RENTAL FURNITURE ISSUES
Many residents abandon the premises or get evicted leaving rental furniture behind. Most managers know how to deal with the property in these situations. Less common is the situation when the furniture rental company calls the manager or shows up at the office asking the manager to allow them access to the unit to retrieve the furniture for which the resident has not paid. Do you oblige? Can you let the representative from the rental furniture company in the unit? Suppose the eviction will be served on Monday morning. Is there any obligation to the rental company?
The Resident is in Possession
Furniture rental companies will often contact you in the event the resident to whom they rented the furniture fails to pay the rental amount. According to the contract the resident signs with the furniture rental company, the resident agrees to allow the company to pick up the furniture in the event the resident is in default. You, as manager though, are not a party to this contract and have no power or authority to grant the company access to the rental unit. If you are notified by the rental company’s representatives, simply tell them you cannot grant them access. They will try to convince you otherwise, but the bottom line is that retrieval of the rental furniture is their problem and not yours.
The Resident is Under Eviction
The fact that the resident is under eviction changes nothing. An eviction is simply a lawsuit by which you are trying to remove the resident. The resident may pay and stay or end up being evicted. The furniture rental company is not a party to the lawsuit and does not have any greater rights to the rental furniture because of the pending eviction.
The Sheriff is Going to Grant You Possession
Near the end of the eviction process, the sheriff’s office will notify you of a fixed date and time when they will come and meet you to give you possession. If the furniture rental company asks you when this is going to occur, simply refer them to the case number, and they can do their homework. If the company wishes to be at the property when the sheriff executes the Writ of Possession, they certainly can, and they can also retrieve the items from the property line after you have placed them there. Do not allow the rental company employees to enter the unit to retrieve the furniture. You are required to take all items to the property line. You neither have any affirmative duty to notify the rental company of when the writ of possession is to be executed, nor do you have any responsibility for the preservation of the property once you take it to the property line.
The Law and Rental Furniture
Florida law requires the furniture rental company to file a lawsuit in County Court, and obtain a writ of replevin in order to have the right to take the rental furniture from a resident without the resident’s consent, if by taking the furniture, the peace will be breached in any way. If for some strange reason the rent furniture was sitting on a first floor open lanai area, the furniture rental company would be able to simply take the item(s) and leave without the necessity of a replevin action. Since most furniture is kept in the unit though, the legal procedure must be followed.
Abandoned Rental Furniture
If the unit is truly abandoned or surrendered to you and you have the proper abandoned property wording in your lease agreement, you may dispose of the rental furniture and any other personal belongings as you see fit. If the furniture is obviously rental furniture or contains markings identifying it as rental furniture, there is nothing improper about calling the rental furniture company and asking them to retrieve their property. Please be absolutely certain that the unit is abandoned according to Florida law or surrendered before ever removing any resident’s personal property. Check to see if your lease has the current abandoned property wording stated clearly:
BY SIGNING THIS RENTAL AGREEMENT, THE RESIDENT AGREES THAT UPON SURRENDER, ABANDONMENT, OR RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF THE DWELLING UNIT DUE TO THE DEATH OF THE LAST REMAINING RESIDENT, AS PROVIDED BY CHAPTER 83, FLORIDA STATUTES, THE MANAGER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE OR RESPONSIBLE FOR STORAGE OR DISPOSITION OF THE RESIDENT'S PERSONAL PROPERTY
- The Curable Noncompliance Examined PART 1
- THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE EXAMINED PART 2
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION – WHAT IT IS
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION AND THE FULL UNIT
- WORK ORDER COMPANY POLICY AND THE LAW