Changes to Storing Tenant’s Abandoned Personal Property

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Post Eviction

In the State of Minnesota, if a tenant leaves anything of value behind when the vacate the property, as a landlord, you were legally required to protect and store that property for 60 days.  This applies to both regular move outs and when you have to evict a tenant.  While you could charge a storage fee, you could not use that property as collateral or ransom to get any other bills paid.  I typically would take pictures of everything just where it sat in the unit when I get in there (snap them on your phone if needed).  This gives me a visual record so the tenant can’t come back and claim he left a 50″ plasma TV there.  Having the pictures will help you if the tenant finds one of those shady eviction lawyers and bring a case against you for that TV!

After taking the pictures, I will often store the property in one of the bedrooms if I have enough time between tenants.  Otherwise, I move it to the basement or garage.  Keep in mind that you must protect this property against theft and damage.  Any old food or dishes can be discarded as well as anything that is obviously junk or trash (be sure your definition of junk is the same as the tenants!).

I have to say that although I rarely see any tenants coming back to claim their possession, I still do it.  With that said, I hate it!  Why do I have to store their stuff that they obviously did not care enough about to move with them?  The worst is when I have evicted the tenant for owing me money and now I have to store their junk.  It ads insult to injury.  While I can’t give you eviction advice, most landlords in this situation would never store the tenant’s left over stuff.

Well here is some small, but good news.  Affective August 1, 2010, landlords only need to store the tenant’s abandoned personal property for 28 days.  This is a welcome change.  I suspect the legislator realized that if you are not coming to claim your stuff after 28 days, you are probably not going to get it.

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