Landlords often get left with a lot of abandoned property when a tenant moves out. Dealing with this abandoned property is frustrating on several levels. There can be some legal issues if you simply toss it, but you also have to worry about paying to store this extra property. Should you or should you not keep tenant’s abandoned property? What are your rights as a landlord, and what should you do with the abandoned property?
Tenant vacating is a time consuming process, and its often costly for landlords. Landlords need to do a move-out inspection, and that can reveal a number of issues with the property. Tenants can leave behind a mess as they damage the property, or they end up being messy and do not clean up after themselves when they move. Landlords typically dread having to clean units when tenants move out. Not only is there a lot of cleaning, there tends to be a lot of repair.
What is Considered Tenant Property?
Tenant property is considered anything that is deemed personal possessions and belongings. Anything a tenant owns and keeps in the unit is considered their property. Clothing, furniture, and electronics are some of the common items that get left behind by tenants. There are certain procedures a landlord does need to follow in order to avoid tenant liability claims following them moving out and learning they do not have their personal property.
Determine Why The Tenant Moved
When someone moves out, there must be a reason for the move out. Tenant property left behind at the end of a lease is different from a tenant that was evicted. Landlords should try and obtain written confirmation that a tenant is not returning to the residence and will not be claiming any property they leave behind.
Handling Abandoned Property
Landlords need to wait before disposing of the abandoned property, you need to follow the right procedure to reduce the risk of liability. Landlords need to store the tenants property and make sure it is not damaged for a specific amount of time. Follow these steps with tenant property:
-Make an itemized list of tenant property. The list needs to include everything the tenant left. Take pictures and videos of the property when you enter it following the tenants vacating the property.
-Use a storage unit to safely store the property. Storage unit costs can be given to the renter when they do finally decide to pick up their property.
-Send a written notice to the tenant to let them know where they can claim ownership of their property. The letter you send needs to be certified mail and includes a return receipt.
-The timeline to pick up the property can be 45 days or less, based on the value of the items left behind.
-Provide information as to what will happen to the property if the tenant fails to claim it and pay the storage fees.
What Happens to Tenant Property?
What happens when the tenant fails to claim the property? If the tenant doesn’t collect it, you can sell the property. The landlord can keep the money from the sale to pay for the storage unit costs along with the costs for the notices to the tenant about the abandoned property. The rest of the balance needs to be forwarded to the tenant, or needs to be paid to the county.
Draft a smart lease that includes information about abandoned property. Keyrenter Property Management Tulsa, OK, provides effective services for landlords dealing with similar situations. Our experts can help you create a lease that addresses abandoned property, allowing you to get rid of it in a timely manner instead of keeping it for months.