Dealing with unclaimed belongings on your property can be a bit frustrating. Whether it is a tenant, a friend or a family member that has left their belongings on your property, you still need to handle these items with care or you can end up getting charged for a crime you never committed. Below we look at how long someone can leave their belongings on your property before you can dispose them.
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How Long Can Someone Leave Their Belongings On Your Property
The answer to this is dependent on the state in which you reside and the circumstances surrounding how the person left their belongings behind. This is because different states have different laws as to how abandoned property should be dealt with. This means that if someone leaves their belongings on your property you need to research what the laws in your state say about abandoned property. However, the general rule is that you should call the person or write them a notice of the due date in which they should collect their belongings, before the items can be classified as abandoned property. The letter should be sent out on 2 different occasions. If are unable to get a response from them you can proceed to push for the items to be classified as abandoned property. From then onwards, you can then dispose the belongings as prescribed by the laws in your state.
Rules Regarding Unclaimed Belongings Left On Your Property
Believe it or not, you can actually get sued by someone for selling their belongings which they left on your property. Therefore, you should always follow the rules before disposing any unclaimed belongings on your property. Below are a few rules you need to be cognizant of.
Place Items In Safe Place
If someone leaves their belongings on your house, the first thing you need to do is to place the things in a safe place. This is because, the items are in your custody therefore, it is your sole duty to make sure that they are safe. If the items get lost, damaged or are stolen before they have been classified as abandoned goods, the person can sue you for loss or negligence of their belongings.
Contact The Owner
If you feel like the belongings are now taking up too much space on your property, you need to contact the owner of the belongings. Depending on the state you reside, you can either write a letter or call the person. Make sure you also send them pictures of their belongings just in case they have forgotten about them. You need to save those messages and pictures just in case the issue escalates.
Follow Up With The Owner
After sending the first message, you should wait for about a week. If the owner of those belongings does not get in touch with you, send them another message. Mention to them that this is the second time that you are contacting them and you still haven’t received any response. Remember to also save these messages just in case you end up in court.
Dispose The Items
If the belongings can now be classified as abandoned property by the laws of your state, feel free to dispose them. In some states you are allowed to sell the items and donate the money, in other states you are expected to donate the items to a charitable organization. So make sure you check the laws in your state before disposing the goods. You should also get receipts once you dispose the goods. This will act as evidence just in case the person comes back to claim their property in the future.
What Constitutes Abandoned Property In NC?
If you are living in North Carolina, abandoned property refers to assets that a tenant, friend or family member leaves behind without any hopes of returning back to. This usually happens when the lease of a rental agreement expires and there is clear evidence that the person has left the premises for good without providing any notice. It can also happen when the person has been evicted or when they move out of the house whilst the lease is still active without any notice. For the property of goods to be termed as abandoned, the owner should have been contacted and they should have refused to collect the goods or not responded to the request.
Can A Landlord Move Your Personal Belongings Without Permission?
A landlord cannot move your personal belongings without your permission. If the goods get damaged, you have the right to sue your landlord since he or she would have gone against the law. If a landlord intends on moving your personal belongings, they should contact you directly before taking any action.
What To Do If You Think A Tenant Has Abandoned Property?
If you think that a tenant has abandoned property, the first thing you need to do is to contact the tenant so that they can explain the situation to you. If you are unable to get a hold of them its best to keep their belongings and send them a letter. Continue to follow up on them. Also check the laws in your state so as to see how long it takes for property to be classified as abandoned property before disposing the items.
Can I Be Evicted If I Have No Tenancy Agreement?
Your landlord should give you an eviction notice before he or she can evict you even if you do not have a tenancy agreement. This is because you have rights and you need enough time to find a new place. Your landlord can give you a 1 week notice or 1 month notice depending on the laws in your state.
Different states have different laws regarding how long someone can leave their belongings on your property. So always make sure you do a bit of research before disposing the items. Remember, you can always be held liable if you do not follow the correct procedures.