Tenants come and go – some will last years and others move out unexpectedly or have to be evicted. There are many scenarios where a landlord will discover that the tenant has left behind their personal property within the unit, creating a confusing situation for the landlord. Your course of action depends on how and why the tenant moved out. If Ontario landlords carefully follow the rules laid out by the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), they will not face any sort of penalty or repercussion for disposing of, selling, or otherwise dealing with a tenant’s personal property.
Your tenant moved out after a notice of termination or agreement to end tenancy
This is likely the most common experience for most landlords. After sending or receiving a notice of termination or the mutually agreed upon end of the tenancy, you enter the premises only to discover that the tenant has left their property behind.
If your tenant left without making arrangements for their property and shows no signs of coming back to pick up their personal property, you may sell, keep, or dispose of the property at your discretion. If you’ve taken the proper steps to ensure that the tenant has the chance to retain their property, you’re not liable for selling, keeping, or disposing of it.
Your tenant abandoned the unit
Another common situation many landlords face is finding that their tenant has abandoned the rental unit without making any prior agreements, giving proper notice, or having been evicted by the LTB. In these situations, the tenant has usually abandoned the unit while still owing rent. If this is the case, the landlord must do one of two things before dealing with any personal property left behind.
The first option is to apply to the LTB with an L2 application, which will supply you with an order stating that the unit has been abandoned and the tenancy ended. The other is to serve a notice to the tenant (with a copy to the LTB), where you declare that you intend to sell, keep, or dispose of property left behind – if you’re unsure of the tenant’s current address, you can send the notice to their last known address or business address.
Following these actions, you must either wait to hear back from the Board or wait 30 days after serving notice to the tenant. If the tenant wishes to pick up their property, they may do so during the 30 day period.
After this, you may keep, sell, or dispose of any property left behind, or have it stored away in a safe location for later pickup. Note that if you choose to sell the property, the tenant may claim any profits from the sales for up to six months after the notice was served. You may subtract rent owed and out-of-pocket expenses that the tenant may owe before giving the tenant remaining profits.
Your tenant has been evicted by the sheriff
Some evictions require the Sheriff’s involvement. If this has happened, you must give your tenant 72 hours to retrieve their property from the unit or a secure storage area. The property must be available for pickup between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM every day of the allotted 72 hours. The tenant can also make an arrangement with the landlord about what is to be done with the property.
If the tenant fails to pick up their property after the allotted 72 hours, they lose any right to do so and you may sell, keep, or dispose of any personal property they have left behind. If you’ve taken the proper precautions between an eviction by a Sheriff, you won’t be liable for any decisions you make about the property.
Toronto property management companies like HighGate Properties are experienced in dealing with a tenant’s property after their eviction or abandonment of your unit. Our team of property management experts will work to ensure that rules set by the Landlord and Tenant Board are followed closely throughout the process, giving you peace of mind and freeing you up to take care of the more important things in your life. For more information about the Toronto property management and real estate services offered by the team at HighGate Properties, contact us today.