Abandoned goods: Landlord bulletin issue 14 (October 2017)

This publication is for: 
Landlord / lessorProperty industry

Upcoming changes to the Abandoned Goods Certificate process

As of 1 November 2021, the Commissioner for Consumer Protection will no longer issue Abandoned Goods Certificates due to recent policy changes. We will continue to accept applications for Abandoned Goods Certificates up to, and including, 31 October 2021. 

Please note that this change does not remove a landlord's legal obligation to properly handle goods abandoned by a tenant at the end of a tenancy. Information about the abandoned goods process is available on our Abandoned goods at a rental property page.

10 October 2017

What would you do if a tenant leaves goods at your rental property after their tenancy had ended?  If you want to avoid potential legal issues and claims for compensation, read on.

An Abandoned Goods Certificate (AGC) can protect you against the consequences of legal action your tenant may initiate against you for compensation for having disposed of their goods.

It is not compulsory to have an AGC, however, before you dispose of any goods you need to ensure you understand your obligations for storing the goods and for attempting to notify the former tenant.

Please note, the Department will be unable to issue an AGC where a tenant indicates that their goods have not been abandoned.

You can apply for an AGC if the estimated value of the goods your tenant has left is less than what it would cost you to remove them, store for at least 60 days, and then to sell them at public auction.

If Consumer Protection issues you with an AGC, you may dispose of the abandoned goods in any way you wish.  This excludes disposing of any important personal documents (including photographs), computer hard drives and any other electronic device capable of storing documents, which you will need to store for at least 60 days, and notify the tenant where to collect.

What you will need to apply

To apply for an AGC, you will need to provide certain information.  This includes:

  • The  name and telephone number of the person requesting the certificate (presumably you).
  • Name of your former tenant(s) and their last known mobile phone number or email address (if known).
  • The date the property was vacated (attach a copy of the court order and bailiffs notice if applicable).
  • Details of any attempted contact with your former tenant(s).
  • A copy of a signed statutory declaration declaring the goods may be disposed of (if one has been obtained).
  • An itemised list of the goods you wish to dispose of.
  • Clear colour photographs of each item on the list of goods.

Abandoned Goods Certificate Form

You have the option to complete the Application for an Abandoned Goods Certificate Form electronically and to submit it via email.

Please note there is a 10MB size limit on our mailbox receiving emails.  You may need to divide any emails containing a large number of photographs into separate emails.  If your email is likely to be more than 10MB in size, you can use the Department's file sharing utility.

Any item not identified on the application, or not clearly identified within the photographs provided, cannot be included on the AGC.  You will be advised of any unidentified items and asked to provide clear corresponding photographs to identify them.  We may ask you to obtain a valuation by an authorised person, such as a second-hand dealer or a licensed used motor vehicle dealer, and quotes to remove the goods, store them and sell them at public auction.  You may not need to provide this information, so don't seek valuations and quotes unless we ask you to do so.

Once you have all of the above details, and depending on the value of the goods, you will be advised on whether we will issue you with an AGC, or whether you need to store the goods.

Abandoned items which you can dispose of without an AGC

Perishable foodstuffs - You may dispose of these items after 2 days.

Rubbish - You may dispose of these items immediately. 

We define the following items as rubbish:

  • Newspapers and magazines;
  • Cardboard boxes, plastic bags, household rubbish etc.;
  • Personal items e.g. toiletries, perfume, make up, medicines and pharmaceuticals;
  • Cleaning products, paint, solvents, oil, chemicals; and
  • Non-perishable foodstuffs.

Items requiring alternative reporting

  1. Money - Contact the Department of Treasury for information on how to deal with unclaimed money.
  2. Animals and pets - Contact an animal shelter or refuge for information on what to do with unclaimed animals and pets.  You have a responsibility to feed and water the animals until they are removed.
  3. Firearms, illegal drug paraphernalia or equipment - You must report any of these to the Police.
  4. Rental items belonging to a third party commercial supplier -  Contact the supplier to arrange the return of any item which belongs to a third party commercial supplier such as rented whitegoods or furniture, Foxtel units, shopping trolleys etc.

Further Information

  • Telephone:  1300 304 054
  • Email
Consumer Protection
Last updated 30 Sep 2021

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