If you’re a landlord in Oregon, either by choice or happenstance, your most worrisome concern is probably what happens if a tenant won’t leave at the end of the lease term or after an eviction notice is served. There are horror stories galore and, with the ever-changing landlord/tenant law, landlords question when, and if, they can even evict.
While all the in-tenancy concerns are valid, a landlord should not let their guard down when they find themselves the proprietor of a tenantless residence. A landlord’s obligations to the former tenant, and potentially others (i.e. lienholders, and actual owners), continues after the property is vacated.
Keeping in mind the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is a valuable adage to live by if you are a landlord. Walking into the newly vacated property can be overwhelming. Junk everywhere; old mattresses, toys, movie cassettes, stack of newspapers, the list goes on and on.
While some of left behinds are truly garbage, some of that “junk” may be the former tenant’s treasure. Knowing what to do with that treasure could save a landlord headaches, and even more important, money.
ORS 90.425 regulates the disposition of abandoned property after a tenancy. The statute is long, very long, and confusing, very confusing. Making a mistake could be the difference between having a complete defense should future litigation involving the abandoned property ensue, and paying the former tenant (and the former tenant’s attorney fees) for the value of the property and then some.
Who do you need to provide notice to? What do you do with an abandoned vehicle? What if the vehicle is an RV? What if you don’t know where the tenant moved to?
You may have made it through the lease termination unscathed, but the process is not over. Consulting with an attorney regarding the former tenant’s abandoned menagerie of odds and ends, and how best to dispose of the items, is worth a consideration.