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What Should a Residential Landlord do With a Tenant’s Abandoned Possessions in Illinois? | Learn About Law

Updated on
October 28, 2019
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we answer the question, “what should a landlord do with a tenant’s abandoned possessions in Illinois?” For some foundational information on Illinois landlord-tenant law, check out: Illinois Tenant Rights Explained.


Whether a residential tenant is evicted, abandons the premises, or simply leaves the premises after the expiration of the lease, he or she may leave some personal property behind.  How the landlord is required to handle deal with this property depends on whether the premises is located inside or outside of Chicago.  


City of Chicago Requirements for Disposing of a Tenant’s Possessions


If the tenant leaves property behind and the rental unit is in Chicago, the Landlord is required to store the property or leave the property on the premises for 7 days after the tenant leaves the property.  After this 7 day period has expired, the landlord may freely dispose of the property.  An exception to this rule is that if the landlord reasonably believes the property to be of such little value that the cost of storage would exceed the fair market value of the property, the landlord may dispose of the property without waiting for 7 days.  


Best Practices of Disposing of a Tenant’s Possessions Outside of the City of Chicago


If the property is located outside of the city of Chicago, the law is unclear as to the landlord’s obligations with respect to property that the tenant leaves behind after moving out.  The recommended best practice is that if the landlord reasonably believes the property to have value, the landlord should store the property or leave it on premises and provide the tenant with notice that if the property is not picked up within a specified reasonable time, the Landlord will dispose of the property.  Typically, 30 days is considered to be a reasonable notice period.  Providing this notice rather than simply disposing of the property will protect the landlord against claims of theft or conversion of property.    


For more on this topic, check out: The Illinois Eviction Process Explained.


What Should a Residential Landlord do With a Tenant’s Abandoned Possessions in Illinois? | Learn About Law
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

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