Severn, MD asked in Civil Litigation, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Maryland

Q: Can we get rid of personal items that someone left on our property for years? (not tenant, no money exchanged

A few years, an acquaintance asked my wife if she could store her personal property in an outbuilding at our residence (Maryland) for a few months. We decided to help her out and agreed to let her use the space since we were not using it at the time. We were never a landlord, she was never a tenant, there was never a lease, and we never charged her any money -- we were just trying to be nice and help someone who was on hard times. It has now been 3 years, she has moved out of the state, and her stuff remains in our outbuilding. We have reached out to her several times, and for a while she said, “Yes I’ll get my stuff,” but that was more than a year ago and now she no longer responds to us. We sent a certified letter that she never accepted, saying to get her stuff by May 31, 2018 or we would dispose of it. We are about to send the same letter non-certified. Are we allowed to get rid of the items?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Yes, it's abandoned property. Do what you like with it. Sell it to defray the inconvenience and fair rental value of storing it beyond the agreed time period. If you want to really play it safe against any potential claim she may make, wait the 30 days notice you give in your non-certified letter. Require her to contact you and make mutually acceptable arrangements for a date and time to clear the items out, and state clearly that you will dispose of all the items if they remain past 30 days. Date the letter. State he 30 days runs from the date on the letter. But based on what you've described, it would seem pretty clear she is aware that she has overstayed her use of your space.

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