When a tenant leaves – voluntarily or not – he must take his belongings with him
July 23, 2012

Pennsylvania Governor signs new legislation on tenants leaving personal property

On July 5, 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 887 sponsored by Senator Browne (R-16) which amends the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951. The amendment allows a landlord to remove a previous tenant’s personal belongings once the tenant has vacated the premises.

When is the amendment triggered?

The new legislation requires a tenant to remove all personal property from the home upon either a court order granting the landlord possession of the premises or when the tenant voluntarily vacates.

  • Court order
    • A landlord is allowed to remove the belongings of a tenant if the landlord obtains a court order granting him possession of the premises.
  • Tenant vacates
    • Physically vacates the premises.
    • Removes “substantially all personal property.”
    • Provides a forwarding address or written notice stating that he has vacated.

Tenant has 10 days to contact the landlord

Once the tenant vacates the residence, if he has left any personal property, he has 10 days to contact the landlord to notify the landlord that he intends to remove his belongings.  Upon this notification, the landlord must retain the property either on the rental premises or at a location selected by the landlord for a period of 30 days.  If the tenant fails to provide notice within the 10 day period the landlord has the right to dispose of the tenant’s property.

 A solution to problem of tenants leaving belongings

In an audio statement issued by Senator Browne he said that the purpose of the law was to provide a mechanism by which the landlord can dispose of personal property that is left behind once the tenant has vacated the rental.  The legislation amends the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 codified at 68 P.S. § 250.101 et. seq. by adding a new section.  The amendment takes effect on September 3, 2012.

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