San Antonio, TX asked in Gov & Administrative Law for Texas

Q: am I liable for property that was stolen off my property that belongs to somebody else?

someone left four vehicles on my property and pretty much just abandoned them here and someone broke into them not us but we finally called to get them towed away the owner seen them at the tow yard and said he was going to get the cops involved

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: You are not legally liable for personal property stolen from your premises unless your negligence contributed to the theft of such property.

There is a well-established procedure for having abandoned motor vehicles removed from your premises. Ordinarily, you apply for a certificate of authority to remove the vehicles, the DMV then provides 21 days' written notice to the registered owner of the vehicles, and then if the owner does not respond, the certificate of authority is issued to allow the premises owner to tow the abandoned vehicle away. Usually, towing companies require a copy of the certificate of authority and won't tow an abandoned vehicle away without one. Some towing companies just require the person hiring it to tow away an abandoned vehicle to defend and indemnify it so the towing company can pass along any liability to the person that did not follow the proper procedure.

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