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property left by tennant still owing money to owner (landlord)

What legal steps must I take to claim property left by former tannant, that has an unpaid balance still pending. What legal forms do I need to acquire to stay within the law??

Each state has it's own criteria for how to dispose of property left behind by a tenant. Under the Resource tab at the top of the home page you will find a drop down box with "Links". There is state specific information. Just click on your state. I am sure you will be able to find your answers there. I believe there is a notice on this web-site that one can use to send to tenant to reclaim their property or lose it. Most states give a certain amount of time and other's simply let the Landlord dispose of it as he see's fit.
Agreed, be careful if you are in a rent control county/city their laws are different. But for most other places here in California, the unpaid balance will need to addressed with the security deposit, hoping it is enough to cover the balance. You may also wish to take it to small claims court and potentially have their wages garnished to pay for your loss. As for left behind belongings, you will need to write them a notice of abandonment of property - send one copy to their work address, to any forwarding address you have for them as well as one to the property address marked "please forward." You have to keep their property secure for 30 days, after 30-days if they have not contacted you to arrange for a pick-up you may discard it any way you see fit.
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