If this does happen, it is very important that you follow the correct protocol in order to minimize your liability.
First, post a 24-hour Notice of Entry. After you have entered the property and confirmed that it is vacant, you must wait 14 days and then post a Notice of Abandonment. You must also mail this Notice of Abandonment to the tenant by using the last known address, which is often the subject property address. There is a good chance that this mail will be returned back to you as "undeliverable due to the property being vacant". It is very important that you keep this in your files.
The Notice of Abandonment lets the tenant know that they have 18 days to remove any personal belongings from the property. Chances are that the tenant will not return for the property. After 18 days, you may dispose of the property if it is worth less than $300. If it is worth more than $300, you must hold a public auction.
We like to combine the Notice of Abandonment protocol with the Security Deposit Refund form. Typically, the security deposit due ends up being negative after the cost of repairing and cleaning abandoned property. More to come on the Security Deposit Refund form.....