you don’t beach the peace. Hope the police are on your side.

The thing preventing them from coming and going at their pleasure is your relationship with the local police, who should be enforcing the eviction and you can probably get a no trespassing order from your eviction judge, although I do not personally recall ever taking this step.


#9

The Writ of Possession being sent to an owner of a home on a lot you rent just means the clock is ticking for them to move their home and get off the lot. I would not recommend doing anything to the physical home at all, changing locks, inspecting the home, etc. until the evicted tenant has been given the time required by law to claim and take their personal property (home included). If they do not take their property in the time frame allowed it becomes abandoned and then the specific state abandonment laws come into effect.

In our park in Maine, The Sharif delivered the Writ to the tenants house (who did not answer) and on the notice gave the tenant 48 hours to remove all personal property from the premises (The park). Further, In Maine anyway, they passed a specific law regarding abandoned homes in mobile home parks to address the home. Part of that is to give notification to the previous owner/tenant as well as any lien holders on the title if any. The previous owner tenant or lien holder must claim the property in a set amount of time or it becomes “abandoned” and the park owner can then dispose of it.

In my case, that is pretty straight forward process but my real question was, what happens in cases where someone just ends their lease then moves away leaving their home on your property? You can no longer evict the person as they don’t live there and have no lease. I have not gotten a response from the MHA but I am in contact with an attorney to discuss. For what it’s worth, I will update the post when I hear more.


#10

Rules for Michigan:


#11

Heritage,

I think a misconception that you have is that a tenant can simply “end their lease” by moving away. Just because the tenant moves away and abandons their home does not mean they have legally terminated their lease. There are many instances where we evicted a tenant who moved away. There was one case where a tenant “abandoned” the unit, so we began to discard her stuff. Then, her attorney called and threatened to take action. Our attorney said it is difficult to prove exactly when an "abandonment’ occurs so we should proceed with an eviction, and we should file before her attorney files against us, so we did.

Now, anytime we think there may be legal issues, we proceed with an eviction even if the tenant is nowhere to be seen. After all, are you qualified to say your tenant didn’t take a 4 month tour of the South Pacific on his yacht, and he decided to dock it and return home only to find that you discarded his stuff including the priceless coin collection hidden under the rotten subfloor? Do you want to be held liable for that coin collection? Well, if not, the eviction gives you closure.

Regarding abandoned homes, you cannot assume that your tenant owned the home.
Tenants often informally transfer ownership, but never officially transfer the title. In the states where we work, we conduct a title search to find the lawful owner of the unit, and we send notice to them. In our latest case, a tenant who claimed to own the unit left, but when we did the title search, we found the registered owner died 12 years ago. To comply with state law, we sent a certified letter to the deceased owner at his last known address giving him 30 days to remove the home. When the deceased man did not respond or remove the home, we were allowed to begin the process to take possession. Of course, each state has different laws.