Tenant leave furniture in property

I’m a landlord in NJ. One of my tenants evacuated the house at the end of her lease, she left furniture at the house and I tried to contact her via text and email so she can come and pick them up but she didn’t reply.
Can I just through away the furniture?

Happens all the time. Yes. Tenants just skip town. What they leave behind, they leave behind. Toss it.

Normally, you’ll need to offer the tenant an accounting of their deposit, which includes the costs to return the unit to marketable condition. In this case it would include the costs to clean out the unit.

I would take pictures of the unit before you clean it, to justify anything you have to do to make the unit rent-ready.

I’ve had tenants leave behind all manner of things, including TV’s, radio, tools, nik-naks and toys that go home with me.


Yes you can. The cost of removal and disposal should also be taken out of their bond. It is the tenants obligation to return the property in the same condition which includes not leaving extra things there.

Yes I would say that you could. Additionally, in the lease with your new tenant you should stipulate any belongings that remain in the property after move out date can be discarded by landlord.

In my market (Winnipeg, Canada), you are actually legally obligated to keep the tenants belongings in storage for up to 3 months I believe. Not sure how many landlords actually do this, because 99% of the time I’m sure tenants are never coming back for their belongings.

I’m pretty sure you can charge storage fees, too. Of course, if the tenant doesn’t come back, storage fees are probably not collectable.

anything left I toss out and charge them any cost I incur.

Definitely push back on them. My buddy in NY who owns a triplex had a tenant leave a massive grand piano in the unit after moving out! Literally had to disassemble it piece by piece to remove. What a headache! Do you best to motivate them to remove that stuff before leaving.

I’ve found that the best way to avoid tenant headaches is to make sure the tenant has something to gain by behaving, or something to lose if they don’t. And that includes getting a substantial deposit.

In order to command large deposits, you usually have to offer something up front that motivates the tenant to cough up the large deposit. That could include under-market rent.

I found that if I offered bargain rents, I could command higher deposits. However, I also discovered that I could get higher rents AND deposits if I rented to tenants with iffy credit. Tenants with iffy credit have a harder time finding landlords willing to rent to them. The tenants with good credit have more options, and are rarely willing to pay higher deposits, and never pay higher rents.

And that’s why I prefer renting to people with iffy credit, who are also willing to pay me higher rents and give me higher deposits.

I ask applicants, “If I were to run your credit, what would I find?” Most are honest, but others have no idea. This gives me the chance to outline my qualifying requirements without actually running a credit report up front.

For example, one applicant told me that he lost his job and was evicted from his apartment a year earlier. He added that he had several collection items on his credit due to his job loss. That’s all I needed to hear.

I offered to approve his application if he gave me the deposit I wanted, which was 3x’s the face value of the rent, and was willing to pay the rent I wanted with was roughly 10% above fair market value. He agreed. However, I also asked for a 2-year lease. I told him that if he paid on time, and maintained the unit, I would become a good referral for him (and it would give him time to get his personal credit straightened out).

Another thing is that I insist on rents being paid on the first business day of the month. That effectively means that the tenant has 30 days to get the money scraped together so he can pay on time without incurring a giant late fee. Frankly, it usually takes a couple of months for the tenant to appreciate that I mean business regarding the late fees. After that, the money (*unfortunately) comes in like clockwork.

*Those late fees pay for my rib platters!

I had a tenant who left a piano in a walk-in closet. I ended up having to pay somebody to come remove it. I deducted the cost from the tenant’s deposit.

Just make sure you are abiding by the local and state laws - seems to vary alot - when in doubt i found out from the sheriff - they always seem to know what to do

You got all the rights to throw them away. From both moral and legal point of view, so it is ok. Especially if they do not answer your messages you can go and throw them away and just forget about them. I remember when my previous tenant left some of his furniture, I was also thinking about throwing it away, but it was way too great and was looking really beautiful and expensive. He didn’t answer me at last, so I decided to keep that furniture. It was kind of a vintage style from https://thekairoscollective.com/furniture/seating.html. When I checked it, well it was really expensive.