How to Find a Former Tenant
In your time as a landlord, it is inevitable that you will need to find a tenant after they have moved out of your property. This is easy if the tenant has left you their forwarding address. If you have found your way here…that is likely not the case. What do you do when they haven’t been that considerate? There are many reasons why a tenant might abandon the property, but what can you do to get the money you are owed? None of the options listed below are immediate and at the end of it all, some of them may be more work than they are worth. That is up to you.
US Postal Service
Your local post office offers one of the more direct ways to get the former tenant’s new mailing address. You can do this by sending a letter to the tenant’s most recent address (probably your rental). By including “Address Service Requested” on the outside of the envelope, the post office will forward the letter to their current address and send you back a notice of the new address. Unfortunately, all of that work will be for naught if the tenant didn’t request mail forwarding to their new address.
Search for the tenant on Whitepages.com. If the tenant’s new address isn’t available yet, you can create an account for free and turn on the option to monitor them. You will be notified by email if any of their details change, such as an address. This is possibly the most cost-effective option and works behind the scenes for you.
If you prefer a bit more of a hands-on response. Searching for them on social media may give you some clues as to where they’ve moved. Just like doing a social media search before they move in, this can be tricky and not yield great results if they keep their accounts private, don’t have much of a social media presence, or have a common name.
Private Investigator and Debt Collection Agency
Hiring a private investigator can help you find the former tenant if they have been difficult to locate through other methods. This is likely to be expensive.
If the private investigator can locate your former tenant, you can then hire a debt collection agency to collect the funds that the tenant neglected to pay.
It is impossible to see the future. But by running a thorough tenant screening prior to signing a lease, you can find a reliable tenant and avoid situations like this. Including the consequences of abandoning the property and neglecting to pay rent.