Under Pennsylvania Law, tenants are required to remove all of their personal property from the leased premises when they relinquish possession. However, there are times when a tenant fails to remove all their personal property, and landlords are left in the dark & wondering where they stand.
If a tenant leaves or abandons their personal property at the leased premises at the time they vacate or relinquish possession, under Pennsylvania Law a landlord must provide the tenant with a ten day written notice to retrieve their personal property. This notice may be served by regular mail to the tenant’s new address, if known, otherwise to the vacated premises; or by personal service.
If the tenant does not notify the landlord within ten days of their intent to remove the personal property, the landlord has the right to dispose of the personal property. If the tenant notifies the landlord of their intention to collect the personal property, the landlord is required to retain or safeguard the personal property for thirty days. During the thirty day period, the landlord may store the personal property within reasonable proximity to the leased premises and must exercise “ordinary care” to safeguard or protect the personal property. If the tenant does not retrieve the personal property within the thirty day period, then the landlord may dispose of the personal property.
If a landlord desires to sell the personal property after the requisite ten or thirty day period, the landlord may only keep enough of the proceeds to cover any outstanding obligations, including the costs to store the personal property and/or any judgments obtained for damages against the tenant. Any excess proceeds obtained from the sale of the personal property must be returned to the tenant. In the event that the tenant failed to provide a forwarding address to the landlord, then the landlord must hold the proceeds for an additional thirty days. Upon expiration of this thirty day period, the landlord may keep the proceeds.
Colby S. Grim is a member of the Real Estate Department at Grim, Biehn & Thatcher with experience in all areas of real estate law such as landlord/tenant, sales, acquisitions, and leases. Contact Attorney Grim today for help navigating all of your real estate needs.