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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Removal of roommate's personal property

    I had a roomate for 3 months last summer(2005) from Jume through Aug. This roommate still has personal belongings including several auto's in storage at my residence. I have given them a 30 day notice to remove the property. What are my rights after the 30 day notice to do with the property?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Former Roommate's Property

    The roommate was your tenant?

    Illinois Legal Aid suggests,
    Quote Quoting As a landlord, what can I do with a tenant’s property when they disappear? Can I sell their stuff if they owe rent, or just throw it away?
    If a tenant abandons their personal property, you can do whatever you want with it. The problem is, you can never be sure that an abandonment has occurred. There’s always a risk that what you thought was abandonment wasn’t, and the tenant will reappear wanting their stuff.

    The safest thing to do if a tenant is behind on their rent is an eviction case. An eviction judgment gives you the right to have their property removed. That’s all you really want, since reselling property in that situation is probably more trouble than it’s worth.

    If you act without an eviction judgment, you’re betting that a judge would agree there was an abandonment. Betting on a court’s decision is never a sure thing.

    Property is abandoned when the owner has voluntarily given up their rights in the property. That means the former owner has no rights to enforce, and loses if they claim any.

    Abandoned property is free for the taking. As Justice Cardozo said, it “may be kicked or trod on with impunity.” If you can kick it, you can certainly sell it or throw it away.

    But there’s no simple rule that will tell you when something’s abandoned. It depends on the particular facts in each situation. Only a judge, looking back on things, can say for sure whether an abandonment had occurred.

    Non-payment of rent is probably required for there to be an abandonment of a tenant’s personal property. But it’s not enough. You’ll need other facts to back you up.

    Two factors to look for are the tenant’s complete absence from the premises, and disconnection of utilities. If the tenant is around at all—even erratically—they haven’t abandoned the place or their property.

    If they have totally disappeared for at least a month, and their utilities have been cut, you’re probably close to an abandonment. In that situation, try asking the tenant’s friends or relatives (if known to you) to have the tenant contact you.

    Also, mail a letter to the tenant, at the apartment and any other known addresses, saying you’ll consider their personal property abandoned if you don’t hear anything in 15 days. (There’s no legally required number of days you have to give—just whatever is reasonable.)

    If there’s no response, it’s a safe but not sure bet the property is abandoned. If you proceed with removing the property, document with pictures and witnesses what you remove, to protect against claims you stole priceless antiques or jewelry.
    Some communities, like Chicago, will have local ordinances which may vary from state law:
    Quote Quoting Landlord's Treatment of Abandoned Property in Chicago
    (f)Disposition of Abandoned Property. If the tenant abandons the dwelling unit as described in subsection (e) hereof, or fails to remove his personal property from the premises after termination of a rental agreement, the landlord shall leave the property in the dwelling unit or remove and store all abandoned property from the dwelling unit and may dispose of the property after seven days. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the landlord reasonably believes such abandoned property to be valueless or of such little value that the cost of storage would exceed the amount that would be realized from sale, or if such property is subject to spoilage, the landlord may immediately dispose of such property.
    The local police department may be able to guide you to local policies. (But don't call the 911 line to ask. Call a non-emergency number or stop by in person.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Thanks, The roommate was not a tenant. She was not paying any rent, utilities etc. I was being a friend and letting her stay until she got on her feet. I have sent a certified letter to her current Apt requesting they remove the property with in 30 days. That 30 days has expired.

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