Tenants are not allowed to leave their personal belongings in a rental unit after they move out.
What happens if a tenant leaves their belongings in a rental unit after moving out?
If a tenant has left their belongings in a rental unit after moving out, the landlord should make a reasonable effort to contact the tenant and request they retrieve the items left behind. The landlord does not have the right to withhold or prevent a tenant from collecting their belongings, even if the tenant owes the landlord money for non-payment of rent or for damages to the rental unit.
If the landlord makes a reasonable effort and is still not able to contact the tenant, or the tenant refuses to retrieve their belongings from the rental unit within a reasonable time, the landlord may apply to the Rental Office under Section 28 of the Act for an Order permitting the landlord to dispose of the belongings.
What actions can a landlord take to deal with abandoned items?
A landlord can make an application to dispose of abandoned personal property on an Application for an Order (Form 2). This application may be made ‘ex-parte’ – meaning that the landlord does not need to notify the tenant. When filing their application with the Rental Office, the landlord must provide a detailed list and pictures of the items at issue. After receiving the landlord’s application and list of items, the Rental Office will hold a hearing by telephone. During the telephone hearing, the landlord will need to establish that the rental agreement has ended, the tenant has moved out, and that the tenant has abandoned the items. If the landlord is successful, the Rental Office will issue a written Order permitting the landlord to remove, sell, or otherwise dispose of the property.
Where a landlord has received an Order from the Rental Office permitting them to remove, sell, or otherwise dispose of a tenant’s personal property, neither the landlord nor the Rental Office shall be liable in any action taken by the owner of the personal property in respect of the removal, storage or disposition of that property.