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When does personal property become my property?

Ogden, UT |

A co-worker of mine stayed with us for about a month. I kicked her out for not following rules, she left all her personal items in my garage. I have not talked to her in months despite the occasional texts. I found out today that she used my name and credit card to get a cell phone from boost mobile. I have filed a police report for fraud, but at which point can i throw away all her crap in the garage? Oh and she broke personal property of mine and the window to the room she was staying in.

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Attorney answers 1


You have an obligation to make a reasonable effort to inform her of the location of the property. If you have told her in various texts or emails that the property is still at the residence and that she should collect it, you have probably complied with that portion of the statute. After you have 'stored' the property for 30 days, you can sell it and use the proceeds from the sale toward any amount she owes you under your lease. I would recommend that you inform her that you intend to take this step before actually doing it. I recommend against holding her property hostage for the amounts she owes you.

Here is the statute you are subject to:
(2) (a) If the tenant has abandoned the premises and has left personal property on the premises, the owner is entitled to remove the property from the dwelling, store it for the tenant, and recover actual moving and storage costs from the tenant.
(b) (i) The owner shall make reasonable efforts to notify the tenant of the location of the personal property.
(ii) If the property has been in storage for over 30 days and the tenant has made no reasonable effort to recover it, the owner may:
(A) sell the property and apply the proceeds toward any amount the tenant owes; or
(B) donate the property to charity if the donation is a commercially reasonable alternative.
(c) Any money left over from the sale of the property shall be handled as specified in Title 67, Chapter 4a, Part 2, Standards for Determining When Property is Abandoned or Unclaimed.
(d) Nothing contained in this act shall be in derogation of or alter the owner's rights under Title 38, Chapter 3, Lessors' Liens.

Providing this answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. Most legal questions are exceedingly fact-sensitive and therefore this answer is a best-guess based on the information you provide. You should consult an attorney licensed in your state to further discuss your matter.