What to do with tenant's stuff??

10 Replies

My tenant gave 30 days notice to be out of the apartment by 4/30/15.  He hadn't been living in the apt full time for at least the last 4 months because he has been working out of town (which is the reason why he gave his 30 days notice).  With that said, he continues to be working out of town, but when I inspected the apt 3 days ago, ALL of his stuff is still there, but he hasn't been seen there for weeks by the downstairs tenant.  My last contact with my tenant was 2 weeks ago by text message saying that he would be out by 4/30/15. He has not responded to any recent calls or text messages.

Any ideas on what I can do??  I was going to file with the court for an eviction, but he has already agreed to be out by 4/30/15, but he just hasn't physically taken his stuff out.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.


i am not sure of the laws in pennsylvania, but here in new york, you have to store their stuff for up to a year. technically, he has not moved out and you really should be charging him rent, however, not responding to your calls and texts, it sounds like you would never get any rent from him anyway. my advice is to check with your local authorities on what to do with his stuff. there may be no laws requiring you to do anything with the stuff and you could put it to the curb and put a free sign on all of it. check with a local real estate attorney first. 

You have not yet regained possession of your property, so don't go in there or do anything with his stuff at this point. He has not abandoned the property if significant personal items still remain. Each jurisdiction has their own laws on what you must do.

To regain possession, you must first serve a legal notice. He now owes you rent for the days in May, so serve him a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit (or the equivalent for your jurisdiction). If he doesn't respond, file for unlawful detainer (or the equivalent for your jurisdiction). You need to evict him (remove him by legal process) and then you can regain possession of your property and deal with his stuff.  Follow what the landlord-tenant law dictates for your jurisdiction.

Did you try to reach him through other people? Emergency Contact person (did you get a name and phone number for one on the application or when he moved in?) or a Personal Reference person (as noted on his rental application) or an Employer (also noted on his rental application) or anyone else who may be able to relay a message to him? If you can track him down (try every means you can) and resolve this out of court, it will be best for all parties involved.

I know that in ga if the value of the stuff is more than 500, you have to file for eviction and hire professional to move the stuff out. You can deduct the cost and the time it takes from the security deposit

Do you have a signed document stating the tenant's intent to vacate?  Check your local laws. You may have to move his things to a storage unit or to the local municipality.  You can't just throw their stuff to the curb.

Here if a tenant has given notice (in writing of some form, even a text) and has failed to pay rent beyond the effective date of the notice and you have a witness or witnesses on the property stating they haven't been around, you can declare the tenancy and the property abandoned.  

I just did one of these last month.  I posted an abandoned tenancy and abandoned property declaration.  On the declaration, it is written how and where they can retrieve their stuff.  In my case, through their emergency contact, a relative came and picked it all up. If you're not so lucky, get them notice of intent to sell in 30 days or whatever your local laws are.  Don't put on the curb. Must store in a reasonably secure place for an amount of time. I would consult an atty in my area about abandoned tenancy/property.  Also check your state landlord/tenant law online.  Good luck and keep us posted @Mark Nimchuk !

All I have is a text message with his intent to vacate.

Thanks for the ideas, unfortunately this is a tenant I inheirited from a recent purchase and no emergency contact on file.

Appreciate the input.

@Mark Nimchuk no offense to any commentors anove but you need atate-specific eviction advice. Disregard any comments from outside of your state. If you aren't versed in landlord/tenant law for your state you should consult an attorney. You should also consider the fact that there could be specific city or county regs/laws that you need to adhere to. Best of luck. 

One way to find him is google skip tracer. There are 2 companies that offer this service. Cost is small but you get an answer right away.

Interesting topic I had something similar happen to me, luckily for my previous tenants they showed up at the same time the movers I hired did. Everyone posted good advice, I would recommend contacting a local real estate attorney in your state for more information.Typically each state has laws/provisions on the books in regards what constitutes "abandonment of the property and or there belongings". Some states also have laws just on abandonment of property and set fourth specific guidelines and regulations on what you can do as a landlord with a tenants property. I am sure you can find a real estate attorney that could help you out with a free consultation.  Best of Luck

A tip some people have given is post any notice on the door and take a picture of it.  It will depend on your state law what you post and how you proceed. 

You can enter with normal notice to do repairs but you can't remove his property. If you are sure he is gone and there are items you want to do for turnover I would check the laws of the state and see if you could get them accomplished by giving a normal notice to enter.

I would also take pictures of things in place before you store the stuff and pictures of any damages. 

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