As attorneys representing landlords in eviction matters, we are often faced with the question of what a landlord should do with personal property abandoned by a tenant. What if the old looking piece of furniture left behind by a tenant is actually a valuable family heirloom? Landlords are routinely hesitant about how to properly dispose of items that remain at the end of a lease.
Earlier this summer Governor Corbett signed into law an amendment to the Landlord Tenant Act providing a statutory framework to address this problem.
The law, Disposition of Abandoned Personal Property, which took effect on September 3, 2012, places an affirmative duty on the tenant to remove personal property at the time the tenant “relinquishes possession” of the premises. While the point at which a tenant relinquishes possession of the real property may seem obvious, the new law provides instruction on when a tenant is deemed to have done so, which in turn triggers the procedures to allow proper disposal of abandoned personal property.