Section 6 Abandonment
Sub-Section 6.2

Personal Property


s. 63, 76.1, 106 – 108, The Residential Tenancies Act


Abandoned goods: personal items left behind by a tenant who moves out of a rental unit. Goods are "abandoned" if the landlord didn’t agree to store them for the tenant.

Monetary value: for the purpose of this subsection, an item has monetary value if a landlord can make enough money selling it to cover the cost of packing, moving and storing it.

Order of Possession: a written Order, issued by the Branch, that enforces a notice of termination. The tenant must move out of a rental unit on or before a set date.

Writ of Possession: an Order of the Court of King’s Bench telling the sheriff to enter and take possession of a rental unit.


At the end of a tenancy, a tenant must remove all their property from the rental unit unless they have arranged with the landlord to store it.


Occasionally, when a tenant moves, they leave or abandon some or all of their belongings in the rental unit. This may also happen when the Sheriff’s Office evicts the tenant on a Writ of Possession.

When the Sheriff’s Office enforces a Writ of Possession, they are only required to remove the tenant, the tenant’s family and any pets. If the tenant does not remove their belongings when the Sheriff’s Officer evicts them, the landlord can consider the items abandoned.


If the landlord believes the items have no monetary value, or are unsanitary or unsafe to store, the landlord may dispose of them, without authorization from the Branch, with one exception. If a tenant leaves personal papers or photographs, the landlord must hold them for 60 days before disposing of them. The landlord must also complete a form called Inventory of Tenant's Abandoned Property and send it to the Branch and the tenant. The Branch provides the form.

Note:  A landlord does not have to comply with these requirements before disposing of property that is of limited value (not worth the cost of removal, storage and sale).  Landlords may give these items to a charitable or other non-profit organization, or dispose of them.

If the landlord decides the items left behind have monetary value, the landlord must complete the inventory form and send it to the Branch and the tenant. The landlord must store the items for 60 days. After that time, the Branch will authorize the landlord to sell the items, usually by public auction.


In some cases, the Branch may allow items to be sold other than by public auction. The Branch may set specific conditions for the sale. For example: The landlord must:

  • give the Branch a list of the proposed selling prices for each item;
  • advertise the items in a local paper showing the proposed selling prices;
  • give the Branch copies of receipts for each item sold, showing the buyer’s name, address and phone number, description of the item sold, and the price paid;
  • give any unsold items to charity and provide the Branch with a receipt from the charity;
  • throw away any unsold property the charity does not want.


The landlord can deduct costs for packing, moving, storing and selling the items from the money collected from the sale. If the tenant owes the landlord money under a Branch order, the landlord can put the sale proceeds towards that order. If the landlord does not have an order or the tenant does not owe the landlord any money, the landlord must send the sale proceeds to the Branch. The Branch holds the money for the tenant for two years. After two years, the money is transferred to a fund the Branch uses to provide education material for landlords and tenants.

A landlord can’t hold a tenant’s belongings for unpaid rent or damages. If a landlord refuses to give a tenant their possessions, the tenant may ask the Branch for help. The Branch will try to solve the problem through mediation. If mediation is not successful, the Branch has the authority to order the landlord to release the belongings. If the landlord doesn’t comply with the Order:

  • the tenant may file a claim for compensation (for the cost of replacing their belongings); and

  • the Branch may ask Manitoba Justice to consider prosecuting the landlord for breach of the Order.


If a tenant returns to claim their belongings during the 60 day period, they must pay the landlord’s reasonable costs for packing, moving and storage. If a tenant and a landlord can’t agree on the cost of packing, moving and storage, they can ask the Branch to determine what amount is reasonable. Once the tenant pays this bill, the landlord must return the items.


A third party, like a rental company, may claim that some of the abandoned items belong to them. Before releasing the items, the landlord should ask for proof of ownership. The landlord may also want the third party to give them something in writing to protect them, in case the tenant returns and doesn’t agree with the third party’s claim of ownership.


If a landlord agrees to store a tenant’s personal property at the end of a tenancy, the landlord and tenant should write up an agreement. The agreement should show:

  • the items the landlord agreed to store;
  • how much the tenant will pay for storage;
  • when they’ll pick up their belongings; and
  • what the landlord can do with the items if the tenant doesn’t pay for storage or pick up the goods.

When a landlord and tenant make an agreement for storage, the Branch considers it to be an arrangement outside the tenancy. The Branch doesn’t have the authority to deal with any problems that might come up after the agreement is signed.

If the landlord and tenant don’t have a written agreement about storing belongings, the landlord should follow the usual steps. Otherwise, the landlord may not be protected if the tenant files a claim for compensation for their belongings.

The Branch doesn’t have any authority to deal with belongings left behind by a member of a housing cooperative.



A landlord sends a list of abandoned goods to the Branch.If the landlord indicates the items are of limited monetary value, the officer confirms that the landlord may dispose of the items. If the landlord states that the items have monetary value, the officer advises the landlord about the storage and sale of the belongings.

Steps ▼

1.The landlord sends in a list of belongings left behind by a tenant. The officer looks over the information. If the landlord indicates the items are of limited monetary value, the officer sends the landlord a letter to confirm that the landlord may dispose of the items.

2.If the landlord advises that the items are worth more than the cost of packing, moving, storing and selling, the officer advises the landlord to store the items for 60 days.

3.At the end of the 60 days, if the tenant has not picked up the belongings, the officer authorizes the landlord to sell the items.

4.After the sale, the landlord must complete a form to show the results of the sale. The Branch provides this form.

The landlord may keep enough money from the sale proceeds to:

  • pay for the reasonable cost of packing, moving, storing and selling the items; and
  • cover any money the tenant owes to the landlord because of an Order for Compensation.

The landlord must send the completed form and any leftover money to the Branch.

5.The officer reviews the sale accounting. If there is leftover money, the officer deposits it into a trust account. The Branch holds the money for the tenant for two years. If the tenant contacts the Branch during the two years, the Branch gives the money to the tenant. After two years, the money is deposited in the Security Deposit Compensation Fund.

Forms & Form Letters

Inventory of Tenant’s Abandoned Property
..............................................................Form 12/Residential Tenancies Regulation

Accounting of Sale of Abandoned Property
..............................................................Form 13/Residential Tenancies Regulation


For information on Mediation, see Section 1.
For general information on Abandonments, see this section.

Policy Developed

September, 1992

Last Revision

February, 2024

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