This policy sets how Housing SA:

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

If a tenant has died, or Housing SA suspects they’ve died, their belongings are managed in line with the Ending a public housing tenancy policy.

Abandoned property

If Housing SA suspects a tenant has abandoned their property, the situation is investigated to confirm they aren’t living there. If the tenant is found not to be living at the property, Housing SA can end the tenancy and take possession of the property in line with the Ending a public housing tenancy policy.

Goods left behind at the end of a tenancy

Housing SA manages goods left by a tenant at a property at the end of their tenancy, also known as abandoned goods, in line with the South Australian Housing Trust Regulations 2010.

Abandoned goods can include but aren’t limited to:

  • furniture and appliances
  • clothing
  • tools and equipment
  • sentimental items
  • vehicles

Once a tenancy ends, the tenant has 2 days to remove their goods before they’re considered to be abandoned.

Housing SA:

  • makes an inventory of the goods
  • photographs them
  • estimates their value

If the cost of removing, storing and selling abandoned goods is more than their estimated value, they’re either disposed of or donated to a charity.

If the cost of removing, storing and selling goods is less than their estimated value, they’re stored for 60 days.

If sentimental items and items of cultural significance are found they’re stored at a regional Housing SA office for 6 months before they’re disposed of.


Housing SA defines vehicles in line with what the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure determines to be a vehicle, including:

  • cars and motorcycles
  • trucks and vans
  • buses and commercial vehicles
  • trailers, caravans, camper vans and mobile homes
  • boats and other aquatic craft

If a vehicle is found on a property, Housing SA investigates to determine if it should be removed. If it does need to be removed, Housing SA tries to contact the tenant or the vehicle’s registered owner to organise a time to collect it.

If the owner doesn’t collect the vehicle by the agreed date, Housing SA may sell or dispose of the vehicle in line with either:

If a vehicle owner associated with a Housing SA tenant leaves their vehicle on a tenanted property or in a communal area, Housing SA manages the vehicle in line with the tenant's lease agreement.

Vehicles not on Housing SA property are reported to the local council or the police.

For safety and security, people aren’t allowed to live in a vehicle, for example a bus or caravan, at Housing SA properties on a regular or permanent basis. People visiting the property temporarily, for example on holidays for a few days, can stay in a vehicle that’s fit for living in provided it’s a roadworthy vehicle parked in a suitable location on the property.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy is based on and complies with:

Supporting documents

  • Abandoned goods procedures v2
  • Managing vacant properties procedures v2
  • Vehicles procedures v2

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

7 May 2020

Version number


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