Leftover Possessions Question for NC folks (long) - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 26, 2006 at 06:45:16:

Thanks for the good advice, Tony, even if I didn’t follow it! Once Susie Q told the police officer she had moved out 2 weeks previously, I felt I was on good grounds to deliver her stuff to her. If she had claimed to still be in residence I’d have had to go to court, though I’d have forgotten the $$$ & gone for a summary ejectment because it is so fast. My mhp rules are so tight that I always have grounds (if nothing else, the tenants can’t resist cursing me, which is a violation). The magistrate has told me she “loves” my rules.

Susie Q was so openly, publicly, & loudly defiant that for the sake of the other tenants I couldn’t allow the situation to continue. Not only were they complaining right & left about her (one even called child protective services), but I had to appear to take control as an example. This isn’t a natural thing for me–my style is more “creative nurturing” a la Jane Goodall’s chimps.

Glad the crisis is over, & I can now look forward to the next one–yes, there’s always one waiting to happen. Hopefully, the next one w/belong to someone else/ Thks, guys!


Leftover Possessions Question for NC folks (long) - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 24, 2006 at 21:16:24:

I have a dreadful tenant situation (involving everything from protective services to lice to maggots) that is not quite resolved. The children are safe now in the custody of their grandmother, & the boyfriend has decamped to Minnesota, but I am left w/a damaged MH & the girlfriend’s belongings. She moved in w/a guy next door (not my property) 2 weeks ago, but her belongings remain. I have enlisted the help of her mother (a co-signer), who has been cooperative & provided me w/a long list of her DD’s mental diagnoses. Rent was up 3 days ago, but I can’t get the former tenant to move her stuff. Her mom moved all the belongings into one bedroom & cleaned for 3 hours (barely made a dent). There is still feces on the floor & it w/take several days of work to restore the premises.

I have a long list of prospective tenants, but don’t want to clean or make repairs until unit is cleared. Need to change locks, but am concerned about doing that prior to removal of possessions. I fear what might be growing underneath the piles (food was left out for over a week & the flies were unbelievable). The girl called the police today because I carried some boxes over to her new place. I’ve checked both the archives & the NC landlord statutes & cannot find anything applicable to this situation since the tenant has been gone so long & the rental period has expired. It wasn’t an eviction. I had given 30 days notice, but she moved before the rent was up.

Does anyone have knowledge or advice on getting out the junk?


Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on June 25, 2006 at 14:31:32:

Hi Tye,

Sorry to hear of your painful predicament.

From a quick reading it seems that:
-she left and left her stuff behind
-she’s close enough that she’s watching over the place
-she’s got mental problems, and owes you money (since her stuff is still in there)

  1. I’d get a restraining order against her

and 2) I’d hire a clean-up crew ASAP (I don’t suggest doing it yourself) to box and remove her “property” to a mini-storage place for one month- or haul it to her new driveway and leave it there (taking it to mini-storage where you pay for one month and then she can either take over payments, move it out or lose it is preferable since it reduces the risk of direct confrontation). And then have them clean it out.

I don’t know how long a restraining order takes, but it might be handy to have it in case she tries to harass anyone who moves in after you get it cleaned out.

Don’t involve the mother any further, she can’t help and it really isn’t her issue any more. Having the mother there might actually inflame the situation if the tenant is right next door.

Let me repeat, have professionals do the cleaning- they have the skills and the materials needed to do the job properly- it will be worth whatever it costs. Try a company that specializes in post-fire clean-up, they will also have experience in dead body removal, maggots, etc.

good luck,


PS- is this the MH you just moved in to your park?

??? - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on June 25, 2006 at 11:10:38:

she moved out - tenancy is terminated, aloha, hasta la vista, bye bye?

Surely there’s an abandoned property statute that gives a procedure and a time limit . . .

a google search of NC L/T law turns this up:

NC General Statute 42-25.9(e) states -

“(e) For purposes of subsection (d), personal property shall be deemed abandoned if the landlord
finds evidence that clearly shows the premises has been voluntarily vacated after the paid rental
period has expired and the landlord has no notice of a disability that caused the vacancy. A
presumption of abandonment shall arise 10 or more days after the landlord has posted
conspicuously a notice of suspected abandonment both inside and outside the premises and has
received no response from the tenant.”

and subsection (d) states -

“(d) If any tenant abandons personal property of five hundred dollar ($500.00) value or less in the
demised premises, or fails to remove such property at the time of execution of a writ of
possession in an action for summary ejectment, the landlord may, as an alternative to the
procedures provided in G.S. 42-25.9(g), 42-25.9(h), or 42-36.2, deliver the property into the
custody of a nonprofit organization regularly providing free or at a nominal price clothing and
household furnishings to people in need, upon that organization agreeing to identify and
separately store the property for 30 days and to release the property to the tenant at no charge
within the 30-day period. A landlord electing to use this procedure shall immediately post at the
demised premises a notice containing the name and address of the property recipient, post the
same notice for 30 days or more at the place where rent is received, and send the same notice by
first-class mail to the tenant at the tenant’s last known address. Provided, however, that the notice
shall not include a description of the property.”

Seems to me (But I’m no lawyer) that if you post conspicuously a notice of suspected abandonment both inside and outside the premises for 10 days (5 days if value is less than $100, by subsection (h)), move the crap somewhere for storage purposes (by subsection (g)), then after the ten days, you can dump it.

A lot of the ambiguity seems to stem from the situation of an evicted tenant, but you said she moved - voluntarily? If so, it seems clear - to me, but I’m a black & white kinda guy, and you yourself stated that your emotions were in play here, because of the involvement of children . . .

geez, I never put this much thought and research into a response - my head hurts . . .

Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by john

Posted by john on June 24, 2006 at 22:06:21:

Silly thought, but how about you buy mom lunch and provide her with a comfortable lawn chair while she supervises you putting the daughters stuff in the new driveway, I would sure be inclined to it this way, But I am a newbie.

Re: ??? - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 25, 2006 at 21:24:34:

Steve, I’d read the same statute & though it doesn’t exactly apply to my situation, it seemed to me that since she had moved already that I could deliver her junk & be done w/it. Couldn’t see how I would be liable unless I dropped something, & didn’t think it should be necessary for me to post abandonment notices if the former tenant was cohabiting right next door.

Some (many) times things don’t fit neatly into boxes & this was one messy situation. I thank all who have provided information & sympathy, & it is w/a glad heart that I am able to report that all is well (yes, for the moment). I slept on the situation & then had a brainstorm this morning. Former tenant (I’ll call her Susie Q) had formed a quasi-friendship w/one of my regular tenants, who had recently offered herself for cleaning hire. I knew from my recent experience I couldn’t browbeat Susie Q into doing anything because she resents authority. I did yet another inspection this morning to discover that the situation had not changed overnight, so I enlisted the aid of my current tenant, who is much closer in age to Susie Q. I told her I didn’t care how she did it–by herself or by convincing Susie Q to do it–but IF she somehow got the unit emptied AND clean enough to show by late this afternoon, I’d buy her one year-old DD $25 worth of clothes & I’d give her a $25 Wal-Mart gift card for herself.

Six hours later I returned & it was like someone had waved a magic wand. The place is totally emptied, the feces is gone, the toilets are sparkling, the fridge & stove are clean, & the whole place smells good. As soon as Rocket Man repairs the holes in the walls I can show & rent it. Turns out my tenant told Susie Q she was going to bring over her stuff herself if she didn’t do it, & the girl was afraid the tenant was going to pilfer, so she helped & the two of them got everything moved together. Then my tenant did a whiz-bang cleaning job. I was impressed, & glad I had overspent my budget on baby clothes ($48 for $100 of outfits on sale). I delivered the clothes, the gift card, & my heatrfelt thanks on my way home. Not only do I have an almost-ready to rent unit, but I think my current tenant is happy, too.

The replies I rec’d from this forum really helped because they showed me I needed to approach the problem from a different angle. Yes, it could have backfired, but it did work, & I think next time I have a tenant problem I’m going to try to think of several different approaches before deciding how to handle it. Thanks, guys, I’m going to sleep a lot better tonight than least night!


addendum - Posted by swwa

Posted by swwa on June 25, 2006 at 15:27:15:

I agree with Anne’s recommendation of the restraining order - probably a “no-contact” order since no threat has been issued.

Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 24, 2006 at 22:48:19:

No, not a silly thought. I’ve had the mom there twice. However, the DD screamed & called me names in front of her, telling me her things had been given to her by “dead people” & that I wasn’t to touch them. Mom is cooperative, & has told me to “do whatever you have to that is legal,” & advised me to follow her example of “tough love.” The poor woman has her hands full w/a 5 month old & a tiny tot. She has asked me to give testimony if necessary against her DD if she has trouble getting permanent custody of the babies. Protective services had put the girls in day care, but now the grandmother has temporary voluntary custody. It’s a long distance for the mom to come & she has to get a sitter. The older child (under 2) suffers from separation anxiety. I don’t think I can reasonably ask her to come a 3rd time. Mom gave me a washing machine “for your troubles.”

This is a temporary glitch in my life as a landlord. For this family, though, it is a way of life perpetuated through the generations. Tenant was an abused child fostered, then adopted w/her sister. The scars are apparent, & the mom is desparate to keep the damage from affecting the next generation. Members of my family have worked for a long time w/the kids of our county & there are major problems passed through the generations. It is painful to see the wee ones destined to repeat certain patterns, knowing as we do now that many behaviors cannot be corrected later.
Thanks for your suggestion. Actually that was what I was trying to do today. This girl is so out of control, behaving bizzarely, that I’ve given her a Notice of Trespass so that she is only allowed on the property when moving or cleaning (neither of which she’ll probably do). Definitely don’t want her continuing her ruckus in my MHP.

This is how landlords get burned out but I’m well into my 3rd generation of offspring so has endured worse than a tenant can do to me. Cats now have more power over me Got one right now telling me it is time to go to bed. He’s usually right–


Re: addendum - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 25, 2006 at 19:06:09:

Susie Q has already been served w/a Notice of Trespass, & I think she believed me when I told her I’d have the police on her if she violated it. Although I showed it to the officer called yesterday (w/whom I was already on a 1st name & box-of-chocolates basis) I am delivering a copy to the Sheriff’s Dept tomorrow for their files (along w/another goodie box for the dear Officer) in case there is any future incident.

It turns me inside out to have to be so heavy-handed w/someone w/obvious challenges, but I think tough actions are often imperative to maintain relative peace in a mhp in this area. I’ve been contemplating a shark dive on my next trip to Florida, but now think that might not be necessary. May this be a quiet week for everyone here!


Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by john

Posted by john on June 25, 2006 at 07:07:08:

I have yet to endure such behavour from any of my tenents, but how about a gift certificate to the local buffet for the daughters whole family ( say $10 per head) presented with a carefully worded statement of thanks for the years of being a good tenent with a touch of advance appreciation for assisting you any way she can in the removal the rest of her stuff accompanied with a typed letter ( saying the same) that she can read repeadedly to friends , neighbors, family and self, maybe something would sink in during the course of the next few days to come.

Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by Tarheel T

Posted by Tarheel T on June 25, 2006 at 06:21:15:


In this case where the former tenant is uncooperative and somewhat hostile i would definitely bite the bullet and go all the way through the court. This should not take more than 30 days and maybe $100 and at the end you will know that you have performed a good CYA.

Have you received advice from an attorney experienced in NC landlord tenant law?


notice of trespass? - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on June 25, 2006 at 19:27:57:

didnt see that anywhere in the statutes I was reviewing

so you’re delivering a copy of the NOT to the cops - how is that helping you clean out the unit and get it re-rented/LO’d/sold?

I took the flavor of your original post to be one of “what do I do?”

I think the NC GS says what to do - and notice of trespass isnt in there

just curious how this means gets to the end you desire

Re: Leftover Possessions - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 25, 2006 at 08:28:41:

This girl & boyfriend managed to do all the damage during a 6 week tenancy. She has no transportation & it is a 40 mile trip for her mom to come here. Your suggestion might work w/someone operating somewhere near normal, but this girl could probably only function in a highly structured setting, & @ the ripe old age of 20 has been in lockdown several times. I have even bribed tenants in the past, & I reward wherever possible, but I’ve known 2 year-olds functioning @ a more rational level. It isn’t necessary a matter of IQ (though probably in the high double digits). There are several diagnoses, but the plain fact of the matter that being raped the 1st 6 years of life leaves indelible scars no amount of loving care can ever totally resolve. The rage remains, & we are all targets, especially those who care enough to stick around. I have an immediate financial & safety problem, but this is long-term society problem, I know there are now a minimum of 3 generations in this family burdening our beleagured social services system. You can probably tell I am more than just ticked about my temporary personal inconvenience!


Re: Leftover Possessions (Tony?) - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 25, 2006 at 08:11:25:

TT wrote: "In this case where the former tenant is uncooperative and somewhat hostile i would definitely bite the bullet and go all the way through the court. This should not take more than 30 days and maybe $100 and at the end you will know that you have performed a good CYA. "

Actually, I have grounds for summary ejectment in NC, which is a much faster process. However, that us used for getting out tenant, & my tenant is gone. I’m not willing to let maggots eat through my carpet for another 15-30 days while going to court when the law itself is not clear on this. The former tenant has ADD on top of lotsa other mental problems & a court victory still would not get her to move her stuff.
I definitely believe in CYA, but I’m not going to give up a month’s rent ($475) while critters grow unchecked inside my MH. According to my reading of the law, I don’t have to do that in a situation where the tenant is long gone, but right next door. I have good (chocolate & home-made brownies) relations w/not only all the deputies up to the chief, but w/the Health Dept. I’ll visit them if necessary & get an order to clean.

TT wrote: “Have you received advice from an attorney experienced in NC landlord tenant law?”

I have the relevant statute, my legal landlord book & 26 years experience. Yes, I have to call my attny Monday, but he is not proficient in this type of situation (nor is anyone in this small good-ol’ boy part of the world). If I have learned anything in life, it is that you can’t win against crazy. Logic & law don’t work. You either turn tail or do what is necessary, within the law, to get the individual out of your life. I’ve served all the right papers, & in fact, the former tenant admitted to the police that she has been gone 2 weeks. I think (glove-covered) hand delivery is the primary option @ this point, though since I’ve got more than 40 years on the girl I wish I could get her to do the totin’.
Tony, is there another option?


Re: notice of trespass? - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on June 25, 2006 at 20:57:04:

Steve, I evidently failed to make the final hit on the “return” key when answering you initial response, so it didn’t get posted. Luckily, I was able to retrieve my msg, so you should have it now. If it isn’t self-explanatory, LMK.

Yes, I did need advice, & everyone’s input did help me w/a resolution. The Trespass Notice was just to help prevent future problems, For now, tonight @ least, I’m very cool. My thanks to you & the others who provided input. I think mh investors who aren’t on this Forum must have very lonely & difficult jobs–


Re: Leftover Possessions (Tony?) - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on June 25, 2006 at 23:53:14:

I cannot of course give a legal opinion and the courts seem to vary by county, even within NC.

Even reading the Landlord Rights and Responsibility book (no longer in print) the authors/lawyers stated this was a grey area.

My magistrate has stated if the tenant gives you the keys, its your home.

If not I look for obvious signs of abandonment, things like what you mentioned (photos are a great help here), the fact that the power is off to the home etc.

If I suspect this tenant is going to put up a fight I go to court and jump through all the hoops. I will lose a months rent but honestly, its cheaper than a law suit. Free legal services (whom your deadbeat would likely call) have little standing if I got the legal eviction and have in the past told the client they have no case and they will not represent them.

I then go by the 10 day rule. I still clean up food items, trash etc. but store the property for 10 days and try and get a hold of the tenant during that time. After that I make a judgment call and either haul to a shed and store or trash it.

Again, don’t take my word. This is an area in which we each have to weigh our own risks.