How long does a landlord have to wait before disposing of a tenant’s belongings?

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How long does a landlord have to wait before disposing of a tenant’s belongings?

Mother left the premises but left her belongings here. Said she would be back to get the stuff within 3 days; it has now been over 7 days.

Asked on March 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord pr se cannot just dispose of a former tenant's belongings unless it appears that the tenant has actually abandoned them. In your situation since you are dealing with your presumed mother, I would not dispose of the items any time soon.

Rather I would hold onto them for your mother to get.

Assuming that the tenant (former) is not a relative of yours, I would write that person a note advising her of the need to collect the items in the next 15 days or so. Assuming the items are not collected, then if the belongings are collectively worth less than $300 you can dispose of them any way you wish.

If collectively worth more than $300, I would take the belongings to an offsite storage facility and place them in the name of the former tenant. I would then write your former tenant a note with a copy of the offsite storage lease advising the tenant of the need to make payments on the new storage facility and if not, the new landlord will auction off the items to pay the unpaid rental.


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