The Advertiser - Real Estate

When you leave a rental, take your stuff with you

REISA’s Paul Edwards addresses a frequent problems for landlords – abandoned goods


Can I just finish up my lease and leave all my stuff behind? It’s a question I am asked often, and the answer is no, no you can’t. And if you do then there could be consequenc­es. So, if you have difficulty moving everything out in time or no longer require items, it’s important to communicat­e with your landlord before your final inspection to see if they can offer some suggestion­s.

Under tenancies legislatio­n, there are clear responsibi­lities on how to deal with abandoned property – and this can lead to an expense that your landlord may be entitled to recover from you. So it’s important to understand the rules. If you leave behind perishable items, your landlord can dispose of them immediatel­y.

The landlord must then determine the estimated value of the remaining property that you have left behind. If you do leave behind any items, then you are allowed two days in which to reclaim them. You should make a time to meet your landlord or property manager at the property to organise for you to reclaim your items. A good tip for any landlord is to keep a clear record of the goods that were left behind at the property by their tenant.

If you do not reclaim your items in this two day period, then your landlord must work out whether the remaining property is non-valuable or valuable property. Different rules apply to the treatment of each category of goods, but suffice to say, you do not want to find yourself in the position whereby the landlord has exercised their legal right to either dispose of, or put your items into storage.

You must remember that if your landlord elects to put your items into storage, you will be responsibl­e for any storage costs which can include packing the property, removing the property and taking it to the storage facility. This could add up to quite an expensive total for you.

Another important thing for you to remember is this – if you do not claim your valuable property after 28 days, then it becomes the landlord’s. They may decide to sell or otherwise lawfully dispose of your property as if they were the owner of that property. You will lose those goods forever.

You really should not be leaving any property behind when you vacate the property. Your lease has ended and it is up to you to give back vacant possession to the landlord.

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