Landlords often run into a number of scenarios they are not comfortable with, and dealing with abandoned property is one of them. Some tenants that have left could leave behind nice items, to which some landlords want to keep. Should you keep tenant property they have abandoned?
Why Did the Tenant Leave?
Whether the tenant was evicted, or they have chosen to abandon the property, there will be items left behind. While some things are simply garbage, others are clearly nicer items that can be sold for a cost. Do you have to send the money back to the former tenant? As this scenario has happened several times, laws have been enacted to help protect the tenant and the landlord. Identifying why the tenant left can aid in the type of letter that must be sent:
- Tenant moved after giving a termination notice.
- Tenant moved following a termination notice from landlords.
- Tenant was evicted
- Tenant abandoned property
Abandoned Property Law
There are state rules related to the disposal of property. While garbage is typically easy to spot, dealing with things like bookshelves are not. If the bookshelf was not something the landlord put into the unit, it is furniture owned by the tenant so you cannot toss it at the landfill or sell the bookshelf. Instead, the property must be stored and the former tenant must be given notice prior to disposal.
Cars and other vehicles are rarely left behind, but some motor vehicles and their parts could be left in a garage. If the tenant leaves behind a car and other parts, it is an exception to the abandoned property law and landlords can dispose of it by calling law enforcement. Law enforcement will arrange for a tow service to pick up the abandoned car.
Selling Tenant Property
If you do end up selling the property from the former tenant, you can use the funds to pay for the storage costs and other expenses accumulated to hold the property. If there is money left over, you need to hold onto it for a least a year before you can claim it. The time gives the former tenant a chance to get their money from the property.
Keyrenter Property Management Atlanta provides real estate investment opportunities. Helping landlords learn how to effectively manage property is what we do best, contact our office today.