Expedited disposition of tenant property approved

Lawmakers passed a bill Feb. 29 that clarifies the authority of landlords to dispose of tenants’ property.

LB221, introduced by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, allows a tenant to voluntarily designate a person to retrieve property upon the tenant’s death. A landlord will have 10 days following the death of a tenant to make a reasonable attempt to contact the designated person. The designee will have 20 days to respond to the landlord, then 20 days to retrieve the property.

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

The bill also incorporates provisions of LB385, originally introduced by Omaha Sen. Brett Lindstrom.

These provisions permit a landlord or his or her representative to begin eviction litigation five days after notification of the termination of a rental agreement. Currently, the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to wait 30 days to evict a tenant after notification.

The expedited eviction process applies only in cases where tenants, roommates or their guests threaten the health, safety or peaceful enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants. Activities that can prompt a landlord to begin the eviction process include actual or threatened physical assault, illegal use of a firearm or possession of a controlled substance.

Tenants who report threatening behavior to law enforcement or have sought a protection or restraining order will not be subject to eviction.

The bill passed on a 46-0 vote.

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