Help me help my landlord client

11 Replies

The tenants have moved out, but they have left a lot of stuff behind. The husband keeps procrastinating getting his stuff, and there's just a bunch of junk, but like there's a truck and a motorcycle left behind? I've researched but I can find anything about what you do with their stuff when they won't get it. The landlord told him that his stuff would be on the curb if he didn't come get it but that was last weekend. Any advice for my landlord?

you need advice from a lawyer of the state the property is in. Some states allow you to sell the items after a certain amount of days and certain number attempts have been made to return the items. It is all state dependent. you can probably look for real state law for you state online.

It is state dependent in California you must keep the property in storage for a certain period of time and then you can sell it and I believe proceeds minus storage costs are returned to the tenant.

Your state landlord tenant regulations (on line) will have th einformation required.

In Missouri. I did check the landlord tenant laws online and found nothing in regards to this situation. 

Thank you for all the quick responses :)

In Alabama, the way to CYA is hire a professional moving and storage company.  They will move and tag and store it all.  If landlord moves it, the tenant will show up with a lawyer and ask what you did with the millions of dollars worth of diamonds and gold they were storing in the house.  And, also, be sure to kick the back door in so you can say "someone broke in and stole your millions".

You should have your client contact an attorney for more specific information, because there are a lot of factors to consider.

But in general in California, if the tenant has 1) completely moved out, and 2) has had their lease legally terminated by eviction or vacating upon proper notice... THEN yes you may take the property out of the rental unit.

However, as @Aaron K. correctly mentioned, in CA the landlord must store the property somewhere secure.  The landlord should not sell or dispose of the tenant's property or they risk getting sued by the tenant. The landlord must notify the tenant with notice that describes the abandoned property and tells them where it is being stored and how to get it back.  If they do, you must give it back to them but you can charge them for the storage costs.  If they don't get their stuff, only then may you dispose of the property, in CA anyway.

As you can see, the state laws pertaining to tenant's abandoned property are complex, at least in tenant-friendly CA.  Give your client a referral to a good RE attorney.

In Missouri, you may dispose of a tenant’s abandoned belongings -- by selling them, giving them away, or simply tossing them out -- after these four requirements are met:

  1. You reasonably believe that the tenant has vacated the premises and doesn’t intend to come back. If the tenant has disappeared without notice, take care to document the reasons you believe they won’t return. For example, did the tenant have the utilities shut off? Did they talk to neighbors about their plans? If you later have a dispute with the tenant about whether they abandoned the rental unit, you’ll want to be able to prove your case.
  2. The tenant hasn’t paid rent for at least 30 days.
  3. You post and mail a notice to the tenant, as described below, giving the tenant ten days to state that they haven’t abandoned the property.
  4. The tenant doesn’t pay rent or respond in writing within the ten-day period.

(See Missouri Revised Statutes § 441.065.)

@Lindsey Clifton I think @Jill F. advice is spot on. Also, I think it's best to send a notification to the tenant to inform them of your action and give a deadline. 

That way, if they litigate you have that notification as proof in court. 

Hope this helps, Lindsay. Thanks! - Ola  

As others have said, it is best to contact a local attorney to get the info the landlord needs. I know in CT where I live the laws are very specific about how to handle a vacated tenants belongings.

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