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What to Do with a Tenant’s Possessions after an Eviction

When a tenant is evicted, what to do with possessions left behind in your rental property can be a daunting and legally complex question to answer. Navigating the intricate procedures and regulations surrounding abandoned property requires a delicate balance of protecting the tenant’s rights while adhering to the property owner’s responsibilities. 

Every step in the process carries significant implications, this article covers all there is to know when faced with such a situation. 

Go Through the Legal Eviction Process

When the process is complete and the judge has ruled in your favor, a Writ of Possession can be obtained six days after the ruling. You then need to give the tenant 24 hours to move out and remove their personal property. 

It is good practice to explain the rest of the process to them so they know what will happen after the 24 hours is up. 

Writ of Possession and Item Storage

After you are issued a Writ of Possession by the court and have given the tenant 24 hours to leave the property, a law enforcement officer will come to remove the tenant and their belongings from the property. However, it is not always possible for the tenant to remove all of their belongings (i.e. large pieces of furniture) at the same time that they vacate the property. 

Living room full of brown moving boxes

The landlord can place the belongings outside, as long as it is not blocking sidewalks or during a period when it is raining, sleeting, or snowing. You can also choose to store it in a secure location, if you wish.

A law enforcement officer can also hire a warehouseman to come and retrieve the property and store it for 30 days. The tenant will have to retrieve it from the warehouseman and pay the lien. After 30 days, the warehouseman can sell it. 

Provide Written Notice to the Former Tenant

If you choose to store the tenant’s belongings, you should contact them and provide them with information on where the property is being and the deadline for retrieval. The notice should be written in clear and concise language, leaving no room for misinterpretation. 

Setting a firm deadline prevents the indefinite storage of the tenant’s belongings, which could become a burden for you. Additionally, it should include all relevant contact information and instructions for the tenant to follow in order to retrieve their belongings. 

Keep Detailed Records of All Actions Taken

Although there are not specific laws on what you should do with abandoned property, there may still be opportunities for the tenant to sue. Maintaining detailed records of all actions taken throughout the process of handling a tenant’s possessions is of utmost importance. 

Person holding a pen writing a checklist

You may choose to make an initial inventory list and take photographs or videos. This is an especially good idea if you rent out a furnished property. You should also keep track of written notices, communication with the former tenant, and any other relevant documentation. 

These records serve as evidence and can be invaluable in case of disputes or legal challenges. They demonstrate the property owner or manager’s due diligence and adherence to proper procedures. 

Additionally, detailed records can assist in resolving any discrepancies or misunderstandings that may arise. Organized and comprehensive record-keeping not only protects the property owner or manager but also ensures transparency and accountability throughout the entire process.

Follow State and Local Laws Regarding Abandoned Property

Each state and municipality has specific laws and regulations governing the handling of abandoned property, including tenants’ possessions after an eviction. These laws can vary significantly and may include specific requirements for notice periods, storage conditions, disposal methods, and other aspects of the process. 

Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal consequences and potential liability for the property owner or manager. It is crucial to research and thoroughly understand the applicable laws in your area, as well as any recent updates or changes to these regulations. 

Consulting with a legal professional or seeking guidance from an experienced property management company can help ensure full compliance and mitigate potential risks.

Cropped image of a person taping a moving box closed

Consider Donating Usable Items to Charity

If permitted by law and after the specified deadline has passed, property owners or managers may consider donating usable items left behind by the former tenant to local charities or organizations that assist those in need. This option not only helps to reduce waste and promote sustainability but also provides a valuable resource to those in need within the community. 

However, it is important to exercise caution and ensure that the donated items are in good condition and do not pose any health or safety risks. Additionally, proper documentation of the donation process, including receipts or acknowledgments from the receiving organization, should be maintained for record-keeping purposes.


At Real Property Management Talent, we understand the challenges that property owners and managers face when dealing with a tenant’s possessions after an eviction. You might also be curious about what to do with a tenant’s mail after an eviction. 

Our team of experienced professionals is well-versed in the intricacies of state and local laws, and we can guide you through the entire process, from inventory and documentation to proper disposal or sale of unclaimed items. 

We prioritize compliance, attention to detail, and open communication to ensure a smooth and legally sound resolution. Trust Real Property Management Talent to handle your tenant’s possessions with care and professionalism, allowing you to focus on successfully managing your rental property.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as a replacement for professional legal advice. It is important to be aware that laws pertaining to property management may change, rendering this information outdated by the time you read it.

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