When Can I Dispose of Personal Property Left By a Past Tenant or Owner?

When a home is purchased or a rental unit is vacated, the past occupants may leave behind personal property on occasion. So how long must the new owner, tenant or landlord wait before keeping or disposing of the left-behind possessions?

First, the person in possession of the property must provide notice (or attempt to provide notice) that the items have been left at the property.

If no response is received or if a reasonable amount of time has passed after such notice has been given, then the person in possession of the abandoned personal property may dispose of that property as he or she sees fit: keep it, use it, toss it in the trash.

But a careful review of the laws of the state (and even county) where the property is located is required, as laws may vary by state.