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Abandoned property laws vary from state to state. View laws for your state as they relate to self-storage facilities. Please check the official statutes for the latest updates.
In generic terms, abandonment of property is the relinquishment of possession and rights over a property. It can result from the non-use of property for a long time. Property as defined in the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act includes tangible property, as well as certain interest in intangible property. Abandoned property is property, the rights and possession over which an owner intentionally and voluntarily relinquishes. A presumption of abandonment may be made from lapse of time and non- use of the property.
However, in the legal sense, abandonment of property occurs only when relinquishment of possession and rights over a property is coupled with an intention to abandon the property. That is to say, mere non- use of property and lapse of time without claiming or using property does not alone constitute abandonment. It must be accompanied by an intention to abandon the property.
Interestingly, the rules regarding abandonment of personal property and real property are distinct. Personal possessions may be abandoned by an owner with the intention of relinquishing title and ownership. Thus, title to personal property is lost by abandonment. On the contrary, title to real property is not lost by abandonment. The laws on abandoned property state that if the real property owner possesses a perfect legal title, it is not affected by abandonment of that property.
Abandoned property law also talks about abandonment of personal property in the context of a landlord-tenant relationship. Personal possessions left behind by a tenant or renter intentionally and permanently in a rental unit after the tenant has moved out is abandoned property. However, a landlord is duty-bound to take care of it and take steps to try to return it to the tenant. This is what the law requires a landlord to do in such a circumstance:
To dispose of the property left behind, a landlord must follow a certain procedure: The landlord must prepare an abandoned property list and send a notice to the tenant or to any other person whom the landlord has a reason to believe may be the owner of the abandoned properties. The landlord may also charge the tenant reasonable costs for storing tenant's property. If the tenant claims the property and pays reasonable costs to the landlord for storing the property, the property should be returned to the tenant. After the property is returned to the former tenant, then the landlord is no longer responsible for that property.
Landlord and tenant law also entitles a property owner to enter upon abandoned property for making necessary repairs. However, when a landlord re-enters abandoned premises in order to make repairs, it does not constitute an acceptance of the abandoned premises. The abandoning tenant is still responsible for the value of the rent.
Yes, abandonment can result from non-use of property for a long time. Laws relating to abandoned property stipulate that abandonment of property occurs only when possession and rights over a property are surrendered with an intention to abandon the property.
The laws on abandoned property vary from state to state. Personal property may be abandoned by an owner with the intention of giving up title and ownership. However, title to real property is not lost by abandonment. When a real property owner possesses a perfect legal title, abandonment of that property does not affect the owner's title over the property.
Yes, as a landlord, you have a duty to safe guard property left behind by a tenant or renter intentionally and permanently in the rental unit after the tenant has moved out. The abandoned property left behind must be returned to the tenant if s/he demands. If a landlord wrongly considers the tenant's personal possessions to be abandoned and removes the property, the landlord will be liable for property the tenant lost.
When a tenant leaves behind abandoned personal property in the rented premises, a landlord is bound to store the property safely. You have to take the following steps:
The notice must contain:
The tenant should deposit any additional costs incurred by the landlord, such as storage costs and other reasonable costs, and claim the property. Once the property left behind is released to the former tenant, the landlord ceases to be liable to any person for that property.
Yes, a landlord can dispose of his/her tenant's abandoned property. However, before proceeding with disposal, the landlord must follow a certain procedure. Pursuant to abandoned property law, a landlord must ensure the following:
Yes, landlord and tenant law entitles a property owner to enter upon abandoned property for making necessary repairs. However, when a landlord re-enters abandoned premises in order to make repairs, law does not consider it to be an acceptance of the abandoned premises.