This one came in from a Facebook friend, and fellow property manager. It’s a situation that occurs more frequently than you might imagine, so I’ll share it with you for your feedback.
“I had to do a lock-out eviction on a tenant who owes about $2,000 in back rent. She is the only tenant on the lease, although she has allowed other people to live there. We have possession of the property now, but there’s an issue with personal property. Everyone who has ever lived there is claiming ownership of some of the property. None of them were ever on our lease. The tenant who was named on the lease states that none of the property is hers, and she doesn’t care what I do with it.
What do I do? Do I let other people into the property to claim the stuff? Should I ask her to sign a waiver that states everything left in the home is trash, and I can dispose of it? I posted a notice on the front door for anyone who has personal property in the house to contact me. I’m not sure how to proceed.”
Wow. What a mess, huh? Here’s how I responded:
“Your tenant is the only person on the lease. Regardless of the statements she may make about the personal property, if her roommates came after her for their stuff, you can bet she’d come after you if you fail to store it and dispose of it properly. I would handle the personal property exactly the same as you would for any other situation. In Nevada, that means you’ll hold it (safe storage) for 30 days, and provide a 14-day notice to your tenant (last known address) before disposing of it. I wouldn’t allow anyone other than your tenant to claim any of the property, either, unless they could prove ownership.”
What do you think? How would you handle this situation?