My question involves an eviction in the state of: California
Iím back again with more apartment headaches.
I own a four unit, Section 8 apartment building. It is overseen for me by a small, property management company. When an apartment is vacant, we put a special, generic lock on the doors. The property management company installs a lockbox nearby containing a key to the apartment. If a prospective tenant wants to see the apartment, the property management company obtains extensive identifying information from the individual, does some sort of a check on them and then gives them the code to the lock box. The prospective tenant then checks out the empty unit and replaces the key in the lockbox.
I recognize this doesnít sound like the wisest method to use but over several year it hasnít backfired until now.
Last month a prospective Section 8 tenant viewed the apartment, liked it and applied. She passed all of the property managementís checks with respect to credit, criminal history, previous landlord history, etc., and her paperwork was sent to Section 8 for approval. Section 8 signed off, the property management company told the tenant everything was in order and all she had to do was come in, sign the lease, pay her security deposit, pick up the keys on January 2nd and move in.
On December 29th, I went to the apartment to change the locks in anticipation of the tenant signing the lease and moving in on January 2nd. Upon arrival I discovered that the prospective tenant had accessed the property managementís lockbox, moved most of her furniture into the apartment ahead of time and was having a party inside with four other adults and her four children.
Up to this point she had yet to sign the lease or pay a security deposit so no landlord/tenant relationship had been established and she was squatting. Examination of the premises revealed she had done about $100 in damage to cabinetry during her brief presence by smashing a door beyond repair. I notified the property management company who spoke with her by phone and directed her and her companions to leave the premises immediately. They complied after about an hour, but left her furniture behind. The locks were then changed to prevent reentry.
The property management company followed up with her the next day, caught her in numerous lies and combined with the trespass and damage to the apartment, elected not to rent to her. An appointment was made for her to return to the apartment and remove her furniture but she failed to show up.
I am now stuck with a vacant apartment that I canít show or rent because it is filled with her furniture. I would like to see it removed.
I am losing $1,500 per month in rent because this personís furniture is occupying an otherwise rentable apartment. My question for the wisdom of the collective is: What are my obligations (if any) with respect to her furniture? Again, no lease was signed, no security deposit was paid and she was never a tenant. If anything, her entry was an unlawful trespass, without permission and she voluntarily departed when requested, but left her property behind and failed to show for an appointment to remove it. Must I put it in storage? Can I treat it as abandoned? What is the cut off or tipping point at which I have no further obligation as to her property and can simply dispose of it?
The property management company has never been faced with a situation like this and is unsure of what my remedy might be.