Can I Sell a Tenant's Property After the Tenant Moves Out?

Full Question:

Our tenant, who was on a month to month lease, sent an email on 3/4/14 stating that she vacated the premises as of 3/2/14. She did not give 30 days prior written notice, therefore violating the terms of the Lease. She stated that she had movers come in and move everything out and leave the keys for us in a drawer in the kitchen. When we went to the home yesterday, 3/5/14, there were several pieces of big furniture, and lots of other items left in the home, along with lots of trash, dog urine ruined carpet and floor boards. Are we, required to store those belongings for a certain period of time before we can dispose of it all? Or, because the Tenant stated that she vacated as of 3/4/14, are we legally able to dispose of all remaining items so that we can begin the work it will take to return the home to a habitable condition?
03/06/2014   |   Category: Abandoned Property   |   State: Arizona   |   #25739

Answer:

Please see the requirements of Arizona Statutes Section 33-1370 below. After sending/posting the described notices and storing the property for 10 days after the declaration of abandonment, the property may be sold if the tenant fails to make reasonable efforts to recover it. Any excess proceeds after deducting money owed by the tenant must be mailed to the tenant at the tenant's last known address.

Please see the following AZ statutes:


33-1370. Abandonment; notice; remedies; personal property; definition

A. If a dwelling unit is abandoned after the time prescribed in
subsection H of this section, the landlord shall send the tenant a notice
of abandonment by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to
the tenant's last known address and to any of the tenant's alternate
addresses known to the landlord. The landlord shall also post a notice of
abandonment on the door to the dwelling unit or any other conspicuous place
on the property for five days.

B. Five days after notice of abandonment has been both posted and mailed,
the landlord may retake the dwelling unit and rerent the dwelling unit at a
fair rental value if no personal property remains in the dwelling unit.
After the landlord retakes the dwelling unit, money held by the landlord as
a security deposit is forfeited and shall be applied to the payment of any
accrued rent and other reasonable costs incurred by the landlord by reason
of the tenant's abandonment.

C. If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit, the landlord shall make
reasonable efforts to rent it at a fair rental. If the landlord rents the
dwelling unit for a term beginning prior to the expiration of the rental
agreement, it is deemed to be terminated as of the date the new tenancy
begins. If the landlord fails to use reasonable efforts to rent the
dwelling unit at a fair rental or if the landlord accepts the abandonment
as a surrender, the rental agreement is deemed to be terminated by the
landlord as of the date the landlord has notice of the abandonment. If the
tenancy is from month to month or week to week, the term of the rental
agreement for this purpose shall be deemed to be a month or a week, as the
case may be.

D. After the landlord has retaken possession of the dwelling unit, the
landlord may store the tenant's personal possessions in the unoccupied
dwelling unit that was abandoned by the tenant, in any other available unit
or any storage space owned by the landlord or off the premises if a
dwelling unit or storage space is not available. The landlord shall notify
the tenant of the location of the personal property in the same manner
prescribed in subsection A of this section.

E. The landlord shall hold the tenant's personal property for a period of
ten days after the landlord's declaration of abandonment. The landlord
shall use reasonable care in holding the tenant's personal property. If the
landlord holds the property for this period and the tenant makes no
reasonable effort to recover it, the landlord may sell the property, retain
the proceeds and apply them toward the tenant's outstanding rent or other
costs which are covered in the lease agreement or otherwise provided for in
title 33, chapter 10 or title 12, chapter 8 and have been incurred by the
landlord due to the tenant's abandonment. Any excess proceeds shall be
mailed to the tenant at the tenant's last known address. A tenant does not
have any right of access to that property until the actual removal and
storage costs have been paid in full, except that the tenant may obtain
clothing and the tools, apparatus and books of a trade or profession and
any identification or financial documents, including all those related to
the tenant's immigration status, employment status, public assistance or
medical care. If provided by a written rental agreement, the landlord may
destroy or otherwise dispose of some or all of the property if the landlord
reasonably determines that the value of the property is so low that the
cost of moving, storage and conducting a public sale exceeds the amount
that would be realized from the sale.

F. For a period of twelve months after the sale the landlord shall:

1. Keep adequate records of the outstanding and unpaid rent and the sale
of the tenant's personal property.

2. Hold any excess proceeds which have been returned as undeliverable for
the benefit of the tenant.

G. If the tenant notifies the landlord in writing on or before the date
the landlord sells or otherwise disposes of the personal property that the
tenant intends to remove the personal property from the dwelling unit or
the place of safekeeping, the tenant has five days to reclaim the personal
property. To reclaim the personal property the tenant must only pay the
landlord for the cost of removal and storage for the period the tenant's
personal property remained in the landlord's safekeeping.

H. In this section "abandonment" means either the absence of the tenant
from the dwelling unit, without notice to the landlord for at least seven
days, if rent for the dwelling unit is outstanding and unpaid for ten days
and there is no reasonable evidence other than the presence of the tenant's
personal property that the tenant is occupying the residence or the absence
of the tenant for at least five days, if the rent for the dwelling unit is
outstanding and unpaid for five days and none of the tenant's personal
property is in the dwelling unit.


33-341. Termination of tenancies

A. A tenancy from year to year terminates at the end of each year unless
written permission is given to remain for a longer period. The permission
shall specify the time the tenant may remain, and upon termination of such
time the tenancy expires.

B. A lease from month to month may be terminated by the landlord giving
at least ten days notice thereof. In case of nonpayment of rent notice is
not required.

C. A tenant from month to month shall give ten days notice, and a tenant
on a semimonthly basis shall give five days notice, of his intention to
terminate possession of the premises. Failure to give the notice renders
the tenant liable for the rent for the ensuing ten days.

D. When a tenancy is for a certain period under verbal or written
agreement, and the time expires, the tenant shall surrender possession.
Notice to quit or demand of possession is not then necessary.

E. A tenant who holds possession of property against the will of the
landlord, except as provided in this section, shall not be considered a
tenant at sufferance or at will.


33-362. Landlord's lien for rent

A. The landlord shall have a lien on all property of his tenant not
exempt by law, placed upon or used on the leased premises, until the rent
is paid. The lien shall not secure the payment of rent accruing after the
death or bankruptcy of the lessee, or after an assignment for the benefit
of the lessee's creditors.

B. The landlord may seize for rent any personal property of his tenant
found on the premises, but the property of any other person, although found
on the premises, shall not be liable therefor. If the tenant fails to allow
the landlord to take possession of such property, the landlord may reduce
the property to possession by an action to recover possession, and may hold
or sell the property for the payment of the rent.

C. The landlord shall have a lien for rent upon crops grown or growing
upon the leased premises, whether the rent is payable in money, articles of
property or products of the premises, and also for the faithful performance
of the terms of the lease, and the lien shall continue for a period of six
months after expiration of the term of the lease.

D. When premises are sublet, or when the lease is assigned, the landlord
shall have the same lien against the sublessee or assignee as he has
against the tenant and may enforce the lien in like manner.

33-321. Maintenance of premises

A tenant shall exercise diligence to maintain the premises in as good
condition as when he took possession, ordinary wear and tear excepted.

33-1369. Failure to maintain

If there is noncompliance by the tenant with section 33-1341 materially
affecting health and safety that can be remedied by repair, replacement of
a damaged item or cleaning and the tenant fails to comply as promptly as
conditions require in case of emergency or within fourteen days after
written notice by the landlord specifying the breach and requesting that
the tenant remedy it within that period of time, the landlord may enter the
dwelling unit and cause the work to be done in a workmanlike manner and
submit an itemized bill for the actual and reasonable cost or the fair and
reasonable value thereof as rent on the next date when periodic rent is
due, or if the rental agreement has terminated, for immediate payment.

TENANT OBLIGATIONS


33-1341. Tenant to maintain dwelling unit

The tenant shall:

1. Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by
applicable provisions of building codes materially affecting health and
safety.

2. Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses as clean and
safe as the condition of the premises permit.

3. Dispose from his dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage and other
waste in a clean and safe manner.

4. Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant
as clean as their condition permits.

5. Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary,
heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances
including elevators in the premises.

6. Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or
remove any part of the premises or knowingly permit any person to do so.

7. Conduct himself and require other persons on the premises with his
consent to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb his
neighbors' peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

8. Promptly notify the landlord in writing of any situation or occurrence
that requires the landlord to provide maintenance or make repairs or
otherwise requires the landlord to take action as prescribed in
section 33-1324.