Power of Sale and Owner's Personal Belongings

Enforcing common expense arrears through power of sale proceedings may, on occasion, entail the corporation having to deal with an owner’s personal possessions that have been left inside the unit, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. What are rights and obligations of the corporation when this arises? Is the corporation required to arrange for storage of the owner’s possessions? In Ontario, there is a general duty to take reasonable care of the owner’s personal property, including arranging for storage. However, if an owner has not made attempts to recover his or her belongings within a reasonable time, he or she may be deemed to have abandoned the personal property and the corporation will no longer be required to arrange for storage. However, to minimize risk and be shielded from liability, it is prudent for the corporation to store an owner’s abandoned personal property before disposing or selling it. After two or three months, if the owner has not made efforts to claim his or her personal belongings, the corporation may sell or dispose of the items.