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Texas lien process v. abandonment

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  • Texas lien process v. abandonment

    I have a tenant that (besides being a huge pain in the a$$) has been late on rent every month. She’s always paid before lockout day, but never without a lot of lying and moaning.

    This month she was late past my lockout date, and this morning when I went to cut off her lock and take photos for auction, I found that she’d moved the bulk of her things out over the past couple of weeks. Her lock was still on the unit, but all that is left is a few small household items (not trash).

    My TSSA lease says that I can send her a Notice of Abandonment if she’s late on rent and items left in her unit are "not of value to the ordinary person.”

    So, my choices are:

    1) Continue lien/auction process and tie up the unit for another month to maybe make $10-15 at auction.

    2) Send her a Notice of Abandonment, and if she doesn’t reply, then haul the stuff to the dump in about 10 days, then re-rent the unit.

    She's not replying to any notices, and obviously I’m leaning toward #2, but here’s my question: what constitutes “value to the ordinary person?”

    Is that a judgement call that I can make without fear of a lawsuit?

  • #2
    That is a judgement call on your part. I always go through the lien process just to be safe.

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    • #3
      I am with Bighank on this.

      In my experience it is always best to err on the side of caution and follow the lien procedure.

      Have you tried this......I will send to a tenant like this the following email, SMS (text message) and a voice mail...........

      This is Penny from the storage. Please be aware that this is where we are.(and fill in here the current date) Your rent is X amount of days late. I have now cut your lock and started the lien process. On X day your account will get the X $ amount for lien. Pics will be taken, your unit will be sold at public auction. Along with your name will be published in the local newspaper and any unpaid storage rent will be sent to the collection department and will negatively affect your credit.
      Please call the office or reply to this email/SMS/VM and state your intentions. Do you intend to pay your storage and retain your belongings OR do you wish to proceed with the auction?

      Good luck and keep us posted with updates and your final decision.
      Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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      • #4
        TSSA states in order for it to be considered abandoned it must have all three things: 1) the tenant must have given
        you written or oral move out notice; 2) the tenant’s lock must have been removed from the space (if the space is
        lockable) by someone other than the lessor; and 3) the move out date or termination date must have expired.
        OR in a second situation, it must include the first 2 items and the space contains nothing of value.
        She left her lock on.
        As far as the value of the property, we usually say anything worth less than $50 if it were to sell, we can't trash. If it's truly trash items that you couldn't resell, I'd consider it of no value. Since she left her lock on though, I'd go through the lien process just to be safe...especially since you know she's sketchy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by AngelaESSTX View Post
          TSSA states in order for it to be considered abandoned it must have all three things: 1) the tenant must have given
          you written or oral move out notice; 2) the tenant’s lock must have been removed from the space (if the space is
          lockable) by someone other than the lessor; and 3) the move out date or termination date must have expired.
          OR in a second situation, it must include the first 2 items and the space contains nothing of value.
          She left her lock on.
          As far as the value of the property, we usually say anything worth less than $50 if it were to sell, we can't trash. If it's truly trash items that you couldn't resell, I'd consider it of no value. Since she left her lock on though, I'd go through the lien process just to be safe...especially since you know she's sketchy.
          Thanks, Angela, but here is the actual wording from the TSSA lease:

          26. ABANDONMENT. Tenant has “abandoned” the storage space if ALL of the following occur: (a) Tenant has given Lessor written or oral move-out notice; (b) Tenant’s lock has been removed from the space (if the space is lockable) by someone other than Lessor; and (c) the move-out date or termination date has expired. Tenant also has “abandoned” the storage space if ALL of the following occur: (a) Tenant has not paid rent or other sums due; (b) Tenant’s lock has been removed (if the space is lockable) by someone other than Lessor or has been removed by Lessor when exercising a statutory seizure; and (c) Tenant’s space contains nothing of value to the ordinary person. The space will also be deemed abandoned if due to a casualty the unit contains nothing of value to the ordinary person, and you fail to remove all items from the space within 10 days after we provide you a notice of abandonment due to casualty.

          In this case, the red text applies and her unit qualifies as abandoned.

          I'm going to give a call to TSSA and dig a little deeper, as they've left us with an unfortunate judgement call on asigning value to contents.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RHS_TX View Post

            I'm going to give a call to TSSA and dig a little deeper, as they've left us with an unfortunate judgement call on asigning value to contents.
            I would never assign value to contents. They could come back with..."But Grandma's priceless diamond ring was at the bottom of that box where you couldn't see it." And who needs the court hassle?

            I'll take 2 months and a clean auction for $15 any day!
            MamaDuke

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