If a tenant moves out without notice, the landlord has the right to lock the property and rent it to someone else, according to Jenna Marie for SFGate. The landlord is then allowed to file a complaint in the court system to recover any unpaid rent and damages in excess of the deposit.
The landlord must confirm the tenant has abandoned the property before securing it and renting it to another party, explains Marie. A written notice of unpaid rent, checking utility accounts to see if they are no longer active, contacting the post office about a change of address and asking neighbors if they saw the tenants recently leave all constitute due diligence.
Once the landlord has reasonable evidence, he can make a written notification to the tenants and post it on the property, notes Marie. Then, he is entitled to change the locks and take other steps to secure the residence. After that, he is allowed to begin the process of preparing the dwelling for another tenant and listing it as a property available for rent. If the unpaid rent and any damage costs exceed the balance of the deposit, the landlord is entitled to pursue that money through the legal system.