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A person brought a large suitcase into my apartment

Customer Question
A person brought a...

A person brought a large suitcase into my apartment presumably to wash clothing inside the suitcase, however he has left this large item in my apartment, that takes up space and has presented a safety hazard, because I am elderly and disabled. I have asked him to remove the suitcase, but he has refused saying he doesn't have anywhere else to keep it.Finally I had to tell him to remove it or I would have it donated to Goodwill.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

I am in California. Can he take me to small claims court to seek some sort of financial relief for the lost suitcase and its contents?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

I have attempted to reach him by phone, but he won't or can't respond. I tried to give him a deadline--the end of the month.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I have gotten the support of my social worker, who has offered to get a helper to move the suitcase and take it to Goodwill.

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/21/2018
Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 3 months ago
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 103,582
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. There is no specific course of action is proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege formed within this conversation. (You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.)

This is called bailment. Bailment describes a legal relationship in common law where possession of personal property is transferred from one person (the "bailor") to another person (the "bailee") who subsequently has possession of the property. The bailee then has a legal duty to keep the property safe.

This duty of bailment lasts either until (1) the agreement's end date, or, (2) if no end date, then whatever reasonable date would be on a case by case basis.

What someone in your situation wants to do is to send a CERTIFIED LETTER to her, giving her a REASONABLE deadline to pick up the property (I'd give 30 days) and if she does not, it'd be disposed of. Then - arguably - the bailee has no legal liability.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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