• November 14, 2022

What Do You Do When Tenants Leave Too Much Behind?

If you are new to real estate investment you may be unsure what to do after a tenant moves out and leaves a lot of their belongings behind. Not only does this cause confusion, but it also leaves a considerable mess within your property, giving you more work to do while you also need to locate new tenants to ensure your investment remains profitable. As frustrating as it is, these things happen sometimes, so rather than get annoyed about it, you’re better off knowing your options. 

Try to Contact the Tenants

Your first act when you discover leftover items is to contact the tenants. Hopefully, they have left information about where they are going next. If so, you can ship these items to their new address. However, if your tenants have left so much behind, they are unlikely to have followed the right protocols. You may have information about their old property, such as a parents’ house, and if so use this information to attempt to get in touch with them. You should also still have email and phone numbers. Calling them, sending emails, and leaving messages can encourage them to return your correspondence. 

Itemize and Store

You do not want to throw everything out immediately as this could put you in danger of repercussions on the legal side. Instead, you can put together a home inventory including pictures of everything that has been left behind. Once you have itemized everything, you need to find a place to store it. Be aware that this will be at your expense, though, so you may want to keep a running total and consider if you can get reimbursed by the former tenants if they get in touch. 

Arrange for Disposal Services

If you have tried everything possible to contact the tenants and are still unable to speak to them, you can look at disposal services. Depending on the amount of stuff you need to get rid of, you can book a 5 yard dumpster rental to load and transport all leftover items from the property to a waste disposal site. Again, you may want to keep the bill and send it to the tenants on the off chance they feel compelled to pay you for your efforts. 

Sell Valuable Items

Although unlikely, you might find items that are more valuable than expected. This usually happens when tenants are unable to fit larger and pricier pieces, such as furniture, into their van or car. If this is the case, you can wait six months after the tenants have moved out in some areas before you can sell these items. You must wait this long as it gives the tenants ample time to contact you, and if they have not gotten in touch after six months, it is unlikely they will at all. 


Sometimes, you don’t get the tenants you hope you do. Although many of them will leave your home in excellent condition, some may treat it like a place where they can do whatever they like. If your tenants have left stuff behind, knowing your options should help you deal with any issues without the risk of further problems and legal repercussions. 

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