person was living as a guest rent and board free for almost 1 year. She was romantically involved with my son. We thought she loved him and might eventually marry him. unfortunately, it was discovered that she was seeing someone else on the side. He asked her to leave and she took some belongings but left the bulk of her possessions, ie. furniture etc. in storage here. Have requested many times that she pick up her possessions. I set a deadline and informed her that items would be taken to good will. She responded did not want items and then changed her mind and would pick them up. I told her to let me know what items she wanted and I would leave them on the curb. She said that she would call the police if items were missing. So, how do I get rid of her stuff or have her pick them up
The police are unlikely to get involved no matter what happens. The police will see this as a civil matter and will likely tell her to pursue any complaints in court. However, there is a risk that you will be held liable for damages if you do not dispose of the property correctly.
If the items are abandoned, the you can dispose of them as you wish. However, abandonment is a rather vague concept and you can end up with an argument over whether she really abandoned the property or if she still had an expectation that it was hers. If you lose that argument, you could be liable for conversion for the value of any property you dispose of. If you dispose of the property under this theory, you should photograph or video tape the property and it's condition so that at least she will not be able to claim additional items or exaggerate their condition.
Although it may sound excessive, the safest way to dispose of the property is to go through a full eviction. You would need to post a three day notice requesting the removal of the property and then file an eviction complaint seeking an order of possesion. Once you have the order of possession, you can ask the court for a writ of restitution and have the sheriff execute it. If this is done, you can move all of her property to the sidewalk without any liability as the writ will protect you.
The eviction route may be too expensive and time consuming to be worthwhile, especially if the property in question is not particularly valuable. The next best method would probably be to send her a letter telling her that any property that remains at the residence after 30 days from the date of the letter will be deemed abandoned and will be disposed of. The protection is not as complete as that provided by a writ of restitution, but I believe most judges will consider the property abandoned if she is so notified and fails to act.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or [email protected] 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.
You don't have to hold a previous tenants possessions indefinitely. However, to protect yourself, I would send her a certified letter and inform her that if she will not arrange to pick the items up by a certain date that they will go to charity, be very clear in your letter.
Make a photocopy of the signed letter and envelope you send. If the date you specified passes and you have the mailing receipt, you will have made a good faith effort to return her property and it's not likely any court will find you liable for the items value. That is assuming she would even go so far as to file suit.
With that, I believe you will have protected yourself sufficiently against a successful suit.
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