By: Steve Williams

Pennsylvania now has a law that prescribes how landlords must handle a tenant’s abandoned property in certain circumstances. Senate Bill 887 was signed into law by Governor Corbett on July 5, 2012 (as Act 129-2012), becomes effective on August 4, 2012, and amends the Landlord and Tenant Act.

In summary, Act 129 requires that tenants remove their personal property when they relinquish possession of an apartment. Relinquishment occurs when a tenant is evicted, or when he vacates, removes substantially all of his personal belongings and gives his landlord a forwarding address or written notice that he has abandoned. The Act provides for a period of time during which a landlord must hold the abandoned property for the tenant to retrieve, and it provides for payment to landlords for removal and storage costs in some cases. Finally, the Act requires that tenants be provided notice of landlords’ rights under the Act.

As a result of the Act, landlords may want to consider amending their leases, or preparing a lease addendum, to provide the required notice. In addition, landlords may want to create a form notice letter to be sent to tenants who leave property behind.

There is more to the Act, and a careful reading of it is recommended. For more information, contact Steve Williams at (717) 234-5530 or swilliams@cohenseglias.com.

Steve Williams is Managing Partner in the Firm’s Harrisburg office, and a member of the Firm’s Commercial Litigation and Employment Law Groups.