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Any personal property a tenant leaves behind after moving out must first be stored by the landlord. The landlord can collect from the tenant all moving and storage costs. But the tenant can get his or her property back before paying the moving and storage costs. If the tenant refuses to pay the moving and storage costs the landlord can sue the tenant to recover those costs. Minn. Stat. §504.24, subd. 1 (1992). The landlord has 24 hours after receiving a request from a tenant to return a tenant's personal property (48 hours if stored in another location). This period does not include weekends or holidays. Minn. Stat. §504.24, subd. 2 (1992).
Sixty days after the landlord has either received a notice of abandonment, or it has become reasonably apparent that the unit has been abandoned, the landlord may sell or get rid of the property in whatever way the landlord wishes. The landlord must make a reasonable effort, however, to contact the tenant at least two weeks before the sale of the items, to let the tenant know they are being sold or disposed of. The landlord must do this either by personally giving the tenant a written notice of the sale or by sending the notice by certified mail (return receipt requested) to the tenant's last known address or likely living quarters if that is known by the landlord. The landlord must also post a notice of the sale in a clearly visible place on the premises for at least two weeks before the sale.
The landlord may use a reasonable amount of the money from the sale to pay for the costs of removing and storing the property, back rent, damages caused by the tenant, and other debts the tenant owes the landlord under an agreement. Money earned in excess of the landlord's costs belongs to the tenant, if the tenant has written and asked for it. The landlord may not withhold the tenant's property pending payment of any rent that may be owing. If the tenant has asked for his or her property back before the 60 day waiting period ends, the landlord must give the property back. Minn. Stat. §504.24, subd. 1 (1992).
The landlord must return the tenant's property within 24 hours after the tenant's written demand, or 48 hours (not counting the weekends and holidays) if the landlord has moved the tenant's property somewhere other than the apartment building or house. If the landlord or the landlord's agent does not allow the tenant to reclaim the property after the tenant has written for it, the tenant may sue for a penalty not to exceed $300 plus any damages the tenant suffered plus reasonable attorney's fees. Minn. Stat. §504.24, subd. 2 (1992).
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