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Can I sell abandoned property?

Coupeville, WA |

Let a guy put his belongings in my garage & use my address. He's been in & out for a couple years. I've provided lots of financial support; he admits he owes me, signed a paper to that effect (that wasn't notarized). He's called to say he wants to pick up his stuff, but doesn't show. Can I sell his stuff to recoup some of my financial losses? Is there any legal way I can even try to collect the money -it's about $6K? If I need to give him notice of anything, how do I do that if I don't have his current address? Thank you!

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Attorney answers 1


WA doesn't care if signatures are not notarized. If he signed something and the Court can understand the intent of the writing, it is enforceable. But when you have a landlord/tenant situation, and the tenant leaves property behind, you have to give the tenant notice that you need the property to leave your place, and the opportunity for the tenant to respond. See RCW 59 18 310. It clearly spells out what to do with abandoned personal property. In a nutshell you are supposed to give the tenant written notice that you are going to sell the property if they don't pick it up and you have to give them at least 45 day's time. You send this notice to their "last known address" which might be your rental, and any other address reasonably calculated to give them actual notice of what you are doing.

The statute is one of those dense old Remington models from the nineteenth century, but you need to read it carefully. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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