Handling a Tenant's Property in Nebraska: After an Eviction

Learn the rules landlords in Nebraska must follow to deal with property abandoned by a tenant after an eviction.

If you’ve won an eviction lawsuit in Nebraska, you may feel like tossing the tenant’s belongings out into the street. But Nebraska law sets out specific procedures for dealing with a tenant’s property after an eviction. For more information on dealing with a tenant’s abandoned property, see  Handling a Tenant’s Abandoned Property in Nebraska.

The tenant was evicted but left property behind. Can I clear out those belongings myself?

Yes. Once you have legal possession of the rental unit, then you can either leave the tenant’s possessions in the rental unit or move them to a safe and secure location. You cannot dispose of the possessions yet, though. However, you can charge the tenant for the reasonable costs of storing the property (see  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2306).

How long does the tenant have to reclaim the stored property?

The tenant will have either seven or 14 days to reclaim the stored property, depending on how you give notice to the tenant. If the tenant contacts you during this time and pays the storage fees, then you must give the tenant reasonable access to the property to remove it from your possession (see  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2303).

Do I need to notify the tenant before selling the tenant’s belongings?

Yes. After you have taken possession of the rental unit, you need to send the tenant a notice informing the tenant that the tenant must pick up the property within a certain amount of time or you will sell or dispose of it. If you hand deliver the notice to the tenant, then the tenant will have seven days to recover the property from your possession. If you mail the notice to the tenant, then the tenant will have 14 days to recover the property.

The notice must include the following information:

  • a description of the property
  • a statement that the tenant must pay for storage costs before taking the property
  • the location where the property can be claimed
  • the date by which the tenant must claim the property, and
  • a statement that if the tenant does not claim the property in time, then you will either sell it or dispose of it.

The state of Nebraska provides templates for you to use when sending the tenant this notice (see  Neb. Rev. Stat. § § 69-2303,  69-2304, and  69-2305).

If I sell the tenant’s property, who gets the money?

If you decide to sell the tenant’s property, then you can first use the proceeds of the sale to pay for storing the tenant’s property and the costs associated with selling the property. Any remaining money must be given back to the tenant. If you can’t find the tenant, then you need to give the remaining money to the state treasurer within 30 days of the sale (see  Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2308).

When should I contact a lawyer?

A qualified lawyer  can help you find and understand any rules that apply to your situation. It’s particularly wise to consult a lawyer if you think the abandoned property may be very valuable or if you have any reason to believe the tenant may cause problems later. A good lawyer can help protect you from claims that you have stolen or destroyed a tenant’s property.

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