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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Property Left in My House by Family Member

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: Georgia.

    Here is the background on the story: My sister in law was allowed to move into the house that my wife and I rent last year on the condition she was to pay $150 per month towards expenses/utilities until she got on her feet again. Two months later she moved halfway across the country with everything she could pack into her car to move in with a guy. She left behind several pieces of furniture and other items in our garage (which we'd converted into a living space) and during her time there she failed to pay us anything and left just as I pressured her to pay up or get out.

    Now, it is 8 months later and she's sent us an email stating she is selling "her" furniture and that we have to show it to people who are contacting her via the Internet. Additionally, I had never agreed to keep her things long term and she's stated that she cannot afford to move it all out to where she now lives.

    The question is am I obligated to "show" the furniture in question and open my house to strangers? Or, am I able to hold any claim to the property in question as she's left it and is unable to reclaim it? Or, is there a middle ground of selling it on her behalf and sending her the proceeds?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Property Left in My House by Family Member

    After reading back through several of the pages in the forum it looks like I am obligated to make the property available to her to pick up (which isn't a problem). However, she's basically stated that she wants to sell it all and has no intentions of actually taking it. Would the best case be to detail how I will sell it for her and forward the compensation to her; provided she doesn't actually come to get it within 30 days of being notified.

    My chief concerns is that she "sells" the property and someone shows up saying they "bought" it and they take it and go. I have no way to prove that the person who came to get the items actually paid her without collecting money from them directly and the family member in question is not exactly the most.. honest around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Property Left in My House by Family Member

    This type of situation is one of the reasons it makes sense, even with a friend or family member, to have a formal rental agreement. Under Georgia case law a lease can deem property abandoned if left by a tenant at the end of a tenancy.

    You're not a store. You can tell her that you will not be playing host to a succession of prospective buyers. If she agrees in writing that you can sell the property, and you're willing to do so, that's more than fair to her. Tell her that if she sells something, she needs to clear with you a specific date and time when the buyer will show up to collect the item(s), and to give you both the buyer's name and a clear description of what the buyer has purchased. I personally would tell her that the items will be placed outside at that time, weather permitting, for her buyer to collect and that you bear no responsibility for loss or damage from that point forward.

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