Can an evicted tenant only claim some of their possessions?

Asked over 1 year ago - Buffalo, NY

I am currently storing an ex-tenants possessions that where left behind after an eviction. The tenant has been given until the end of May to reclaim his items less they be considered abandoned and disposed of. My question is: must I allow him to claim only some of the items or can I tell him he either takes everything or nothing?

Thank you, in advance, for your professional opinions.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Steven Warren Smollens

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Dear Landlord:

    Allow the tenant to recover the left behind personal property. If possible, invoice the items and prepare a receipt. Provide for the tenant to indicate the property he removed and the property he is abandoning. Make a duplicate and make sure the tenant signs on both forms at a place where the receipt is dated and the tenant agrees that the items marked as taken, he took, the items noted as abandoned he is allowing you to discard without any recourse and without liability.

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should... more
  2. Peter J Weinman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . If he only wants some portion of his belongings, go along with it and discard the rest later. To deny him some and require he take "all or nothing "is only looking for trouble. Don't look for trouble.

    My answer is for general purposes only and is not not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, nor... more
  3. Bruno Patrick Bianchi

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . The law is murky on this particular issue. The general practice is to permit the evicted tenant a single opportunity to come remove the belongings. If you can obtain the tenant's new address, it is a good practice to send a letter by certified and first class mail with proof of mailing stating that you will provide a single opportunity for the tenant to retrieve her belongings from storage on or before May 31 and any belongings not removed by that day will be considered abandoned and discarded.

  4. Richard J. Chertock

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Anything left behind is deemed abandoned and becomes your property to dispose of as you see fit.

    This e-mail may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please... more
  5. Michael C. Wild

    Contributor Level 13

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . My colleagues all make excellent points. Going forward, you may want to consider a few ideas to avoid this issue in the future. If you do not already do so, give some thought to using a written lease, and consider some kind of move-out or abandoned property clause.

    This communication is intended only to provide general information. No attorney-client relationship is created.

Related Topics

Landlord-tenant law

Landlord-tenant law is governed mostly by state laws, and covers issues like security deposit limits and deadlines, evictions, and the right to withhold rent.

Landlord responsiblities

Landlord responsibilities for a property they rent out include keeping the property up to local and federal codes, general maintenance, and making repairs.

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