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The Abandoned Property Bill (Act 129-2012) is “a good and balanced law,” agree or disagree?

The Abandoned Property Bill (Act 129-2012) is “a good and balance law,” agree or disagree?

Act 129 or the Abandoned Property Bill is a new law which took effect early September of 2012. The law provides for the rules in the treatment of abandoned properties in the event tenants were evicted or choose to vacate the leased premises voluntarily and the issuance of NOTICE by the landlord informing the tenant to regain custody of abandoned properties.

The Act requires that the landlords will have to give Notice to the tenants who vacated the leased premises while leaving behind personal properties. The law provides that the notice should be sent to the tenant giving him 10 days to recover personal properties left under the care of the landlord.

In case of eviction through court order, the landlord must see to it that the writ contains such notice. In its absence, the Notice requirement will be the responsibility of the landlord. When the tenant fails to act within the 10-day period, the landlord can now sell the abandoned properties to recover the cost of securing, transporting or storing the properties including unpaid obligations as well as damages when necessary.

In case, the tenant conveys his intention to retrieve the abandoned properties, the landlord will have to keep the properties in his possession up to 30 days.  After the lapse of 30 days with no action from the concerned tenant, the abandoned properties can now be disposed to recover the unpaid obligations and storage expenses.

The notice is in effect an authority given to the landlord to recover from the tenant any unpaid obligation.  Inaction by the tenant within the periods mentioned in the Act, the property may now be sold in whatever manner the landlord may deemed best for him.

The proceeds of the sale is applied to the unpaid obligation and the excess shall be given to the tenant  by certified mail or kept for a period of 30 days, after which,  the landowner may keep the funds to himself.

The new law grants better remedies to landlords in case of abandoned properties left by the tenants when they vacate the leased premises. Act 129 is an assurance to tenants that the remaining properties under the care of the landlords after eviction or voluntary expulsion shall be kept until withdrawn.

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Policy Director, Cynthia Witman Daley once said, “I think Act 129 is significant. Prior to its enactment, and with the exception of Philadelphia, there was no law on what to do with a tenant’s things when the tenant moved out and left personal property behind,”

While Act 129 grants the landlords sufficient time to recover unpaid obligations in just a short notice, the tenants are likewise assured that they have still the chance to retrieve abandoned properties within the given period.

In addition, Act 129 requires that the Notice to the tenants must contain the following information:

- address and phone number of the landlord;

- the place where the properties are stored; and

- notice to the tenant informing him to retrieve his properties and store them at his own cost if not retrieved within 10 days from receipt of notice.

Daley surmised that Act 129 is a ‘good law and balance law’. However, if Daley’s thoughts about Act 129 are true, that can only be proven in the days to come.