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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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If I had closing on a property and seller has not removed non-fixtured

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If I had closing on a property and seller has not removed non-fixtured items by the specified date, do they now belong to me?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Possibly. It depends on whether a reasonable person would consider the non-fixtured items ("items") to be abandoned. If a reasonable person, given all the facts and circumstances in your particular situation, would consider the items to be abandoned, then those items belong to you. However, if a reasonable person would not consider them to be abandoned, then you do not own them. In the latter situation, a bailment would be created. A bailment occurs when a person has possession of somebody else's personal property. The bailee (i.e., the person with possession) has a duty to keep that personal property safe until the bailor retrieves it.

In your situation, it is wise to write the owner a letter and demand that the item be removed by a specific date (e.g., 3 weeks from the date of the letter), and to state that if the items are not removed by that date then you will consider the items to be abandoned and you will dispose of the item. About a week before the date, I would send a follow-up letter to remind the seller. If that date passes and the owner has not removed the items (and has not made alternate arrangements with you), then you will have a solid legal argument that the items are yours. This is because the failure to retrieve the items by a certain date with the knowledge that they will be disposed of after that date demonstrates an intent to abandon them.

If you are already at that point, then I'd say that the items are yours. If such intent cannot be demonstrated, then you are not yet at that point, and you may wish to write the suggested letters.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry, I could not get all info on last session block.
The seller and I both have copies of a Post-settlement Possession Addendum to Agreement of Sale signed and dated by both parties stating that he would vacate on or before 7/15/13.
This is already the extension that I granted him but, all he has done so far is make excuses why he can't remove the items. He promised me in front of two witnesses that he would have everything removed by the date he chose and is now asking for another extension!
The reason I got this property is I need the garage for my things but it is full of his junk, I also need a roll-off dumpster brought in to load the fallen down house in but, can't until his things are gone!
Hi again.

I would do as I suggested in my prior answer. I would not rely on the agreement, particularly if you didn't make it clear that you'd dispose of the items if they were not retrieved. Assuming you didn't make it clear that you'd dispose of the items, and considering the guy asked for an extension, a reasonable person would not likely believe that he intended to abandon the items. The request for the extension indicates the opposite.

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