My question involves personal property located in the State of: California
I lived with my father and mother part time until about 2 years ago. My father and I had a falling out and I ended up moving out of his house rather abruptly in April 2010. I took about as much as I could grab and moved in with my mother full time until I got my own apartment in July. I did however, attempt to return around 30-40 days later in May 2010 only to find that my key did not work and that my father had already changed the locks on the house so I could not get back in, as he told me when I called him on the matter. For the record, I never paid rent nor was I signed to any lease or legal agreement of any kind.
Due to the way things ended with the situation, my father and I had not spoken from July 30, 2010 until this afternoon. I have never received any notices, phone calls or emails in this time and my phone number and email address have not changed and he confirmed there has been no attempt at communication on his end. I called him today to discuss other things, but I did bring up wanting to get my belongings back. He said that I would get them back "on his time when he felt like it" My father does assist in taking care of my grandmother who has Alzheimer's, but he does not live with her and still resides at the property where my belongings are. I brought up the lack of legality with him trying to keep my belongings and he claimed that since I have been gone so long that they are abandoned and that he can keep them if he wants or charge me a very high storage fee for keeping them for so long and that regardless, it would be on his time.
Is the property considered abandoned? Will I have to pay storage fees to my father at my old residence? Doesn't he have to give me a timeline? What happens if he claims the property to be his if/when I go to get it? Should I just request a civil standby and not deal with this or will that work?
The property entails (among other things, all of them mine)
-sentimental gifts from my now fiancé
The value can not be measured on the gifts as they were handmade, but the equipment and clothes are worth around $500+
I want this situation to be resolved but he will have none of that, at least not on reasonable terms. At the very least I want my things back and want to do it the legal way because my father is the spiteful type who would go after me legally if things weren't done right. I am not against getting a lawyer though I don't know what costs are for something like this or if I could afford it.
Thanks in advance for any guidance.