Rights of Landlords for Abandoned Property

by Jerry Crenna
(Miami, FL)

Rights of landlords will play a crucial role if you find your rental home littered with the tenant's belongings after he moves out. His leftover belongings are what you call abandoned property - So are you supposed to dump it, keep it, sell it or return it?

The answer lies in knowing what are your landlord rights for dealing with abandoned property.

In most areas, you will have to wait for at least 14 days before the unclaimed items are considered as abandoned property. Send a written notice to your tenant informing him or her that abandoned property had been behind. This notice has to include the termination date of the tenancy as well.

If your tenant demands the return of his abandoned property, you are generally required to give them back (unless the waiting period stated by law is over). In exchange you can charge your tenant a storage fee for holding and safeguarding his possessions.

If you don't hear from the tenant after some time (commonly 15 to 20 days), you can claim ownership of the abandoned property. In some cases, you have complete freedom to do anything you want. If there are valuables involved, you may have to hold a public auction to sell off the abandoned property.

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