Illegal Tenant Items

How should you manage tenants that illegally dump large items like mattresses and unwanted furniture at the property?

As a property management company, we know this can be a big problem for a rental property owner, especially if the neighbors or an HOA is involved.

Read transcript here:

This question is from Susan Johnson Goulding.

“Joe, tenant left weapons after they were evicted from the property. I’m fairly certain they’re just BB guns but without the orange tip. What would you do?”

While we’ve never been in this type of situation, I think some common sense principles apply here. If you find anything questionable in a property, I think the tendency would be to simply call the police. Have them come out, have them confiscate it. File a report with them, and make sure you actually get the incident report number from the officers when they show up. You can also write down the district that they’re in, their specific headquarters, the officers’ names, and document all of that. Make sure to ask them how long it’ll take to actually get the report. Then, after that window of time, take the time and trouble to call and request a copy of that incident report.

Once you have all of that documentation, I would upload it to your tenant files to keep it handy just in case there’s ever a problem. I would also maybe take some photos of the weapons to keep in your file just so you have them. Beyond that, I probably wouldn’t do anything else with them. I certainly wouldn’t want to involve myself unless I had to be involved. When calling the police, I would be as vague as possible and say, “Hey, all I know is that these are here and this is the person who was here last. I don’t have any other details.” Basically, I just would not go looking for any liability or any culpability whatsoever in any of this. Same thing with the documentation-I wouldn’t go and do anything with these photos or the police report, but I would have it all ready in case I needed it.

That’s probably how we would handle that if we ever found anything super suspicious that looked dangerous. In cases with drug paraphernalia that has been left in a unit, we have taken photos to serve as documentation to keep in the file on the off chance that something ever came up and we needed it.

As a property owner, your top priority here is to keep liability away from the owner and to keep liability away from your company, so that’s how I would handle it. Best of luck!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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