The Tenant is Gone but the Stuff Remains

Almost every property manager or landlord has run across discarded possessions after a tenant has moved. Quite often these possessions are obviously just garbage that the tenant didn’t feel like taking out to the trash. Sometimes these are “upgrades” they have made to the unit (like a microwave) that they intended to leave behind for the next tenants. And other times the stuff left behind is obviously valuable and may or may not have been left behind intentionally.

If what remains is of any value you cannot convert ownership to yourself or a friend and you cannot throw it away. Legally you are required to follow some steps in regard to the property before you can keep it, sell it, or trash it. Check your local laws because the timeframe in which you must hold the property can vary.

Basically your first responsibility is to determine whether the items left are worth anything. If you?re questioning it then clearly it is. Then you need to contact the former tenant and determine whether the property is abandoned. If there is no response to your contact you can assume that it is and you must inform the tenant that you plan to sell or trash their belongings.

This is where the local time frame comes into play. You will have to hold the property for the specified amount of time until it converts to your property and then you can do with it as you please.