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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102347
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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A large storage container was left on the property. How do

Customer Question

A large storage container was left on the property. How do I legally get it removed or assume ownership? Also a tenant is residing there without any documentation and we'd like him removed. What's the easiest/quickest way? I'm in Indiana
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.
Context would be key to sorting this out from a legal perspective...can you provide some context?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I just purchased the multi unit property 30 days ago. The previous owner who resides out of state left a car and a large storage container pod that I need to get removed from the property or take ownership legally and hopefully without cost to me. Also the undocumented tenant is residing there and I'd like him removed. Is eviction my only option?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thank you
I am going to open this up to other experts and allow them to assist. No need to respond, another expert will reply to you if they can provide you an answer.
Best of luck
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Your previous expert has opted out and I have opted in. 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.
Did you purchase the property at a bankruptcy? Or from the previous owner directly?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Not a bankruptcy but it was a short sale, the previous owner signed all the closing docs.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
Non-titled property
First of all, click here, and scroll down to Indiana. This is how former landlords deal with tenant property abandoned after the lease.
This person - Guy - was never your tenant. So the above does not apply, although some parties like to follow the same "standard" steps, although this is not completely necessary. So we will call the above the "through landlord method."
There is also what we can call the "basic requirement method." There is no law in Indiana statutory codes of "how long one should keep the other's property." 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 Guy (as well as an email, telephone call, and SMS) telling him that he has 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 he does 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 he 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_____.
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.

So it is up to you whether you want to use the "through landlord method" or "basic requirement method." Either way, one needs to attempt to notify the former owner and/or use due diligence in attempting to do so.
Titled Property
In order to claim an abandoned vehicle and title it, one has to contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles Division and file a report. The BMV will then send the claimant a Transfer Ownership Form, and then attempt to contact the owner of the vehicle. If the owner does not respond, the claimant will be contacted to complete the Transfer Ownership Form and the title will be issued to the claimant.
She is what is known as a tenant at sufferance. A tenant at sufferance is someone who has no right to occupy the premises, but is tolerated by the owner and may be terminated at the will of the owner.
A tenant at sufferance has few rights, but one of these rights is to be evicted. So in other words, one cannot simply physically kick her out of the home. She must be evicted like a tenant who has not paid rent. If after the quick eviction hearing she still does not leave, then, one can get a Writ and have the authorities forcibly relocate her.
However, many tenants at sufferance simply LEAVE once they are given notice that they will be evicted if they do not, since they have really no defense to an eviction.
So here, you may:
1) Give her notice to leave and if she does not;
2) Evict her as though you would a tenant; and
3) Have the authorities remove her by force if she still does not leave; and
4) Change the locks.
A good notice to quit is 3-5 days prior to filing an eviction, although how many days exactly notice is required is subjective.
Again, the majority of tenants at sufferance shall leave upon notice, or shortly after an eviction is filed.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.

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