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MDLawyer
MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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My boyfriend works and lives in Alaska but also had an

Customer Question

My boyfriend works and lives in Alaska but also had an apartment in Washington state and rents out a house he owns I. Washington state. He keeps a detached garage at that house for his personal possessions. In February 2015, his daughter moved out of their apartment. He gave notice and in March came down and moved most of his belongings to his garage across the state but moved some clothes, some tools and artwork and furniture to my home and returned to Alaska. He came down in June and left in July. While here I told him to move out everything of his he wanted before he returned to Alaska. (It was a rough summer- I found he had been cheating on Craigslist with anonymous sex and we were doing the crazy breakup or try to make it work cycle). During an argument he hit my car with a pole or something and estimates are $1400 to repair the damage. I did not file a police report and he said in texts, emails and a voicemail he would pay for the repair. He did not live here but stayed here June and July. He never changed his address to my home, did not pay bills here and is an Alaska resident. He is a school principal in a village. He made several trips in March and July to his garage in Eastern Washington but did not move everything. He said he was coming down at Christmas and would manage it then. In September we officially totally broke up and he said he would not be down here until July 2016. I said after he paid the repair of my car he could arrange storage for his belongings and I would move his belongings to the storage. He agreed- again in text and voicemail. He has not paid for the repair, has blocked me on social media and told me to stop texting, calling or emailing.
Can I sell his tools to get money to pay my repair?
Why do I have to remedy his abandoned belongings that he didn't move when he had the chance? Thank you- Heidi
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I look forward to assisting you although I am sorry to hear about your situation.

First, is your home in Washington state? Was he living with you or was he simply storing his property in your home? When you say that he agreed to arrange storage for his belongings, was that in September of this year?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Washington state and yes temporary storing March - July 2015 and then didn't move them all and returned to Alaska July 2015. He said he would move them at Christmas and then we broke up in September of this year and he said he wouldn't come down until next summer 2016. He said he would pay to repair his damage to my car and then arrange a local storage facility and I would move his things there so I could be done with him. He said repeatedly from September through November 17, that was what he would do. He also had a truck parked in my yard for when he is in town. I was allowed to use it. It was in his name. I said I would drive it to his friend's when my car was fixed and would use it while my car was getting repaired. Saturday I get a call from the police accusing me of "grand theft auto" for having possession of a car that wasn't mine. My ex changed the title via the Internet that day to his daughter and she said I wouldn't give her the keys to her vehicle. The cop said they saw the vehicle title transfer online that say and it was ridiculous as I had been allowing them free parking since the summer of 2014. No one asked for the key so it was just an aggressive move. He told me to stop texting him and texted my kids ages 16 & 23 and told them I was disturbed and to tell me to stop texting him or calling. In September he blocked me on his social media but we texted about getting my car fixed until this last weekend when he said to stop contacting him.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Just to make sure I understand, your question is whether you can sell his belongings, correct?

Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Question:

My question is he was asked / told in March 2015, to move his belongings from my home in July 2015. While he was here June & July 2015, he was told to move them all before he left. He didn't. In September, October & November 2015, he said he would pay my car repair for the damage he did and then he would pay a storage company and either I would move his things to the storage unit or he would hire movers. He did neither. On November 27, 2015, He then blocked me on his phone and told me to stop calling or texting and texted my kids telling them to have me stop texting and calling him. What are my rights and responsibilities for the situation? Can I do what ever I want? He left them and hasn't followed any agreement and then cut off contact. I maybe don't know the exact correct question to ask specifically so hopefully you can let me know my rights and responsibilities for the situation. I feel like I've typed the same points six different ways/

Answer will be in italics below. Give me a few to type it all out and finish the research. Thank you.

Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your patience. Please be aware that the law on abandoned property in Washington State is very fact specific. They main thing that you want to do here is protect yourself. You cannot simply do with his property what you want. Also, although you say that you simply stored his belongings and he never lived with you, he may try to claim that he did and the laws involving a tenant's property are even more detailed and specific.

If the property has a value of less than $250, the law usually allows you to do with it as you wish - toss it or donate it, for example. However, you need to give the individual reasonable notice. In other words, you need to first mail him (through the US Postal Service, Certified Mail Return Requested) a letter informing him that he needs to make arrangements to pick up his belongings by X date or to have them moved. If the value is over $250, the law does require you to contact the Sheriff's Office after it has become clear that the property has been abandoned.

The main issue here is that if he has already accused you of things that are untrue, he might allege that he lived there with you where the property is and he would then have more rights and you would have to follow the law to a tee. The law you would need to follow if he was a tenant is as follows:

Under WA law, the tenant is required to specifically request that his items be stored. If you are considered to have been his landlord, you would need to prepare a Request for Storage of Personal Property form which the sheriff serves along with the writ of restitution. The tenant must complete and return the form to the landlord within three days. If the tenant fails to do so the landlord (you) has no obligation to store the tenant’s belongings.

If the tenant returns the notice to the landlord the landlord must store the belongings if the cumulative value is at least $250.00. The belongings may be stored in the rental property.

The landlord must then give notice of intent to sell the personal property to the tenant’s last known address. After the thirty days expire the landlord may sell all the property – including family pictures, personal papers, and keepsakes, and dispose of any items not sold.

Please let me know if this has answered your question. If it has not, please let me know how I can clarify my answer for you and I will be happy to continue our conversation until you are 100 percent satisfied that I have addressed your question. Please keep in mind that I only report the laws and I do not make the laws. If I have answered your question and you have no further questions for me, it would be much appreciated if you could leave me a positive rating as that is the only way that we experts get credited or compensated for the time spent researching and assisting you. Thank you in advance.

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