Can I throw away a previous tenants belongings?

Question from Dave Milich updated on 20th October 2006:

Hi, my tenant shifted out 2 months ago. She asked me to store some of her furniture under the house and the little shed for a week till she gets the truck. However after lots of promises to take the stuff away it's still there. My new tenants are unhappy and I might lose them if this goes on. Please help...I feel I should just take the stuff out on the road and let people help themselves. Thank Dave

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

A landlord has an obligation under the Residential Tenancies Act to store goods safely and securely (whether on site or elsewhere) until they have a Tenancy Tribunal order to dispose of the goods or the tenant picks the good up. You must make an application to the Tenancy Tribunal for a Disposal of Goods Order.

A landlord cannot dispose of any goods without an order from the Tenancy Tribunal. A landlord can charge for storage costs when they make the Tenancy Tribunal application. You can make an application online at and pay the $20 application fee with your Visa or MasterCard.

You can also complete a paper form and send by mail to PO box 50546 Porirua, fax to 04 237 1058, or email to You must pay the $20 application fee at Westpac bank before submitting your application. Forms and information are available from the Department of Building and Housing free phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 83 62 62) or from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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