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There's not a "set" time period either in NYC or NY state. Rather, it depends primarily on the intent of the tenant to abandon the property or not. Basically this falls under common law, rather than statutory law, where courts will determine whether or not the situation showed that there was an intent (more likely than not) that the property be abandoned.
If not, the property would remain in the ownership of the tenant.
Without a specific lease provision, reasonable notice to the tenant should be provided prior to any disposition of the property. It is advisable that the landlord give at least 30 days’ written notice to the tenant of the tenant’s right to claim and remove any personal property in the landlord’s possession or the property will be deemed abandoned. If the tenant fails to remove the property within the specified time period, the landlord may consider the property abandoned and discard same; however, it is highly recommended that the landlord dispose of the property by means of a private sale by published notice, especially where the property has substantial value. In such case, a final written notice to the tenant should be provided, indicating the date and time when the property will be offered for sale. The landlord should then publish a legal notice of the sale of abandoned tenant property, identifying the property to be sold, the place and time of sale, and terms of sale. Once the sale is conducted, proceeds from the sale may be applied against any judgment the landlord may have previously obtained against the tenant. Additionally, costs of the sale may be deducted from sale proceeds, with the balance, if any, to be paid to the tenant.
An alternative to the landlord’s storage of unclaimed tenant belongings is the rental of a commercial self-storage unit for a fixed term which should be, at a minimum, 30 days, with notice to the tenant that the property may be claimed at the facility. Should the tenant fail to claim the property, the storage facility has the right to assert a storage lien pursuant to Lien Law Section 182, and to dispose of the property in accordance with that statute.
The notice gives the tenant actual notice that the property will be disposed, and assuming that the tenant received that notice (a certified letter would be a good idea to send) you could say that inaction is a manifestation of intent on the tenant's part that the property was abandoned.
Until that notice or storage with notice of sale / sale occurs, it's possible that the court could still find that you're an involuntary gratuitous bailee (legal speak for someone who has possession of someone elses property, without your consent, but you still have a slight duty to not damage or dispose of it).
So ultimately it depends on whether or not there has been a manifestation of intent (even by non-action) by the tenant to abandon this property. But it should be fairly clear (that it's more likely than not from an objective viewer that the tenant abandoned that property).
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What is the order to show cause relating to? That is, what are they asking the court to order?
No. You can absolutely put the stuff into storage, because that preserves the items so that they would not have any claim against you for destruction / etc... of that property.
You could also charge them with the costs of the storage.
The main consideration is that if it is truly abandoned, it might be difficult to get them to pay the storage costs (as there's no reason to, since they would not want to get their property back in that instance).
But you can absolutely put their property into storage.
You should document (pictures, etc...) everything that you do put into storage, so they can't say that you "stole" anything, etc... (which they would have the burden of proof on anyway).
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I would not be overly concerned. They would have the burden of proof of establishing that you stole something, not the other way around. If they couldn't prove it, then they wouldn't be able to recove.r
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