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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    1

    Default How to End Storage of an Ex-Friend's Personal Property

    Procedure for the state of: Maryland
    Hello All,
    I'm not sure if this is the right category for this type of question, but here it goes:

    My wife and I are separated (though we are still friends) so this question is for her. Long story short, She had a friendship with a hoarder for abt a year and a half. She allowed This person to bring things she accumulated over and store them at her place during the course of their friendship. Now however, after realizing that she was just being used for the storage space, they ceased to be friends This person has requested not to be contacted by the wife. Since that request, She would like to know the legal course of action as to what to do with this persons things that are still at the house...thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: Removing Another Persons Property from Residence After Friendship

    Suggestions of where to look:

    1. Ordinarily to take in somebody's stuff creates a "bailment " and there is a statutory standard of care ..but apparently MD has no such statutue and what is left is a contract ..or dispute of same .
    Whether that means I can call garbage hauler is a question to pose to counsel in MD.
    2. If this some sort of tenant who never surrendered the unit and left it full of stuff..one might view it as an ongoing rental situation..and Bill for same..and follow the eviction law of your state .
    3. Me, absent a law to contrary, Id probably send person 2-3 sets of double mailings..regular and certified retun receipt demanding stuff be removed by date XX and clear information about how to set up a recovery appointment and what happens if not done..like all to salvation army resale shop
    Id be cautious to try not to allow person to cherry pick good stuff and leave me a pile of junk that costs me a lot to haul away

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Removing Another Persons Property from Residence After Friendship

    The concept of bailment arises from common law, not from statute. The absence of a statutory definition of bailment or the duties of a bailee signify that you need to look to case law. In Maryland, a gratuitous bailee (somebody who holds somebody else's property without charging a fee) is ordinarily liable only for wrongful or gross negligence. See, e.g., Johnson & Towers Baltimore, Inc. v. Babbington, 264 Md. 724, 288 A.2d 131 (1972).

    There is no risk in sending somebody a letter saying, in essence, "You have until [date] to recover your property, or we will dispose of it," and that may work to inspire them to recover their property. The danger is in actually disposing of their property, as depending on what you do it could end with their suing you or even trying to press criminal charges. Your situation falls in an uncomfortable legislative hole, between the laws governing eviction from rented premises and the laws governing the termination of a contract for a self-storage unit, and I don't see clear case law on the issue of what you can do with a bailor's property after terminating the agreement to store that property. Your ex- can consider a pro se eviction action, but as this is not a normal residential or commercial tenancy.

    If the person at issue is in fact a hoarder, you likely have a two-fold problem. First, the person likely views whatever it is that they're storing at your wife's place as incredibly valuable, even if most would regard it as junk. Second, if a hoarder has a place to store stuff, odds are it's already full to the point of overflowing -- that is, the person probably doesn't have a different place to put the stuff.

    If your ex- wants to be completely safe, she should consult a real estate lawyer who handles eviction matters about the best approach to eviction, or to get an opinion (I would want it in writing on the lawyer's letterhead) that she can dispose of the property within a specific time frame if it is not retrieved after proper notice of termination of the bailment. A lawyer's opinion letter is not a guarantee that there won't be repercussions for an action, but it can help convince the police that you did all that you could do and were acting in good faith, as well as giving potential recourse against the lawyer if you are sued.

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