So your tenant leaves in the middle of the night and not only are you out the rent money they owe you now you have an apartment full of their stuff. What do you do with the junk your tenant left behind? Your first answer might be to hire a removal company to come in and get rid of it all for you but that could actually land you in hot water. Typically it is tenants that have caused problems or owe you money that leave stuff behind they may also be the first to take you to small claims court so let’s look at what you should do.
Check with the Local Authority
Each and every jurisdiction has different rules about how to handle a tenant’s property, some will allow you to just dispose of it, others are more complicated. Some jurisdictions will tell you that you must try and reach the tenant to let them know their things will be disposed of if they don’t reply within a certain time frame. The first thing you want to do is check with the local authority that deals with landlord/tenant issues and ask what you can legally do with the stuff. You may end up paying a claim if you don’t follow proper procedures.
The moment you discover that your tenant has flown the coop then you want to get out your camera or smartphone and start taking pictures of your property. If the matter goes to court or you need to provide proof to your insurance company then you will be covered. Always take before and after pictures so if issues arise in the future you have documented the situation. If a tenant puts in a claim that you threw out his property then they cannot claim the value is higher than it was.
Storing the Property
Most of the time if the tenant has been evicted or they abandoned the property then they stuff they leave behind is generally not of much value. However there could be a situation where a tenant left valuable property behind and you are left storing it until they reclaim it. Your best bet is to store it on the premises if you can. If you are forced to pay for a storage locker because you don’t have the space then you are entitled to recover those costs. Again this is something you will want to check with the local authorities before going ahead.