Property Management Tips – What to Do When a Tenant Goes to Jail

Hands of the prisoner in jail

During the years that you own rental property it’s entirely possible that you may have one or more tenants who end up going to jail.

The big question is what do you do when a tenant goes to jail? Do you know evict them? Not evict them? Store their belongings until they return, or a combination of the above?

We know that this is quite possibly one in the most contentious property management issues that owners face that’s why in this article we will offer you several tips that you can use to protect your best interests in case one of your tenants ends up going to jail

Law concept photo - gavel and handcuffs

Confirm That Your Tenant Is Currently in Jail

Although their spouse, friend, or family member may have told you that they are currently in jail, the first thing that you need to do if you find out that your tenant has been incarcerated is to confirm that in fact, they are currently in jail.

You can do this by searching mugshots for your County Jail online or if you cannot locate a mugshot for your tenant the next step that you should follow is to contact one of your tenant’s emergency contacts to confirm the status of your tenant.

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How Long Will They Be in Jail?

After Confirming that your tenant it is in fact in jail, the next thing that you need to do is to confirm how long they are actually going to be there.

Will they be in jail for 30 days or longer? If so, you should visit them in person or speak with their emergency contact to confirm if they plan on coming back to your rental unit or not.

If your tenant is going to be in jail for longer than 30 days, and they cannot afford to continue paying rent, you should have a notary public visit them to have them sign a document which states that they will be vacating the unit.

Let’s say that your tenant intends to vacate the premises but they are unable to collect their belongings. One solution to this problem is to offer to store their belongings for them but before doing this you should require the tenant to sign a “hold harmless” clause which will relieve you of liability should any of the tenant’s items be lost or stolen while they are incarcerated.

Learn More

For more Property Management tips, or to speak with us about our Property Management Services, contact us today by calling (866) 545-5303 or click here to connect with us online.

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