I am often asked what a landlord should do with personal property that a tenant leaves behind when the tenant either moves out and abandons the lease or is evicted. The short answer depends on whether the sheriff removes the tenant and whether the property is stored on-site or off-site.

The landlord's duties under the law are clear. If a tenant either moves out or abandons the lease and is evicted, the landlord has to inventory the property and store it for 28 days, if the property is stored on-site. The easiest way to do an inventory is to run a camcorder or video recorder over any property that is left behind, but I recommend that a landlord make an itemized list of the items that are left behind and then take a digital photograph of each item.

For the inventory, the landlord does not need to make an exhaustive list, but I recommend that big – ticket items, or items with intrinsic value, be listed separately. For example, if a tenant leaves 5 shirts or houses behind, a couple of pairs of pants, etc., the landlord can lump all those under the general category of "clothing." In other words, the landlord does not need to take a separate picture of each item of clothing, but can take one picture of all the clothing to gather.  However, for televisions, computers, electronics in general, and other big-ticket items, I recommend that the landlord list each item separately, and take a separate photograph of it, if only to be safe.

If the property is stored on site, the landlord has to complete such an inventory and, under Minn. Stat. 504B .271,

"make reasonable efforts to notify the tenant of the sale at least 14 days prior to the sale, by personal service in writing or sending written notification of the sale by first class and certified mail to the tenant's last known address or usual place of abode, if known by the landlord, and by posting notice of the sale in a conspicuous place on the premises at least two weeks prior to the sale."

In other words, at least 14 days before a sale, the landlord has to post notice of the sale "in a conspicuous place" and mail the same notice by regular and certified US mail to the tenants last known address, which is probably going to be the property. If the landlord knows the tenant's telephone number or email address, I would recommend sending notice of the sale to the tenant by email, by text message, or by a telephone call.

If the sheriff removes the tenant and the property is going to be stored off-site, in a different location other than the rental premises, then the landlord is required to store the property for 60 days. For this reason, I generally recommend that a landlord store property left behind by a former tenant on-site, in a garage or storage locker. I generally do not recommend that a landlord store property off-site, although there are certainly reasons to do so.

There are multiple other requirements as well, which are enumerated in Minn. Stat. 504B.365, subd. 3. I strongly recommend that landlords review this statute in the event that a tenant is removed from the property by the sheriff.

Every landlord – tenant situation is unique, and I recommend that landlords talk to an attorney experienced in evictions and landlord tenant law before taking action  To that end, I invite landlords to give me a call at 763-450-9494 to discuss their unique situation. I typically do not represent tenants.

WARNING: The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice and may not be applicable to your situation.  Tim is licensed to practice law only in Minnesota, and the information contained in this blog post may not apply to jurisdictions outside of Minnesota.  Further, reading this blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Baland Law Office, P.L.L.C.  You should always discuss your situation with an attorney before taking any action based on what you may read in this blog.  To that end, please call (763) 450-9494 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.



02/22/2016 8:50am

I am very enjoyed for this blog

10/14/2016 8:54am

This is very headache process to safeguard the property what’re the tenant leaves when he vacated the house. It always good to hand over to the tenant or if he denies it than call police and make a note of items list and keep in a store room. In this he again cannot keep compliant on you stating that you have kept is a belonging.


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