How do I handle abandoned tenant property?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How do I handle abandoned tenant property?

I have a tenant who abandoned the property, rather than face eviction for unpaid rent. He left a substantial amount of things behind. I am waiting until a deadline that I notified him via certified mail expires before selling anything. I plan to sue the tenant for unpaid rent (there is nothing left in the security deposit due to damages). I don’t know how long it will take me to sell off the possessions, if I will even be able to sell them, or if the amount will cover the rent. Do I have to wait to sue until I’ve sold things or do I file suit and then adjust the amount later?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are wise to have sent the former tenant notice via certified mail, return receipt requested to pick up his abandoned property before disposing of it in that most states require similar notice to be sent by the landlord.

You need to carefully read your state's statutes concerning disposal of abandoned possessions by a former tenant. Some states require publication of an auction notice and service of the notice upon the former tenant where the left behind items are sold to pay the landlord past due rent and damages.

If you have the time, it would be best to file an action against the former tenant for what is owed you sooner rather than later, serve him or her with the summons and complaint and go to trial for what is owed. This can happen before any auction or sale of abandoned property. The amount received from the sale or auction of the abandoned property can be used to pay off a portion of the judgment you hopefully obtain.

Good luck.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are wise to have sent the former tenant notice via certified mail, return receipt requested to pick up his abandoned property before disposing of it in that most states require similar notice to be sent by the landlord.

You need to carefully read your state's statutes concerning disposal of abandoned possessions by a former tenant. Some states require publication of an auction notice and service of the notice upon the former tenant where the left behind items are sold to pay the landlord past due rent and damages.

If you have the time, it would be best to file an action against the former tenant for what is owed you sooner rather than later, serve him or her with the summons and complaint and go to trial for what is owed. This can happen before any auction or sale of abandoned property. The amount received from the sale or auction of the abandoned property can be used to pay off a portion of the judgment you hopefully obtain.

Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption