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.

After a tenant is evicted in Nebraska, the landlord must follow the procedures in Nebraska's Disposition of Personal Property Landlord and Tenant Act (see Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 69-2301 to 69-2314) to deal with any personal property the tenant has left behind. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1446 (2021).)

The tenant was evicted but left property behind. Can the landlord remove the property from the rental unit?

Yes—the landlord can remove the property, but cannot dispose of it. Once the landlord gains legal possession of the rental unit, the landlord can either leave the tenant's possessions in the rental unit or move them to a safe and secure location. The landlord can charge the former tenant for the reasonable costs of storing the property. (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2306 (2021).)

Is a landlord required to notify the tenant before selling the tenant's belongings?

Yes. In Nebraska, when personal property remains in a rental after the tenant has left, the landlord must notify the former tenant and any other person the landlord thinks might be the owner of the property before selling or disposing of the property. The notice must be given within six months of the date of the expiration of the lease or the date the tenant moves out. The notice must be either delivered personally or sent by first-class mail to the former tenant's last-known address. If the landlord has reason to believe that the notice sent to the last-known address won't be received by the former tenant (for example, if the last-known address is the same as the rental unit), the landlord must also send the notice to any other address where it's reasonable to believe the former tenant might receive it.

The notice must include the following information:

  • a description of the property that is sufficient for the owner to identify it
  • 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 (if the notice is personally delivered, the date must be at least seven days from the date of delivery, and if the notice is mailed, the date must be at least 14 days after the notice is put in the mail), and
  • a statement that if the tenant does not claim the property in time, then the landlord will either sell it or dispose of it.

The state of Nebraska provides a form to use to notify former tenants of abandoned property.

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

How long a Nebraska landlord must give a former tenant to claim abandoned property depends on how the landlord sends the notice.

  • When the landlord personally delivers the notice, the former tenant has seven days after the date of delivery to claim the property.
  • When the landlord mails the notice, the former tenant has 14 days after the notice is put in the mail to claim the property.

When a former tenant claims the property and pays any storage fees within these periods, the landlord must give the former tenant reasonable access to retrieve the property.

Who gets the money when a landlord sells the abandoned property?

In Nebraska, landlords can keep or dispose of abandoned property with a value of less than $2,000 in whatever manner the landlord wishes. However, if the abandoned property is worth more than $2,000, a landlord must be sold at public sale by competitive bidding. When the property is sold by public sale, the landlord can use the proceeds of the sale to pay for the costs of storing and selling the abandoned property. Any remaining money must be given back to the former tenant. Landlords who are unable to find the former tenant, must turn over the remaining money to the state treasurer within 30 days of the sale. See Neb. Rev. Stat. § 69-2308 for details.

When should a landlord contact a lawyer?

Although most landlords will be able to handle disposing of a former tenant's abandoned property on their own, there are situations where it would be wise to consult a lawyer. Consider consulting a lawyer when abandoned property may be very valuable or when there is any reason to believe the former tenant might cause problems later. A local lawyer can help ensure landlords that they are properly disposing of the property and protect landlords from potential claims that they have stolen or destroyed a tenant's property.

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