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What can I do with abandoned stored items?

Northglenn, CO |

I've had a friend's items stored in my garage for 4 months so she wouldn't have to pay for storage. We have since had a falling out and I do not really hear from her. I told her two weeks ago, in a text message, that she replied to, that she needed to get her things out by 6/28/13 because I am moving soon, my landlord's selling my house (showings begin on 7/1/13), and I need the space for MY packed items. She has not come to get her things. She says she needs more time and then she says to throw it all out in the same sentence--she is very combative--all the time. It is enough stuff to have to order a dumpster to dispose of it all--which she won't willingly pay for...what are my options?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    If you can convince a judge that the property is abandoned then you can get rid of it. However, there is no set circumstance or time limit that conclusively establishes abandonment. The Court needs to believe that she has made a decision to abandon her property. If you throw out the property and she decides she still wanted it, then you could be sued for conversion or civil theft (no good deed goes unpunished).

    This is a very difficult situation. You need to give her a clear deadline to remove her property. You also will want to take pictures and make a good record of what property she has at your place so that if you do end up in a legal battle over disposing over her property you only have to argue about her property, not that rare Picasso she suddenly "remembers" leaving with you. She was storing the property in your garage and when you move out of the property there should be no obligation for you to move her junk with you, but until you reach that point you are in a sticky situation.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

  2. You have become the "bailee" of the friend's stored items and thus have a duty to make sure that they are not destroyed and that they are kept in good car. So, put them in a storage unit - either a mobile or stationary one - and charge the storage costs to the friend. You do not have the write to destroy or throw away the items.

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.

  3. I would start by sending a certified letter (copy by regular mail) that you will store the items for 30 days and if she does not retrieve them by the deadline that they will be deemed abandoned.

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