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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33798
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I need help regarding a property law issue. We had a

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I need help regarding a property law issue. We had a friend/guest staying in our rental apartment (only us on lease for the last 6 years) who has left items in the house for the past few weeks, has never paid rent, and is now trying to lay claim that he is a tenant of the property - we have asked him to exit the property and have offered to pay for moving storage to get his things out while he is out of the state, and is now threatening to sue. (and has also become threatening and beligerent in texts saying that we cannot touch his things and he will send sheriffs into the property if we do). we have offered multiple times to set a date and time for movers to pick up his things as there is a current temporary restraining order on him for his threats, and he continues to not accept positive solutions to getting him back his belongings. What is the property law/requirements on removing someone's property who is not a tenant of the actual property/lease?

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Does the person have a key to the dwelling?

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Do they get their mail there?

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And he is not currently living there, just storing his personal property, correct?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He does have a key. He may have delivered packages here or one or two pieces of mail in 5 months. He was never asked to pay rent however and knew he was only a guest, was asked to leave. He even contacted the landlords and they told him he is not a tenant on the lease. He left after a discussion about him finding his own place and has not returned in 3 weeks, but his property is still here.

Ok, can you tell me what state this is in?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What are the laws and best way to proceed to get his things off the property? We are in California.

If he has vacated and isn't living there currently, then you have two options...one safe but longer, and the other faster, but riskier legally.

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You can consider him a tenant since he has his personal property there and give him a written 30 day notice to terminate by posting it wherever he was staying ( a bedroom door maybe) and then pursue a formal eviction through the courts if he doesn't come remove his property or make arrangements to have it moved within that time.

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That is the safe way because once you evict him through the courts, you can legally throw him and his stuff out..

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The faster, but a little riskier way is to consider this a "voluntary bailment" that you are terminating. A voluntary bailment is when one party, the bailor, leaves personal property in the possession of the bailee with permission or consent. The bailor can return and take possession of the property at any time before the bailee terminates the bailment and the property is considered abandoned. A bailee can terminate a voluntary bailment by giving notice to the bailor that they need to come get the property or it will be considered abandoned and disposed of.

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In order to legally terminate the bailment, you have to give written notice to the bailor at their last known address (which would probably be the property address). I would send it certified mail as well as first class mail in case they have a forwarding address with the post office. Then I would text them the same content as the letter. State that you are terminating the bailment and the bailor has 10 days to remove the property or you will consider it abandoned and dispose of it. On day 11 if it is still there, you can dispose of it as abandoned.

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This is a little riskier because you don't have a court order in your hand telling you that you can dispose of it. But if he tried to sue you if he didn't arrange for someone to come get his stuff and you disposed of it, you have proof via the certified mail receipt and copy of the letter that you properly terminated the bailment and gave him a chance to retrieve his property before you disposed of it..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are we able to hire movers to move his property to a storage unit which we will give him access to willingly? Or are we required to keep the property here for 10 days once he is notified? Thanks so much for the help!
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Is he technically considered a tenant if here for 5 months without paying any rent? His legal address is not here. Just talked with my boyfriend and he has not received any mail here just amazing packages.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Amazon

I think that as long as you make sure the property is protected from the elements in a locked enclosure, that would be legally permissible. As the bailee, you just have to take reasonable care over the property. But there is nothing that says where that care has to take place.

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And the payment of rent isn't mandatory for someone to be considered a tenant... they just have to stay somewhere for an extended period of time and have their personal property moved in along with having access to the property, typically with a key.

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Oh, and one other thing, I would definitely have the locks changed asap.

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I was just about to ask what amazing packages he had gotten there...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ha! all amazon packages are amazing! Is there a certain period of time that constitutes "extended period of time" in california to make him a tenant? Promise that's my last question!

That is kind of a subjective determination that a judge makes as there is no hard and fast rule, but typically a month is when someone is considered a tenant.. The more factors that come into play the more likely a judge would rule he is a tenant and has to be evicted.

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Like having a key, length of time there, getting mail, driver's license info, having personal property and toiletries there, paying rent, paying utilities, parking passes, name on utilities, etc.

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So there is no one thing as it is kind of an amalgamation of things that make someone a tenant rather than a guest..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
if he is considered a "tenant" with the conversation of him moving out being on September 20th (which we have in writing - and he agreed to). Are we able to move his stuff into storage with giving him access or does he need to retrieve his property here at our address (swear last question this time! ha).

I would opine no, because if he voluntarily vacated, he is no longer a tenant, but only a bailor. So yes, I would opine that you can move his stuff to storage. As long as it is protected and secure, you are fulfilling your legal duty to maintain reasonable care of the property until the time expires in the notice period for the bailment termination.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Ok amazing!! Thanks so much for all your help/advice! Will give you a glowing review ;)

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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Have a great evening!

Barrister

Hello, just checking in to see if you had any further questions..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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