Step by Step Guide For What To Do When Your Tenant Leaves Things Behind

There’s no doubt that owning rental properties in Portland Oregon is a great way to build wealth and consistent cash flow on a monthly basis but it can also be a headache at times, especially if your tenant leave stuff behind after they move out.

The good news is that dealing with tenants who leave things behind after they move out doesn’t have to be a hassle, especially if you follow these tips.

Tip #1 – Confirm That Your Tenant Has Moved Out

The first step to totally clearing out your PDX rental property is to verify that your tenant has actually moved out in the first place.

If your tenant previously gave you a 30-day notice then this is a good indicator that they’ve moved out but if they’ve stopped all communication with you then this is a sign that they may have left in the middle of the night.

To confirm that they moved out you will need to contact their personal references because friends or family members will generally be the first people who can tell you if they moved out or not.

Besides contacting your tenant’s personal references, you should also post a 24-hour notice to enter your rental property. This will give them advance warning (if they are still there), that you will be entering the rental property within 24-hours.

Once you’ve posted the notice to enter, it’s best to wait and then enter the property after that 24-hour period has passed.

Cash For Keys

Tip #2 – Hire A 3rd Party To Clear Out Their Belongings

Let’s say that you’ve entered your PDX rental property and found that your tenant has indeed moved out because all of their clothes, electronics, food, and personal items are gone but they left a lot of furniture behind.

In this situation, you may be tempted to rent a U-Haul and take everything to the local Goodwill location but if you want to protect yourself legally, it’s best to hire a 3rd party to clean out the rental property then store your tenant’s personal items for a period of 1-2 weeks.

Hiring a 3rd party will protect your best interests (legally) if by chance your former tenant does decide to pick up their belongings and informs you that some of their things are missing.

Note – If you entered your rental property but still aren’t sure that your tenant has abandoned their rental property, it’s best to move forward with a court-ordered eviction. Doing this will give you tenant seven days from the eviction date to clear out their rental property or you can move forward with having their items removed from the rental property.

Tip #3 – Attempt To Contact Your Former Tenant

After clearing out your PDX rental property, the next step is to attempt to contact your former tenant to let them know that you are going to store their belongings for 1-2 weeks.

It’s best to take pictures of all of the items that you’re storing then mail a letter to your tenant with the attached photos because they may already have a forwarding address set up.

You can also text or email the photos to your former tenant if you have their mobile phone number or email address on file.

During your attempt to connect with your former tenant it’s best to be clear that you’re only storing their items for a short period of time and they will have to reimburse you for the time and cost of storing their items if they do decide to pick them up.

Tip #4 – Can You Sell Your Former Tenants Belongings?

Let’s say that after you stored their belongings for 1-2 weeks, and attempted to contact them, your tenant has still not responded to you. The big question is what do you do next?

If you follow the statutory notice requirements and use reasonable care in storing the tenant’s things, you cannot be held responsible to the tenant for any loss resulting from handling or storage. If you fail to follow these requirements, the tenant will have the right to recover up to twice the actual damages sustained by the tenant. The tenant is also relieved of any liability for damage to the rental premises caused by conduct that was not deliberate, intentional, or grossly negligent, and for any unpaid rent.

Once the abandonment notice has been delivered, the tenant has at least 5 to 8 days, depending on the method of delivery of the notice, in which to contact you to remove the abandoned personal belongings. The tenant may contact you in person, by writing or emailing, or with a phone call. You then must allow up to 15 more days for the tenant to collect the belongings. The time period is longer (30 days) for abandoned manufactured dwellings, floating homes, and recreational vehicles. You must act in good faith to make the belongings available to the tenant at a reasonable time and place. You may require the tenant to pay removal and storage costs, but not any other charges, before releasing the belongings. However, you may not charge the tenant anything if you had the sheriff execute on an eviction judgment against the tenant.

If the tenant does not claim the belongings or contact you to arrange to collect them, you may sell the belongings at a public or private sale. If the belongings have a fair market value of $1000 or less or cannot be sold for a profit, you can throw them away or give them away to anyone unrelated to you. Any sale must comply with special rules.

You may keep the reasonable cost of notice, storage and sale, and unpaid rent from the proceeds of the sale. Any balance must be forwarded to the tenant, with an itemized accounting. If the tenant cannot be found, any remaining proceeds go to the county treasurer in the county where the sale occurred. You must not keep the belongings for personal use.

Contact Rent Portland Homes

To learn more about how to deal with a tenant who has left belongings behind at your Portland Oregon Rental Property, or to speak with us about our property management services, contact us today by clicking here to connect with us online.


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