Pennsylvania Statutes Title 68 P.S. Real and Personal Property § 250.505a. Disposition of abandoned personal property

(a) Upon the termination of a lease or relinquishment of possession of real property, a tenant shall remove all personal property from the leased or formerly leased premises.  Abandoned personal property remaining on the premises may be disposed of at the discretion of the landlord, subject to the provisions of this section.

(b) Personal property remaining on the premises may be deemed abandoned if any of the following apply:

(1) The tenant has vacated the unit following the termination of a written lease.

(2) An eviction order or order for possession in favor of the landlord has been entered and the tenant has vacated the unit and removed substantially all personal property.

(3) An eviction order or order for possession in favor of the landlord has been executed.

(4) The tenant has provided the landlord with written notice of a forwarding address and has vacated the unit and removed substantially all personal property.

(5) The tenant has vacated the unit without communicating an intent to return, the rent is more than fifteen days past due and, subsequent to those events, the landlord has posted notice of the tenant's rights regarding the property.

(c) Where the tenant is deceased and leaves personal property remaining in the demised premises, the provisions of this act shall not apply.  The disposition of personal property in the case of a decedent shall be governed by the provisions of 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 711(1) (relating to mandatory exercise of jurisdiction through orphans' court division in general) and 3392 (relating to classification and order of payment) and other relevant provisions of 20 Pa.C.S. (relating to decedents, estates and fiduciaries).

(d) Prior to removing or disposing of abandoned property, the landlord must provide written notice of the tenant's rights regarding the property.  The tenant shall have ten days from the postmark date of the notice to retrieve the property or to request that the property be stored for an additional period not exceeding thirty days from the date of the notice.  If the tenant so requests, the landlord must retain or store the property for up to thirty days from the date of the notice.  Storage will be provided at a place of the landlord's choosing and the tenant shall be responsible for costs.  At all times, the landlord shall exercise ordinary care in handling and securing the tenant's property and shall make the property reasonably available for purposes of retrieval.

(e) Notice shall be sent by first class mail to the tenant at the address of the leased premises and to any forwarding address provided by the tenant, including any address provided for emergency purposes.  The notice shall be in substantially the following form:

Personal property remaining at (address) is now considered to have been abandoned.  Within ten days of the postmark date of this notice, you must retrieve any items you wish to keep or contact your landlord at (telephone number and address) to request that the property be retained or stored.  If requested, storage will be provided for up to thirty days from the postmark date of this notice at a place of your landlord's choosing, and you will be responsible for costs of storage.

(f) Under no circumstances may a landlord dispose of or otherwise exercise control over personal property remaining upon inhabited premises without the express permission of the tenant.  If the conditions under which personal property may be deemed abandoned no longer exist, the landlord shall have no right to dispose of or otherwise exercise control over the property.

(g) Except with respect to the provisions of subsection (h), in the event of a conflict between the provisions of this section and the terms of a written lease, the terms of the lease shall control.

(h) Notwithstanding any provision of this section to the contrary, if a landlord proceeding under the provisions of subsection (b)(3) has actual knowledge or is notified of a protection from abuse order entered for the protection of the tenant or a member of the tenant's immediate family, the landlord shall refrain from disposing of or otherwise exercising control over the personal property of the tenant for thirty days from the date of the notice.  If requested, storage shall be provided for up to thirty days from the date of the request.

(i) A landlord that violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to treble damages, reasonable attorney fees and court costs.


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