Learning Center

Welcome to our learning center! Whether you’re self-managing and looking for guidance or are just interested in how we manage properties, the videos below will provide you with tips and detailed info on the management process. If you have any questions about the content, feel free to give us a call!

Article: When Should An Owner Leave Personal Property Behind?

Debating whether or not to leave that sofa in the living room or that ladder in the garage because it's too much of a pain to move? Should you drag stuff you don't want to the curb or leave it behind and call your Orlando rental home "furnished"? There are many solutions to this problem whether you're self-managing or hiring a property management company, so the question remains - when should you leave personal property behind in a rental home?

The short answer: NEVER! Personal property left behind will rarely make it back to you in the same condition, if it ever gets back to you in the first place, and can increase your exposure to potential liability.

If you expect items left behind to be treated a certain way or left in a certain condition, say so in the lease agreement as the best Central Florida property management companies do. Detail each item left behind and how you expect it to be returned to you. This would be considered renting the property partially or fully furnished, and a full inventory with checklist, photos, and videos will need to be taken before and after the residency, and you as the owner are responsible for repairing or replacing the furnishings left behind as if they were part of the property itself (with the exception of repairs due to resident damage or negligence).

If you leave any of your personal property behind in the unit because you don’t care what happens to it, absolutely be sure to exclude it from the lease – this means the residents can do what they want with it, and you’re not responsible for it if it breaks. If you don't exclude that sofa from the lease and the cushions tear, you could be responsible for replacing the item if it's leased as part of the property. Additionally, if you don't exclude something from lease or detail the condition of what was left in the property, you could be opening yourself up to massive liability. For instance, if you leave behind a ladder with a broker rung and the residents decide to use that ladder to hang their holiday lights and end up falling off, you as the owner could be liable for their injuries!

Here's another thing to consider - leaving excluded items behind in a home could garner resentment from the renters. If they're stuck with a sofa they didn't want and they're forced to move their things in around it or find a way to get rid of it themselves, that won't put them in a positive frame of mind for the rest of their lease, and could decrease their likelihood of renewing when the time comes. If they're happy about it at first but then it falls into disrepair and needs to be removed, they'll be in a position to have to unexpectedly purchase a new sofa. By leaving personal property behind, you're essentially shifting the burden of responsibility onto your renters, which will not make them feel safe, comfortable, or happy in the long run.

In our opinion as a management company in Orlando, it is always best to take the time to remove personal property, even if it might be more hassle up front. It’s far better to avoid the potential pitfalls and just remove all personal property before you put the home on the Central Florida rental market than deal with the inevitable issues down the road and open yourself up to potential liability.