Goods left behind in a rental property guide

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If a former renter leaves behind anything of monetary value at a rental property, the rental provider (landlord) must notify them and store the goods for 14 days.

What kinds of goods need to be stored?

Goods of monetary value need to be stored for 14 days after the rental provider takes reasonable steps to notify the former renter that their goods are being stored.

The rental provider can throw out goods which are:

  • worth no money (junk)
  • perishable food, or
  • dangerous.

How can the renter collect goods left behind?

The former renter or another person who owns the goods may reclaim them while in storage.

The rental provider may charge an occupation fee if the size of the goods left behind prevent them from renting out the property. The former renter must pay this fee (equal to one day’s rent for each day the goods are stored) before they can reclaim their goods.

The former renter can apply to VCAT to extend the 14-day storage period if necessary, and the rental provider can apply to VCAT to charge a higher occupation fee if necessary.

What happens when the storage period ends?

If the goods are not reclaimed by the end of the storage period, the rental provider may sell or dispose of them. They can keep any occupation fee and the cost of the sale from the proceeds.

The former renter has six months to claim the rest of the proceeds of the sale. If they do not do so within six months, this money is paid into the Residential Tenancies Fund.

What about personal documents left behind by a renter?

Personal documents include official documents, photographs, mail, cameras, computer hard drives, external storage devices, and any other documents a person would reasonably be expected to keep.

The rental provider must store the personal documents for at least 90 days. They must let the former renter reclaim the documents after repaying any reasonable costs the rental provider had to spend to remove and store them.