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PA House adopts law dealing with tenant’s abandoned property


May 7, 2014

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania house on May 5 gave its approval to legislation sponsored by Rep. Scott Petri that would clarify the Landlord/Tenant Act with regard to the disposition of personal property left behind when tenants move out. Petri says his bill would save money on court costs that would be passed along to future tenants and would allow vacant properties to get back on the market sooner, increasing the availability of housing.

Currently, a landlord is required to file an eviction proceeding against a tenant who has vacated a property without returning the keys. Since many tenants leave some personal property behind, the onus is on the landlord to try to locate the tenant and serve them with an eviction complaint in order to get the items removed, even when substantially all of the tenant’s property is removed and it is clear they will not be returning.

“House Bill 1714 would enable landlords to discard abandoned personal property if tenants have removed substantially all of their belongings and it is obvious they are not returning,” said Petri. “It would save money on needless court costs—a burden passed along to future tenants. It could also spare vacating tenants from a bad credit rating caused by the filing of an eviction proceeding.”