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Left Behind Items? How to Get Back Your Belongings After Being Evicted or Moving Out

Authored By: Neighborhood Legal Services Association LSC Funded
Contents

Summary

  • If you have been evicted or moved from a rental property, you are still able to retrieve your belongings that were left behind, but only for a very limited time.
     
  • Pennsylvania Law, 68 P.S250.505a, gives tenants 10 days from the postmark date the landlord sends written notice that the items were left behind.
     
  • You can request that the property be stored for an additional period not exceeding 30 days from the date of the notice.
     
  • If the tenant fails to contact the landlord within the first 10 days, then the landlord can dispose of all the personal property.
     

Questions and Answers About the Law
 

If I move and leave items behind, can my landlord get rid of my stuff?

No, prior to removing or disposing of abandoned property, the landlord must notify you of your rights regarding the property.

After you move out and provide your landlord with a forwarding address, your landlord must send you written notice that you left personal property behind in the rental unit.

What happens if I do not notify the landlord that I want my personal property back?

If you have NOT contacted the landlord within TEN (10) DAYS of receiving written notice from them that you left items behind, then the landlord may dispose of the items.

How should I notify my landlord?

You should notify your landlord of your intent to retrieve any personal property left behind by calling your landlord and by sending your landlord a letter.

REMEMBER: Keep a copy of the letter you send to your landlord for your record

How much time do I have?

According to Pennsylvania Law, 68 P.S 250.505a, if you have vacated the premises or an eviction was executed by an order of possessions, you have 10 days from the postmark date of the notice to retrieve your property, or to request your property be stored for an additional period not exceeding 30 days from the date of the notice.

When does the clock start?

If you have been served a valid writ or order of possession from an Magisterial District Justice that contains language informing you at the 10-day mark, then no further notice is required. The ten-day clock begins when the writ is served.

Where will my stuff be stored?

Storage will be provided at a place of the Landlord’s choosing and you shall be responsible for removal or storage costs.

Remember: The law often changes. Each case is different. This pamphlet is meant to give you information and not to give you specific legal advice. Please use the information found in this brochure carefully since the law is constantly changing.
 


How to Get Help:


In Southwestern Pennsylvania:

 

Neighborhood Legal Services logoApply online at:
 

www.nlsa.us

and choose "Get Legal Help"


or call

1-866-761-6572

 

NLS provides interpreters and translation services.

All services are confidential
 


Allegheny County Office
928 PENN AVENUE | PITTSBURGH, PA 15222-3757

Beaver County Office
STONE POINT LANDING, SUITE 204A
500 MARKET STREET | BRIDGEWATER, PA 15009-2998

Butler County Office
HOLLY POINTE BUILDING, SUITE C PLAZA LEVEL
220 S. MAIN STREET | BUTLER, PA 16001

Lawrence County Office
TEMPLE BUILDING, SUITE 329
125 EAST NORTH STREET
NEW CASTLE, PA 16101-3751


Across Pennsylvania:

Contact your local legal aid office.

You can locate your local legal office on the 
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network website at:

Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Providers in PA.

Select your county to find the legal aid program serving the area where you live.
 


Funded, in part, by the Commonwealth and through a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). The official registration and financial information of Neighborhood Legal Services Association may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement. Federal Regulations applyingto NLS require that we notify all donors that no funds can be expended by NLS for anyactivity prohibited under P.L. 104-134 or otherwise prohibited by 45 C.F.R.§ 1600 et seq

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Last Review and Update: Feb 12, 2021