Purchasing a Foreclosure with prior Owner belongings inside

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Helping out my brother in law who just bought a foreclosure. The previous owner still has all their stuff in there but they are not physically living there. The water is turned off and they have an apartment somewhere else. I have been in touch with them. I know someone has certain rights (which would require an eviction) when they have been foreclosed on and they physically occupy the property, but this person just has their stuff there and they reside elsewhere. They said the bank was going to give them money for Cash 4 Keys but they never got around to getting all their stuff out of the property to get the money from the bank. 

Anyone have any idea what their rights are from similar experience? All responses come with the caveat "consult a local real estate attorney" :)

First check your state L/T laws.  Those will be the governing docs for this situation.  In our state, an evicted tenant, or one that has abandoned the habitat has 30 days to remove their personal property.

There are also usually  caveats in the L/T laws that allow you to post a x-day notice of Abandoned Property.  In that case, if no response, you can do what you want with the personal property.  

Just an aside:  no rent received from the tenant, and we inspected.  It looked like the tenant simply disappeared from the property.  Absolutely EVERYTHING was left inside the house.  Like they went to work and just didn't come back.  We called them, they said they were out of town on some sort of family issue, and would send in rent.  Rent never came.

We followed our policy, started eviction proceedings, they did not respond or show up, and we got possession.  We had a new tenant that wanted the house immediately.  We rented a POD, and paid to have all the personal property (including tooth brushes) moved into the POD, locked it up tight, and left it parked on site.  New tenant moved in.

Two weeks later, old tenant showed up, wanted their belongings, and had to pay up front for the rental of the POD and the cost of moving their property out of the house.  All worked out. 

Thanks for the response Marc! And good to hear things worked out in your situation too. Looking forward to wrapping ours up just as smoothly.  I'm consulting an attorney on Monday but I think it may be ok. The property was foreclosed on and the bank received the judgement awarding possession previously. Then they sold it to my brother in law, so assuming he has legal possession now. The prior owner vacated the property months ago and it's untenable as the water has been turned off for months too. Think we may be able to argue abandonment of personal property like you said and give them 30 days to pick up their stuff from a storage unit or it will be taken to the dump. T