Tag Archives: property left behind by tenants

Abandoned Property

So often tenants leave behind personal belongings that owners and managers have to decide what to do with. Each state will have its own laws  regarding how to properly handle the situation.  Articles left behind weather valuable or not should not be sold for profit or kept by the landlord or owner. It’s best to donate them to the proper charity such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. pets left behind should be given to the local humane’s society.


Here is the 20 day plan that will allow you to resolve the problem.  As soon as you notice the abandoned property send a letter to the tenants who left it giving them 15 days to remove the property. Send this letter to the last known address. If you do not know the new address, (most times you wont), send it directly to the rental address where the belongings were left. They should have filed a change of address for mail forwarding. State in the letter that the items left behind need to be removed within 15 days or it will be given to charity or deemed as trash and disposed of. Always add 3 days if mailed by first class mail. If the letter is returned with no forwarding address, keep it in their file for proof that you mailed them their notice. After such notice is given, if the property is not taken by the tenant in the time frame given you have the right to move the property from the home. Keep track of each item on an itemized list and where you took each one. Take pictures if you can and keep them with the letter in the tenants file. If the items value over $500.00 total in Oregon, you can sell the property by public or private sale, throw away or give to charity or others that are not related to the landlord or owner.

To prevent this from happening or prevent any misunderstandings about abandoned property it’s a good idea to go over your states laws with the tenant when they move in and again just before they move out. Tell them what will happen to any belongings they leave behind.

if your ever not sure about your rights or what to do with abandoned property contact an attorney.