1. #1
    Sgt. Riggs
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    property abandonment law

    I have a question, this time based on no real life experiences.
    I am just curious.

    What is the law regarding property being abandoned in someones home.

    Here is a situation.

    I have a roommate who brings in a 42 inch flat screen plasma TV and a huge surround system. He informs me that he will be moving in a month. At the end of the month he begins to move and gets almost everything but is saving the big TV for last since its mounted on the wall.

    Then roommate disappears, without telling me what is happening or when he is planning on getting his stuff. People have confirmed that he is not in jail and not dead. He just doesn't contact me to arrange to get the TV. I try to contact him to zero success.

    At what point in time am I no longer obligated to return the TV should he come looking for it? I want to say that the TV in this situation has been completely paid for and is free and clear of any liens or defaults in payment.


    thats my question

    thanks
    I'm the law in these here parts.
    You'd best be leavin' town mister.

  2. #2
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    What's your deal? This is your second thread asking how you can keep someone else's property. Better stick with teaching music and stay away from law enforcement.

  3. #3
    Sgt. Riggs
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    I have no idea why its necessary to so condescending.
    I have no interest in keeping anyone else property.

    I was simply asking a question.
    This is the Ask a Cop section of the website afterall


    I think I should be able to ask questions here, just like anyone else.
    No need to be rude.

    I would appreciate an answer if someone would care of offer one.

    thanks
    I'm the law in these here parts.
    You'd best be leavin' town mister.

  4. #4
    The .40 Dog Whisperer
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    At what point in time am I no longer obligated to return the TV should he come looking for it?
    There's your answer. This is all a civil matter, not criminal. Basically, I think you're asking, "What's the statute of limitations on doing the right thing?" There is none. You should not keep someone else's property. If you choose to, you will have to fight it out with Judge Wapner.
    If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

    ---Jack Handey

  5. #5
    Sgt. Riggs
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    thank for being nice about it
    but if 5 years went by or something crazy like that
    i dont see how it would still be his
    but even then i guess give it back would be the right thing
    I'm the law in these here parts.
    You'd best be leavin' town mister.

  6. #6
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    Its going to be civil law, and it may be more complex than you anticipate. The following is my understanding of how it works, mostly from renting out two properties myself. Police don't typically deal with civil issues, which may be why you aren't getting the type of answer you're looking for. Most areas have civil deputies or court functionaries who deal with this type of stuff. Anyway:

    You say he was a roommate, but more information is needed.
    Are you the landlord renting out a room? If so, you are responsible for the item for 90 days from the time the property is considered abandoned. For the property to be abandoned, the tenant must have turned in his keys, vacated the property, and have left it in such a condition that a reasonable person would assume they are not returning. You can put a lien on the television for the cost of storing it for those 90 days, and then buy it with the lien to legally own the property. IC code 32-31-4 spells it out.

    Are you both renting from someone else, ie an apartment? If you're both on the lease, you are not the caretaker of the television, cannot put a lien on it, and unless its a gift to you its unlikely you could legally transfer ownership to yourself. Anything your roommate leaves becomes the problem of the property owners or their agent. They will be responsible for storing it for the state minimum 90 days, although you could buy it from them at the expiration of the 90 days to settle the property lien for storage costs if both parties agree.

    If you are subletting, I have no idea, your contract should spell out who's responsible for subtenants' eviction, belongings, etc.

    http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/cod.../ar31/ch4.html should answer your questions.

  7. #7
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    Okay Wesley, your situation is civil in nature. I'm not an Attorney, but I feel safe in making this suggestion to you. Research your state's law regarding property abandonment. Undoubtedly, in addition to a time lapse provision there will be a requirement concerning "reasonable attempts" to contact the owner. Usually this consists of sending either a Registered/Certified Letter, Return Reciept Requested, to the owner's last known address. Document every attempt you make to contact the owner. It's possible that your state or county Bar Association could provide you with some assistance with this situation.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipCal View Post
    Undoubtedly, in addition to a time lapse provision there will be a requirement concerning "reasonable attempts" to contact the owner. Usually this consists of sending either a Registered/Certified Letter, Return Reciept Requested, to the owner's last known address. Document every attempt you make to contact the owner. .
    Good answer. You can also contact your local Sheriff's office. They should be able to answer the questions also.

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