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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 102597
Experience:  Attorney
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My sister and her mate live with me. He voluntarily gave us

Customer Question

My sister and her mate live with me. He voluntarily gave us his key to the house and left after she told him to get out after introducing her to his new girlfriend. How long do I have to give him to get his stuff out of the house? The next day I asked for the garage door opener and keys to the back gate since it was obvious he was not staying. There was no agreement between him and me as to rent or anything. My sister and I split the bils. Any money transactions were between him and her. I am the home owner. They were together for 30 years and she supported him. He hasn't filed income taxes in several years. I have already given him 20 days to remove his stuff and he keeps coming up with excuses.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
There is no law in Texas statutory codes of "how long one should keep the other's things." While the statutes are vast, some things are bound to be left out. Ergo, we fall back on the doctrine of "common law." The system has come up with a way to deal with this matter that is called "estoppel by acquiescence." Estoppel by acquiescence may arise when one person gives a legal warning to another based on some clearly asserted facts or legal principle, and the other does not respond within "a reasonable period of time". By acquiescing, the other person is generally considered to have lost the legal right to assert the contrary.
In this case, someone in your situation would send a certified letter (return receipt requested) to the last/any known address of the owner (as well as an email, telephone call, and SMS) telling them that they have a reasonable amount of days from receipt of the correspondence (normally 20 to 30) to come and pick up the items or else you will lawfully take possession of them after considering them abandoned. If they do not, then that would mean that they are all yours to do with as you wish.
You keep a record of what was sent, so that if they ever try to claim that you took the items without permission, you have the affirmative defense of estoppel by aquiescence.
Template letter:
Dear ____________,
This correspondence is in regards ***** ***** property stored at __address____, left by you on ___date_____. This property consists of the following items (list)
To this date, the property has not been picked up. Notice is hereby given that unless this property is picked up in __ days of your receipt of this certified letter, the property in questions will be donated and otherwise disposed of.
Please contact me via ____tel and/or ___address____ to coordinate your pick up of the property.
Sincerely,
Signature
Name

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