What Do I Do With Abandoned Personal Property?
Oftentimes, tenants will leave behind personal property after moving out without giving any indication of what to do with it. Before you dispose of any personal property, ensure you do the following.
For Residential Properties:
- Give written notice to the former tenant. The notice should include the applicable language as required by law. You must either personally deliver the notice to the former tenant or mail it by first-class mail to his or her last known address with a copy sent to the vacated premises. In the event that notice cannot be delivered or mailed, you may email a copy. See notice template below.
- Either leave the personal property on the vacated premises or place it in storage. If stored, the former tenant or whoever is reasonably believed to be the owner of the personal property is responsible for paying the reasonable costs of storage should he or she reclaim the personal property.
Unclaimed Personal Property
If no one comes claims the personal property left behind, then you have one of two options:
- If the personal property is valued at less than $700 in yard sale value, then the landlord may retain the property for his or her own use or dispose of it in any manner.
- If the personal property is valued over $700 in yard sale value, then it must be sold at public sale by competitive bidding.
Under a public sale scenario, the following steps should be taken:
- Notice of the time and place of the public sale must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the sale is to be held. Publication of the notice must not be less than five days before the sale is to be held.
- Notice of the sale must not be published before the end date specified for taking possession of the property in any notice.
- Notice should describe all or at least a portion of the personal property in a way that would allow its owner to adequately identify it.
- After deducting the costs of storage, advertising, and sale, any balance of the proceeds of the sale which is not claimed by the former tenant will be placed in the county treasury.
If you’re unsure of how to handle a tenant’s leftover personal property, contact the friendly staff at Kendall Law today or call 310-619-4941 to schedule a consultation.
Please note that the information provided at this website is intended for general educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction.