Does alandlord have an obligation to a tenant regarding property that is left behind after the tenantvacates?

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Does alandlord have an obligation to a tenant regarding property that is left behind after the tenantvacates?

I broke a year lease after living at my luxury apartment for 1.5 years. My motorcycle was towed on the 2nd day after I left. I returned on the 3rd day to discover this. There posted rules say vehicles must move every 2 days. They knew it was my bike and I believe it was a form of retaliation for leaving the apt damaged ($3,600 in damages). Is there any loophole? If the vehicle is parked legally, registered, and they are aware who it belongs to, isn’t there a 3 or 5 day rule or allowance given?

Asked on July 24, 2011 California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under CA law, in such a situation as this the standard is: A landlord must act reasonably, and the landlord's actions must be based on a reasonable belief. Although the motorcycle was not left in your rental, the above rule still applies if it was parked on the premises. Just how reasonable was the landlord to believe that your motorcycle was abandoned? It's hard to say for sure not knowing what condition it was in and other factors. However, either way you should have been sent a "Notice of Abandonment" by your landlord, to the extent reasonable. This is true regardless of the circumstances under which you vacated the premises.

Note: Here is a link to a site that you may want to review: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/lt-5.shtml

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Most states have specific statutes on the subject of left behind property by a tenant when he or she vactes their rented unit. In most instances, the landlord is obligated to send a letter to the tenant cerified mail at his or her last known address requesting that the item be picked up from the property by a certain date and if not, it will be removed or placed for auction to pay unpaid rent if rent has not been completely paid.

You need to see if there is a statute on the subject you ask about.

Also, read your lease assuming you have a written lease. Potentially, there might be language directly dealing with notice requirements about left behind articles of tenants to further help you with the question you presented.

 


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