Caring for personal property abandoned by a tenant (Washington)

Robert Raymond Colbert
PRO

Written by

Real Estate Attorney - Omak, WA

Posted April 17, 2013

What happens if the tenant leaves personal property?

If a tenant abandons the premises a landlord may immediately enter the premises and take possession of any personal property the tenant left in the premises. The landlord must store the personal property in a reasonably secure place. See RCW 59.18.310 for more information.

Does the landlord have to notify the tenant the personal property is being kept?

The landlord must make efforts to notify the tenant where the personal property is being stored, how the property will be disposed of if the tenant does not reclaim it, and that the tenant has the right to have their personal property returned to them. The notice can be mailed to the tenant's last known address. See RCW 59.18.310 for more information.

What if the personal property is worth more than $250?

If the total value of the personal property is more than $250, then after 45 days from the date the notice was mailed to the tenant the landlord may sell or dispose of the property and apply any income from the sale to moneys due the landlord. The landlord must hold any excess income from the sale of the abandoned property for one year from the date of sale. After that time the landlord may keep the excess including interest. See RCW 59.18.310 for more information.

What if the personal property is worth less than $250?

If the total value of the personal property is less than $250, then after 7 days from the date the notice was mailed to the tenant the landlord may sell or dispose of the property and apply any income from the sale to moneys due the landlord. The landlord must hold any excess income from the sale of the abandoned property for one year from the date of sale. After that time the landlord may keep the excess including interest. See RCW 59.18.310 for more information.

When does the landlord have to return the property to the tenant?

The landlord must return the tenant's personal property if 1) the tenant reimburses the landlord's costs incurred for moving and storage of the property, and 2) the tenant requests the return of the property in writing prior to the landlord selling or disposing of it. See RCW 59.18.310 for more information.

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About this lawyer

Robert Raymond Colbert
PRO
Robert Colbert has been practicing law for 2 years and has been on Avvo since 2012.

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