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Department of Human Services

South Australian Housing Trust

Abandoned premises and goods policy

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This policy sets how Housing SA:

  • manages properties that tenants have abandoned
  • deals with any goods tenants have left behind
  • deals with vehicles left on or near tenanted Housing SA properties.

Abandoned property

If Housing SA suspects a tenant’s abandoned their property, it will investigate to confirm the tenant isn’t living there. If necessary, Housing SA seeks legal possession of the property through the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Abandoned goods

Abandoned goods include, but aren’t limited to:

  • furniture
  • appliances
  • clothing
  • tools and equipment
  • personal effects and belongings
  • any other object determined to be goods by Housing SA.

After taking possession of the property, Housing SA deals with any goods left behind in line with the South Australian Housing Trust Regulations 2010.

Housing SA gives the outgoing tenant two days to remove the goods before they’re considered abandoned.

If goods aren’t claimed within two days Housing SA:

  • makes an inventory of the items
  • photographs all abandoned items
  • estimates the value of the goods.

If the tenant has died or is suspected to have died Housing SA investigate and seeks authorisation, if required - eg from the executor of the tenant’s estate, the Public Trustee, before removing the tenant’s goods.

If the cost of removing, storing and selling the goods is more than the cost of keeping them, Housing SA disposes of or donates the goods.

If the cost of removing, storing and selling the goods is less than their estimated value, Housing SA puts the goods in storage for 60 days.

Destroying goods

Goods left in insanitary or hazardous conditions are recorded in the inventory before being disposed of or destroyed.

Sentimental items

Sentimental items and items of cultural significance are stored at the regional Housing SA office for a period of six months. If they aren’t claimed within the six months, Housing SA disposes of or sells them.


Housing SA deals with vehicles left on its properties in line with the South Australian Housing Trust Regulations 2010 and the Unclaimed Goods Act 1987. The actions taken depends on:

  • who owns the vehicle
  • if the vehicle’s left on or near the property
  • if the tenant’s still living in the property or not.

If the vehicle’s registered to someone other than the tenant, Housing SA attempts to contact the owner, ask them to remove the vehicle, and organise a time with them to collect it.

If the owner doesn’t collect the vehicle on the agreed date, Housing SA waits three months before selling or disposing of the vehicle.

If Housing SA can’t determine who the owner is, the vehicle’s reported to the local council or the police.

People aren’t allowed to live in a vehicle - eg bus, caravan, camper van, on Housing SA properties on a regular or permanent basis.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with the:

Supporting guidelines

  • Abandoned premises and goods guidelines v 2

Related policies and other documents

  • Ending a public housing tenancy policy and guidelines

Date this policy applies from

1 May 2017

Version number


The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS [sm v5.4.7.1] .

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
20 Jun 2019
The DHS website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016