Personal belongings left at the end of the tenancy

DSC02502When your tenants leave, there are normally a few personal belongings left.  Sometimes it is a couch, a mattress, or it could be as little as a pair of pants hanging in the back of a closet.  MN law says you must store these items for 28 days.  Most often, the tenant never comes back.  If you are like me, I take pictures of what I have to throw away.  Sometimes I ask if they are coming back for any additional items and they always say no.  Of course good tenants do not leave junk behind. 

This is all fine until one day your tenant comes back and wants the items.  They were junk, you threw them away the first week after the tenant left.  You have pictures of the items, and maybe even sent the pictures along with the Security Deposit Settlement Statement indicating you had to dispose of the junk.  Now you could have an issue.  You stiffed them on the deposit, and they are a bit upset.  They want to get back at you.  They hire an attorney, or get one free, and you must replace the items or suffer a worse financial situation.  It is still less than 28 days, and you should still have their expensive items.

The solution is to fill out a Bill of Sale.  Buy the items remaining from your tenants.  Give the tenants $10 for everything that is left.  Have the tenants sign it.  The items are not worth $10, but now you are covered if they ever come back.  You are also covered if you find that suitcase full of money, or a winning lottery ticket.  Everything is now yours, and the tenant cannot come back for any of it.  Throw it away, donate it, or sell it, as you see fit.

Have you had to clean out after a renter? Or are you a renter and have left a bunch of items behind? Please tell me about your experiences.

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