Tenant Belongings: Situation #3 – Tenant Abandons the Rental Unit
Welcome to Landlord’s Self-Help Centre’s module about dealing with tenant belongings when the tenant abandons the rental unit. The information offered in this presentation is intended as general information, it is not legal advice. If you need more information, please contact a legal service provider.
Residential Tenancies Act, 2006
In Ontario, the Residential Tenancies Act is the provincial law that governs most residential rental agreements. It defines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants and outlines appropriate ways for dealing with tenant belongings when the unit has been abandoned.
Situations Involving Belongings
There are many situations involving tenant belongings left behind in a rental unit. This module will focus on Situation #3 where the tenant abandons the rental unit.
Situation #3- Rental Unit is Abandoned
When a tenant abandons the rental unit this means they left the rental unit without:
- Agreeing to end the tenancy with the landlord;
- Providing notice to the landlord;
- Receiving notice from the landlord; or
- Receiving an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Factors in determining abandonment
It’s important to note that a rental unit cannot be considered abandoned if the rent is still being paid. To help you determine whether the tenant abandoned the rental unit, consider the following:
- Has the tenant not been seen at the unit for some time?
- Did the tenant tell someone they were moving out?
- Did anyone see the tenant move out of the unit?
- Is the tenant’s mail piling up?
If you are unsure whether the tenant abandoned the rental unit, it may be in the landlord’s best interest to complete the eviction process through the Landlord and Tenant Board.
When tenant belongings are left in the rental unit…
If you have determined that the tenant abandoned the rental unit, but they have left belongings behind, the landlord must either:
- File an L2 Application with the Landlord and Tenant Board for an Order terminating the tenancy based on abandonment; or
- Provide notice to the tenant and Landlord and Tenant Board of their intention to dispose of the belongings if the tenant does not pick them up within 30 days of the notice being provided.
The notice of intent to dispose of the belongings can be sent to the tenant’s new address and faxed to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The letter should include the tenant’s name, landlord’s name and address of the rental unit.
Landlord must wait 30 days
After providing notice to the tenant or receiving an abandonment order from the Landlord and Tenant Board, the landlord must wait 30 days before they can sell, keep or dispose of the belongings left behind.
Tenant claims belongings
If, within the 30 day period, the tenant contacts the landlord to collect their belongings, the landlord must make the belongings available to the tenant. However, before being provided access, the tenant may be required to pay any outstanding rent, and any out-of-pocket expenses the landlord had to pay to move, store or secure the tenant’s belongings.
Tenant returns within six months
If the landlord sold the tenant’s belongings but the tenant returns for them within six (6) months, the landlord must give the tenant the proceeds of the sale after deducting any outstanding rent or out-of-pocket expenses.
Thank you for watching this module about dealing with tenant belongings when the tenant abandons the rental unit. The information offered in this presentation is intended as general information, it is not legal advice. If you have a specific issue or situation, please contact a legal service provider.