Eviction derailed when tenant goes missing

DEAR BOB: I gave my tenant the required notice to move,confirmed with a receipt of notice. She agreed to move out. But the unit is nowlocked, no one is there, and her car is parked in the driveway. I phonedseveral times, but no reply. What options do I have? I already hired acontractor to update the unit, based on the tenant’s promise to move out on schedule–Paras R.

DEAR PARAS: Please consult a local real estate attorneywhose specialty is evictions. I’m sure you have thought of the severalpossibilities such as the tenant moved out but left the car; abandoned theapartment and the car; passed away either in the apartment or elsewhere; is inthe hospital or jail; is avoiding you because she refuses to move out; or wantsto drag out the eviction procedure to obtain as much “free rent” fromyou as possible.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

All these situations have happened to me with my rentals.Ask the neighbors if they have seen your tenant or any activity at the rental.Then contact the local police to learn if they have any record of activity atthe property or if they can trace your missing tenant. After that, follow yourattorney’s advice to regain possession of your rental unit.

NO STEPPED-UP BASIS FOR GIFT PROPERTY

DEAR BOB: Several years ago, my mother gifted her house tome because she was moving into her new husband’s home in Florida. Now I want tosell that house. But my tax adviser says I am stuck with my mother’s very lowcost basis of only $23,000 whereas the house is worth around $375,000 today. Atthe time of the gift the house was worth about $225,000. Will I have to pay taxon all that capital gain? –Alan P.

DEAR ALAN: Unless the property is your principal residenceand you have owned and occupied it at least 24 of the 60 months before its saleso you can qualify for the $250,000 tax exemption of Internal Revenue Code 121(up to $500,000 for a qualified married couple filing jointly), your capitalgain will be taxable.

But the good news is the federal capital gain tax rate iscurrently only 15 percent. Your tax adviser is correct. The general rule forgifts is the donee takes over the donor’s basis for a property.

HOW TO TRANSFER TITLE TO PROPERTY

DEAR BOB: Last year my husband bought a house in his name onthe title and mortgage. But I help him pay the mortgage payments and propertytaxes. What is the best way for him to transfer to my name 5 percent of theproperty? How much will it cost? My husband paid a 20 percent cash down payment–Patricia S.

DEAR PATRICIA: If you will only be receiving a 5 percentinterest in the property, that means you will probably want to hold title as atenant in common with your husband who will retain a 95 percent interest. Eachof you needs valid written wills to pass your interests upon the death ofeither of you to whomever you each designate.

Your husband can convey a 5 percent interest in the house toyou by a recorded quitclaim deed. The deed should include a legal descriptionof the property, the percent interest transferred to you, the official parcelnumber, the method of holding title, and his notarized signature so the deedcan be recorded. Please consult a local real estate attorney for full details.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Probate PropertyProfit Secrets Revealed,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instantInternet delivery at www.BobBruss.com.Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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