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Not Holding on to a Tenant’s Abandoned Property Could Cost You!

by Clint Coons on January 13, 2011 · 37 comments

  
abandoned tenant

Your tenant has quit paying rent so you serve him a 3-day notice to “Quit or Pay Rent”. Low and behold he does you a favor by abandoning the property. You are ecstatic. What you thought might turn into 2 months or more of lost rental income has suddenly worked out in your favor. You plan to have your unit turned around and ready for rent by months end. As you enter the former tenant’s apartment you notice he left behind a lot of junk. You expect this, right? When a tenant behind on his rent decides to leave in a hurry, it is highly doubtful he will take the time to clean the place.

What do you do? When I was younger my father’s answer was simple. He would tell my brother and I to clean everything out, i.e., take it to the dumpster, then prep the place for painting. A simple solution to a common occurrence that we practiced routinely. That is, until the tenants learned how to bilk the system courtesy of public interest lawyers who fight for the rights and interest of those less fortunate. Ugh!

The unfortunate fact of the matter is, if a tenant abandons your property the law imposes upon you, the landlord, a duty to serve as the custodian of the tenant’s property. As custodian you are responsible for the safe keeping of the items the tenant left behind. This is referred to as bailment, which is defined as the process of placing personal property or goods in the temporary custody or control of another.

I know this is aggravating, but the law imposes upon the landlord a duty to care for the property and return it to the abandoning tenant. Failure to do so will result in the landlord owing the tenant for the value of the items left behind. I can tell you from first-hand experience that when this type of claim is brought, the tenant always left behind a 60 inch Plasma television, leather sofas, high end stereo systems, etc. – you should be catching my point that if you can’t prove what was abandoned, the tenant will stretch the truth to earn some quick cash from the unsuspecting and uninformed landlord.

How to Protect Yourself

Each state imposes by law a bailment that is set for a fixed term (usually 15 to 20 days). As the landlord, you must hold the abandoned tenant’s property for this fixed term in a reasonably secure area. If the abandoned tenant fails to return and reclaim his property by the end of the term you are free to dispose of it as you wish.

Here is a list of the general guidelines a landlord must follow with dealing with an abandoned tenant’s property:

  • Give the former tenant notice that states what the property is, where it can be claimed, how long they have to claim it, what will happen if it’s not claimed and how much it’ll cost for you to store it (you can be paid for your storage costs before the tenant can obtain his property).
  • When you enter the premises bring another person with you who can verify the property abandoned by the tenant. In some situations videoing the contents could prove useful if the former tenant later resurfaces and alleges you stole his valuables.
  • Hand deliver the notice to the tenant or mail it to his last known address.
  • If the property goes unclaimed and it is worth more than $300 you may have to sell the property at a public sale with competitive bidding (this requires publishing notice of the sale in a local newspaper). If it’s worth less than that amount, you can keep it or dispose of it in any way you like (throw it away).
  • If you sell the property at a public sale, the sale proceeds less your cost must be given to the treasurer of the county where the sale took place, and if it goes unclaimed for at least one year, you can claim that money.

As a landlord you will find that the law appears to favor tenants. This fact may be irksome to you, but it comes with the territory. If you are unsure of your legal obligations check with a local attorney and ask him what is required of you in a bailment situation and whether or not you can demand back rent in addition to costs before turning over the property should the tenant return.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathan Gesner January 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

In my state, anything left behind by a tenant after legal termination of a lease agreement is considered “abandoned” and may be disposed of. I donate it to charity organizations or take it to the dump and it’s perfectly legal.

If a tenant abandons property but it’s not legally classified as “abandoned” according to my state laws, I will place in storage at my expense for a minimum of 15 calendar days. If the tenant comes back for it, they can take possession as soon as they pay the moving/storage fees. If they don’t come back after 15 days, the property is considered “abandoned” and can be disposed of in whatever manner I deem appropriate.

That’s the benefit of living in a Landlord-friendly state!

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Ingrid March 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

it would have been nice to find out what state you live in.
Ya, it would be nice if it is that clear what to do with stuff intentently left behind.
I live in AZ and the written law is not clear to me and I may have to get an attorney just that I don’t get myself in trouble.
Not good!
Ingrid

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Harly Dibundu November 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm

A tenant renting out my garage simply disappeared and hasnt come back, his sell phone is out of service, however he has my information and such but no calls or visits to the house. Its been two years since the tenant left me his motorcycle and failed to come reclaim it. Its literally just taking up space, what procedures do i have to go through in order to rightfully dispose of it, or since we live in northern canada, give it away since it cant be used up here anyways? The motorcycle itself is damaged and certainly not certified to be on the road.

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Nathan Gesner November 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

You can park it out on the public street and then report it abandoned. They will sticker it and likely attempt to contact the owner. After the allotted time has passed, they will tow it away.

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Dave Fitzpatrick January 14, 2011 at 11:41 am

Clint,
Great article! This type of situation happens a lot more than people realize. What one person perceives as junk, is another person’s treasure. I sometimes wonder if those that are abandoning property and leaving behind a trail of debris, aren’t doing it intentionally with the idea of preying on an unsuspecting landlord. I think it’s especially important for newer landlords to read, given the litigious environment we live in today.

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MH January 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

wow, that’s really interesting. I mean, yes, I’m sure it varies state to state, but that’s fascinating. and kind of unfair?

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Paul January 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

I’d like to meet the non-performing tenant that will take the time, trouble, and expense to prove it in court when I ask, “What property?”

Certain types of property can be reported (must be reported) to State officials to comply with escheat– mostly cars, boats, and aircraft– but it’s not strictly limited to these.

There is a Uniform Unclaimed Property Act– and many items can be simply turned in to local authorities and reported as abandoned.

In most (if not all) states, after 5 years, the property can then be reclaimed by YOU as yours.

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BryanA January 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

great article here clint..here’s a legal question for ya…how do you know when it’s officially (or legally considered) abandoned?

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Clint Coons January 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Bryan,

Depends on your state. Typically it is between 15 to 20 days.

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BryanA January 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm

i guess what i meant was, how does the state define ‘abandoned?’ couldn’t a tenant just be on vacation for 20 days? not to mention, i don’t live at my properties and i don’t monitor them 24/7 so how would i know if they’re coming and going or not?? does my question make sense? how can you legally prove a tenant abandoned an apartment in court?

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Clint Coons January 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

Bryan,

It is a facts and circumstances test. If the rent is paid up then you have a problem establishing abandonment. If the tenant is behind on his rent and you have not seen or heard from him in over a week then you have a much stronger position. Post a 3 day notice on his door and tape across the sill/frame. If the notice is still up a week later and not contact then I think you can argue you believed the property was abandoned. Also, when you enter the premise be sure to take note of its appearance. Word to the wise — ask a local attorney about his experience in dealing with similar situations in your area. Something that is not discussed all that often is knowing your local judges. If you manage your own properties it is worth your time to discover which judges are pro landlord. I always avoid bringing ex parte motions when I know the presiding judge views displaced tenant’s as victims.

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MaryAnn Isaac July 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm

What if the tenant hasn’t made any attempts at paying rent in over 3 months and manager gave her an advantage by telling her to just move out and manager wouldn’t start eviction proceedings,yet after tenant agreed but yet she finally after 3 1/2 months left the apartment but didn’t turn back any keys left it locked and abandoned a few personal items? How long does manager have to hold those items before discarding them in California?

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BryanA January 17, 2011 at 8:54 am

thanks clint..didn’t mean to distract from your article, btw. i like your idea of getting to know the judges.

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Nathan Gesner January 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

BryanA: First, you MUST know your state/local laws! They should define what determines abandonment and what the Landlord is authorized to do.

In my state, personal belongings are considered abandoned when a tenant vacates a property through natural termination of the lease, eviction, or by abandoning the property for more than seven days while owing rent. In each case, the Landlord can dispose of anything considered hazardous, perishable, or of no worth. A rental property is legally considered abandoned when the tenant leaves the unit vacant for at least seven consecutive days while owing rent.

If the tenant leaves items of value behind, we have to serve written notice and give them seven days to claim ownership. If they contact us, we return the property after they pay for the costs of storage. If they don’t claim ownership within seven days, we dispose of the property as we see fit.

As Paul already pointed out, most tenants leave stuff behind because they don’t care about it and you’ll never hear about them. Even if they do come back and sue, they have to prove what was left behind and that you broke the law by disposing of it in the manner/time you did. That’s a hefty burden unless you’re dealing with a pro that knows the laws inside/out and has taken the time to set the whole thing up. Know your law, document requirements in the lease agreement, and follow the rules and you’ll never have a problem.

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Joshua Dorkin January 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Nathan – There are a lot of professional tenants out there just looking to scam a landlord. While the bulk of people may leave things they don’t care about, these guys may do it with the intent to screw you. You have to always protect yourself against people because these guys can cause you a ton of headache.

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Nathan Gesner January 17, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I don’t disagree that it’s possible and has happened in the past. However, I personally know professional property managers with decades of experience in short- and long-term rentals and they’ve NEVER had this happen a single time. Just like any criminal, they are more likely to prey on the weak. You won’t be targeted if you demonstrate knowledge of the law, use current/complete/enforceable contracts, and document everything properly from day one. If you’re a part-timer and don’t know what you’re doing, a scam artist will figure this out and try to take your lunch.

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BryanA January 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

nathan, thanks for the obvious reminder to me and everyone else..of course you must know your local laws…that being said (and i’m no legal expert, so take this as you will), i’m if a judge, i’m not buying a landlord’s argument that the tenant abandoned the apartment, unless the landlord had the property on surveillance for 24 hours a daythe entire time…i think it’d be difficult to prove abandonment just bc the tenant wasn’t answering your calls, or the door, or he wasn’t home for a week…taping a note on the sill of the door is a good idea however…any other ways you can think of to prove the tenant wasn’t there, even though you haven’t been actively surveying the property 24 hours a day?

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Paul Christian July 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm

It is good to see that we are trying to educate each other so that we don’t end up in bad deals and costing us money. Baitment is one of the more frustrating laws that each state imposes in their own way. My attorney added a large section into the rental contract about this. The potential tenant signs the paragraph and initials each sentence. on all of my contract where money or property is concerned. In Volusia county Florida you have to have the property in a safe enviroment for 21 days. When the client vacates the home physically we go in and secure the home with plywood and 2 x 4′s. The backdoor is not boarded shut and carries the same dead bolte and key l0cks to allow them access. You are allowed to charge $25 a day storage fee but not hold the property for payment. After the last day I advertise a local sale and have a yard sale. There is a strong push to give the tenants a voice in a lot of matters and I agree with most of what they are doing until it costs me money and keeps my property empty.

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Ramon August 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Hey Clint,

Interesting article and I appreciate the help. I’ve bene scouring the interwebs the last few days but I can’t seem to find an answer to a situation like this but different because it’s family and no lease.

My sister was living with her husband and his parents. For whatever reason they kicked her out of there. So she moved back to my mom’s house. After a few months it turned out she was stealing my mom’s debit cards and stealing. She was kicked out. She was able to stay at a friend’s for a few months but ultimately, got kicked out. So my mom let her come back home.

A few months go by and lo and behold she’s stealing again, but now it’s credit cards and thousands of dollars. My mom confronts her and she runs away. We have no contact with her but we did realize she’d sneak in late at night to sleep and then leave before we were up. After more money is charged on the cards, we changed the locks. She broke in. We filed police reports for the break in and credit card fraud. She broke in again. Another report. She was arrested shortly thereafter.

I threw out all of her stuff. My mom had called and left her several voicemails to remove her property but she never called back. Are we in the wrong? Are there any loopholes since we felt endangered by her actions? Is it too late to start the paperwork process knowing she can’t come get the few things left since she’s in jail?

Any items worth anything we still have. A camera, a kindle, nintendo DS, some jewlery. Everything was else was clothes and items with “sentimental value”.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Ric November 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Hello everyone,
I have a situation where my tenants, husband and wife, have abandoned the rental property for at least 3 months, along with the electricity, water, and gas have been shut off since then, and they have left certain belongings such as furniture and stuff. I have placed their items in a storage facility and sent out letters to last known addresses. I have received a phone call from the husband wanting to reclaim the items. My question is do I need both tenants present in order to hand over the items considering they have both signed the lease agreement or could I return them to the husband only? This is in California.
Thanks!

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nicole January 4, 2012 at 9:48 pm

i moved in to my mothers after a diveorce, i have never lived with her before. She allowed me to stay there rent free. After a few months we started fighting and she tired to evicte me she filed the unlawful detainer form and i replied but after that she never paid the fees and it was dropped . i then moved out and she agreed to let me store some of my property in the garage. #3 months later i was driving by and my stuff was on the curb. Personal papers, furniture, ect… most of it was then broken or picked up by drivers earlier in the day. i live in riverside co. ca, what can i do to defend myself? is it agaist the law? i realize its civil but what about property damage is that something she can be arrested for?

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alex January 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

I own an auto detail shop and was approached by a mechanic who wanted to rent half my shop and pay me rent/utilities and such. He did not want to officially sign a lease or rental agreement and would pay me cash for the rent and utilities. He moved in and paid me the first months rent in full. The second month he went on vacation and when he got back the rent was over 3 weeks late. As we head into the 3rd month and I approched him for the rent he got mad and claimed he could not afford this with paying rent and bills to me. He up and left and left behind a tool box with a small amount of tools and it was locked up. When he left I only had one way to contact him and I left messages that the box has to be pciked up ASAP. Now it has been a total of 5 months since the guy left my shop and he did not pay ANY of the utilities and left me with the tool box and other crap that just made it difficult. After the 5 months passed I ended up selling the toolbox to recoup some of the money and just get it out of my shop. It had been stored in my back room and I NEVER received any calls, letters or emails in regards to the owner wanting the tool box back so when the 5 months passed I sold the box. Now I am getting calls and NOT from the owner but a contact of his that he wants the box back…I have not eplained to him the box is gone and checked all over the internet what the laws are in NY and its seems I did everything right..I stored it, I made an effore to contact the owner to remove it and waited over 30 to sell it. Wa sI right and am I in any legal troubles with this situation? I dont want a hard time BUT I feel I did the right thing by waiting and also trying to contact him to remove it. Please let me know what your advice is.
Alex

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Daniella Mancini May 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

What about if your tenant has died, has been estranged from his family for years and his stuff is still in our condo, have workers ‘working’ around the stuff. It’s his clothes, bills/newspapers, couple couches, nothing worth over 300, from what I’ve been told. We’re in the UK, condo is in CA. Was told to make sure and take pictures before discarding anything. He’s been gone about four weeks now? I’m freakin that one of his ‘kids’ will show up. Can I get in any major trouble if I get rid of his personal belongings? I need to clear it out so the rest of the workers can do their jobs. Thank you for any help/advise.

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Mary July 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

There are some crazy hateful landlords out there

I subleased an apt for 4 months. The lease ended on Mar 31st. I had an appt with the landlord that day to go through the apt but he did not show up. I left some boxes, suitcases, and plastic container with stuff, blankets and placed them in the storage unit of the apt. When I came back on April 2nd the stuff was gone. He had thrown out the stuff in storage barely 7 hrs later! I was able to salvage some things from the dumpster but I’m missing expensive items. Multiple attempts to reach the landlord that day was futile. He told my roommates he disposed of my stuff and what I should go pick it up from the dumpster before trash pick days. And he was going to donate the rest . I have to add: the landlord was upset that I did not re-new my lease with him. But I never sensed he was this bitter and spiteful.

I have items that were worth over $2500 in total taken and some I was able to salvage from the dumpster. Despite all the evidence that the items were mine, the landlord did whatever he felt like. Also on a conversation he had with another tenant over the phone (he did not realize he was on speaker and I was listening) he said he knew the items were mine and he did not like me that was why he trashed them. He then lied to the tenant that I threaten him.. when the tenant asked how, he said “oh, by defamation”. Then he told the tenant that I will probably come back to the apt and destroy the place and that I must have broken in to get the rest of my stuff. The current tenant said they let me in and I do not have keys since I gave it back to him and that they have know me for yrs and that I’m not the kind of person to do such a thing. Anyways, for over 2 weeks they have been giving me the run around to get my stuff. At this point I want to file a small claims law suit and also add emotional distress to that sue. I’ll appreciate you guys feedback…Thanks

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Hanh November 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Can we throw away the tenant stuff, if she did receive refund the sercurity deposit, and told us to come back 2 hours to rent the U haul to get her stuff in garage. But after she get check, she cash and never come back. We keep calling her, but she not answer the phone, and we do not where she live now. Can we hold her stuff and diposed them after 7 days? She did sign she move out on that day and we not own her any deposit money. We live in Minnesota
Thanks,

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Clint Coons November 5, 2012 at 8:16 am

Hanh,

If it is garbage you can throw it away. If it is valuable then here is the Minnesota statute:

Minnesota Statute 504.24 Sub.1)
504.24 PROPERTY ABANDONMENT
Subd. 1. If a tenant abandons rented premises the landlord may take possession of the tenant’s personal property remaining on the premises, and shall store and care of the property. The landlord has a claim against the tenant for reasonable costs and expenses incurred in removing the tenant’s property and in storing and caring for the property. The landlord may sell or otherwise dispose of the property 60 days after the landlord receives actual notice of the abandonment or 60 days after it reasonably appears to the landlord that the tenant has abandoned the premises whichever occurs last and may apply a reasonable amount of the proceeds of the sale to the removal, care, and storage costs and expenses or to any claims authorized pursuant to section 504.20, subdivision 3, clauses (a) and (b). Any remaining proceeds of the sale shall be paid to the tenant upon written demand. Prior to the sale the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to notify the tenant of the sale at least 14 days prior to the sale, by personal service in writing or sending written notification of the sale by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant’s last known address or usual place of abode, if known by the landlord, and by posting notice of the sale in a conspicuous place on the premises for at least two weeks.

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Katie November 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I moved into a rental house that i rent from my mom. My sister previously lived there paying no rent. There was no lease. She abandoned the rental in March of 2012. My boyfriend and I had talked to my mom who gave us permission to rent the house from her. We gave my sister from the middle of may to July to get her stuff out. She came and went and only took the stuff that was personal to her. We have since then moved her stuff into the garage and into her camper. She is now threatening to take me to court about it saying that I owe her for everything, yet she has taken the majority of her belongings through out the months. I was wondering if i had any stand in this or if there is anyway to go about giving her a 60 day notices ect. I live in Minnesota.
Thank you

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garsevan December 24, 2012 at 12:49 am

By the law of California, how long can the apartment manager hold the tenants staff. They moved out about 22 days ago, but they have a few staff in the apartment. They said they will come and take it, but they didn’t. Every time when i contact to them, they say that they will come, but they don’t. I do want to know maximum how long we can keep those staff in the apartment.

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Nathan Gesner December 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

Have you ever looked at the California Landlord-Tenant Handbook? It’s very simple to find and explains everything clearly. For those unable to do a Google search, here’s the link: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/index.shtml

If you are operating as a property manager, I highly recommend you spend some time learning the laws before you wind up in court and make a fool of yourself. The best way to defend yourself from a lawsuit is to learn the law and get your ducks in a row BEFORE the problems arise.

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Jaime January 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

My boyfriend and I live together and he house is for sale and I just bought a house and he moved in with me. Well I lost my job and it was hard making two house payments. My girlfriend of 13 years was looking for a place so I was thinking she could rent my boyfriends place until it sold. The only problem was she couldn’t afford the house payment so we asked how much can you pay… She said half we said well that’s better than nothing. All utilities where already on and she didn’t have to pay to have them turned on she said she would just pay them as they came in. Shame on us we just had an oral agreement nothing written out or signed. She was 2 months behind on utilities and 1 month late for rent. We had stopped by the house one night to get something and when we walked in it was trashed. Meanwhile the house is still for sale and we had agent calling wanting to show the house, I received the call at 9AM from the agent for a showing from 10-11 AM. I had called renter and text no response from her. Knowing the house was trashed from the night before I called agent back and asked if they could come at noon. I went over there to clean it up and when I walked in the place was clean. Never once did she respond to me or ever call until Sunday i got a text saying she lost her phone and just got it back. Really then how did she know to clean the house? Since she never responded to me we sent her a text telling her she had to be out by next weekend still nothing. (originally she was to be out by the end of the month) Because she wasn’t responding to us we told her we changed the locks and if she could come up with the money for utilities she could get back in and get the rest of her stuff we knew we weren’t going to see rent money. She finally said that she stayed at her cousin’s because she felt bad she didn’t have rent. So the locks have been changed and we have let her once to get clothes. I sent her a text saying that someone is moving in this weekend and she needs to pay us or we would start selling her stuff unless she pays us back. She sends a text back she will be there today and tomorrow to move her stuff out with a cop. I said you told me that we would be the first person you pay when you got the money she said she used that money for deposit for an apt. Some friend. Got to love case-net she’s not going to be calling a cop anytime soon since shes got a warrant out. She had more excuses when she was going to pay. Well I can’t wait to see the out come of her apartment and if they will be as nice as we have been.

There was no contract oral arrangements rent is do the 1st of every month she was to keep house clean at all times and pay utilities bills. Also was told not to move in all her stuff cause we weren’t sure how long the house will be on the market. She moved everything she owned in.
Not to mention she blew $11,000.00 in two days on a car, new bedroom furniture and Christmas.
So what grounds do I have for her belongings?

Thank you for your time,
Jaime

State: MO.

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Dusty Corner January 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

My ex boyfriend wants to come back in. The apartment is now in my name, He has had numerous restraining orders and the like over the past year, has moved in and out.
My landlord will not do anything nor get involved. Ex is now threatening to bring the police because he says he didn’t get all his stuff this past RO. How long do I have to put up with this,
I have no funds for storage nor do I have more than 3 things – but one is heavy. He’s also very well versed in tenants rights and a former attorney. I just want him to stop using the police and me and get lost. But he won’t….

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Michelle March 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Clint I have a question. I am purchasing a mobile home and had a roommate. She is not on any of the things for trailer. I asked her to move out and she agreed and gave me a move out date. She had the utilities that were in her name either transferred or shut off and they are now in my name. She has not come back to the trailer since her move out date. How long in Indiana do I have to wait to consider her property abaonded? Am I able to put it in my shed so that my children can have their room back?

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amy May 1, 2013 at 3:16 am

Please help!! :)
I have read the Arizona Residential Lanlord Tenant act & even made some phone calls but I still can’t get a straight answer. Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated.
I had a tenant renting 2 rooms in my home. He gave his 30 day notice on 4/1/13 and rent was paid. He moved the majority of his items out in the middle of the month. He said I could put the rest if his items in the garage & that he would get them out by the end of the month, so I did. Today (the last day of the month) he left the house key & garage door opener in the garage, BUT DID NOT TAKE ANY OF HIS ITEMS IN THE GARAGE.
Is that considered abandonment? Can I sell, donate or toss them now? Do I have to store them for a certain amount of time? Please help!!
I did not get a security deposit bc he was a previous renter, but he left things a mess. And I have accrued over $300 in expenses so far.
Thank you for any info you mat have to help.
Thank you
Amy

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mist June 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

oregon if someone visiting you for 3 days not on any contracted and gets arrested and after they get out of jail they don’t want to pick but they want you to drop it off and there is no way to drop it off what do i do with there items there item up what do you do with their belongings
i heard if the guest is not on the contracted and if they leave the half to take there stuff then and there or it is called abandonment a lawyer told me that i am just making sure it is true or not .

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Sam December 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I would like to know what I can do about my ex’s stuff in Florida. I have an injunction against him and he has not been on the premises in over 100 days. He was only living here with me and was not even on the lease as a co-signer. Am I able to just dispose of it at this point without having any problems? I am unable to have contact with him for other matters currently in the mix. This means I have no way to send him a letter giving him a time period to come collect his belongings and I also have no address for him.

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Meagan May 23, 2014 at 3:47 pm

A friend of mine was staying at my home from Feb 18th to April 11th. She agreed to pay 50 a week and never did. She was never on a lease. We had a verbal agreement. She left April 11th and said she would start paying me the money owed no later than 2 weeks of her being gone. I received 50 dollars this past Saturday and nothing else. I finally told her that if she did not pay me the full amount by today I was going to sell her stuff out of my garage. Am I legally allowed to do that. I live in Missouri.

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Nicole June 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Clint,
I am asking this for two friends. We live in California. Two years ago they moved into a friends home, with him. He told them that he owned the house and he is the person they paid rent to. There are three houses on the property. Them in one, his grandparents in one and his parents in one. They were unfortunately arrested (all 3 of them) from the home, early morning time. That evening one of the tenants was released. She came home and found the house was completely empty! I mean even the magnets on the refrigerator were gone. She walked towards the landlords parents home and could see some of her belongings on their front porch like their car rims for example. They have a big trash bin on the property and she climbed up to look inside. The bin was full of a lot of their belongings. Couches, rugs, her husbands clothes and shoes, coffee table, dresser, mattresses, most but not all of their expensive snowboarding equipment, I mean they literally dumped almost the entire house in there! Except what wasn’t in there was the flat screen TV, the Xbox and PlayStation with games, the stereo equipment and surround sound speakers. You know what I mean… All of the nice, new and expensive things. She also had a lot of name brand clothes, purses and a lot of shoes!! None of her clothing items were in the trash bin.
She tried to get what she could but she is pregnant with a big belly. By that time a police officer had pulled up. The parents of their landlord had called them and reported her as trespassing on the property!!! (they were obviously very upset them and their son had been arrested) … The police officer told her she needed to leave. She explained to him that she lived there and had just come home to all their belongings stolen and thrown away! He asked for a copy of the lease. She told him it was in the home and the parents clearly threw it away, along with her wallet and ID, Drivers license, debit card, social security card, birth certificate and even photo albums with priceless pictures ect… She told him she wanted to file a police report and he told her he wasn’t going to do that to them. He still made her leave as if she were trespassing!!!! The next day it rained so any chance of salvaging what they could before the bin was emptied was gone.
FYI.. The grandparents are still owners of the home, landlord thought they had put it in his name but they never did. That shouldn’t change their rights as tenants though, correct?

I understand the parents being upset at everyone for being arrested but I don’t think what was done to them is right or fair. There has to be something they can do?? That was their home and years and hard work of their belongings. Where should they start if the police wont file a police report against them?

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