Q:I recently sold my rental house. Proper notice was given, and one of my tenants moved out promptly on time. However, she left some possessions (a number of canvases and paintings) behind, and emailed a request to leave them until she found storage. I have not yet replied. Is there a proper procedure to follow? If my former tenant does not remove her things before the house closing, what obligations do I have? In addition, she did not give me a forwarding address, only an email contact.
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A: At first blush, it seems to me like you're looking at abandoned property. The regulations require that the landlord inventory and store goods and possessions left behind from a tenancy and the tenant be notified of how the items can be retrieved. If the tenant has contacted you indicating she wants her stuff back you are wise to handle it very carefully; photograph things, store them appropriately, inventory them, and generally look after them like they are your own. Storage costs can be recovered from the tenant in most of these situations. If the property has value of less than $500, where the provisions of the regulations have been met and the tenant isn't making moves to get the stuff back, then the landlord can dispose of the goods.