Q: My former renters stopped paying their rent and were evicted by the court. They were given 10 days to move voluntarily. They moved some furniture into a big pod, but most of their belongings remained in the house. When the sheriff came to evict them, my renters were gone but their personal items were left behind.
In the presence of the sheriff, I prepared an inventory of the property, left a copy with the sheriff and mailed a copy to the tenants’ last known address, which is my property since they didn’t leave a forwarding address. I moved their belongings out, paid $400 to the movers, and now I’ve been storing their personal belongings for 60 days.
I have a receipt from the post office stating that my tenants didn’t get my letter. I went to the police station, but the police told me they couldn’t give me the tenants’ address even if they knew it.
It has been 60 days, and I still don’t have anything from my evicted tenants saying they will pick up their belongings. How much time am I supposed to give them?
A: Minnesota law states that after a tenant is evicted, the sheriff and the landlord are to go through the place and prepare an inventory of any personal property left behind. The personal property is then stored at the landlord’s expense for 60 days, giving the tenant the right to come back and reclaim the property by paying the landlord’s costs incurred in moving and storing the property. Please note this is different from the situation where a tenant just moves out without being evicted and leaves behind personal property. In that case, the landlord needs to store the property for only 28 days, but may not require that the tenant pay costs related to moving and storing the property.
So far, you have done everything correctly. Now, you need to send notice by first-class and certified mail to the tenants’ last known address. If the only address you have for the tenants is the address at the property you own and from which the tenants were evicted, then that is the address you have to use.
You must provide notice to the tenants that you intend to dispose of or sell their property at least 14 days after you send the letters, giving the tenants the right to show up and reclaim or purchase the items. You should also state the costs you’ve incurred related to the moving and storage of your tenants’ property, including the costs up to the day of the sale or disposition of the property.
After 14 days, if the tenants don’t show, you can dispose of the property. If the tenants do show, they have to pay your costs related to the moving and storage before they can reclaim the property.
Q: Can you give me a good resource to use as a new landlord in Minnesota?
A: “The Landlord’s Guide to Minnesota Law” is an excellent book and resource written by HOME Line. The book can be purchased in hard copy or digital edition at the following link: homelinemn.org/publications/landlordsguidetomnlaw. The book covers most issues that a landlord will encounter while renting to tenants and is easy to read and understand. “The Landlord’s Guide to Minnesota Law” is not only a great resource for landlords or property owners responsible for one rental property or several residential buildings, but is also a great reference for tenants. (I receive no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for recommending “The Landlord’s Guide to Minnesota Law.”)
Kelly Klein is a Minneapolis attorney. Participation in this column does not create an attorney/client relationship with Klein. Do not rely on advice in this column for legal opinions. Consult an attorney regarding your particular issues. E-mail renting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Kelly Klein c/o Star Tribune, 650 3rd Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Information provided by readers is not confidential.