Bill to dispose of tenant property advanced

Lawmakers gave first-round approval Feb. 3 to a bill that would clarify the authority of landlords to dispose of tenants’ property.

LB221, as introduced by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, would require a tenant to designate a person to retrieve property upon the tenant’s death. Harr said the bill would allow families to gain access to the property without having to go through probate court.

“In many cases, families do not have a desire to wait for or incur the costs of a court decision,” he said. “Many times they just don’t want the [property].”

A landlord would have 10 days following the death of a tenant to make a reasonable attempt to contact the designated person. The designee would have 10 days to respond to the landlord, then 20 days to retrieve the property.

A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 33-0, would make the designation of an authorized person voluntary. It also extended to 20 days the amount of time a designee would have to respond to a landlord.

If a tenant’s personal property were not removed within the appropriate time period, the landlord could dispose of the property and would not be held liable for any lost, damaged or stolen property. Likewise, if the tenant’s authorized person did not respond within 20 days, the landlord could dispose of the property.

The bill advanced to select file on a 36-0 vote.

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