How long does an item have to be left before it is considered abandoned property?

05/17/2007 - Abandoned Property - State: VA #5097

Full Question:

My roommate moved out of my apartment in December . She left a bicycle in my storage shed in the backyard. She is now claiming that she is going to press charges against me because I did not let her come get her bike when she came into town in May of the next year. I assumed that she abandoned it and told her unless she wanted to pay me rent for housing the bicycle for 5 months, that it was technically mine. Can she legally take the bike back, or is it considered abandoned property?

Answer:

The following is a VA statute:

§ 55-248.38:1. Disposal of property abandoned by tenants.
If any items of personal property are left in the premises, or in any storage area provided by the landlord, after the rental agreement has terminated and delivery of possession has occurred, the landlord may consider such property to be abandoned. The landlord may dispose of the property so abandoned as the landlord sees fit or appropriate, provided he has: (i) given a termination notice to the tenant in accordance with this chapter, which includes a statement that any items of personal property left in the premises would be disposed of within the twenty-four hour period after termination, (ii) given written notice to the tenant in accordance with § 55-248.33, which includes a statement that any items of personal property left in the premises would be disposed of within the twenty-four hour period after expiration of the seven-day notice period, or (iii) given a separate written notice to the tenant, which includes a statement that any items of personal property left in the premises would be disposed of within twenty-four hours after expiration of a ten-day period from the date such notice was given to the tenant. Any written notice to the tenant shall be given in accordance with § 55-248.6. The tenant shall have the right to remove his personal property from the premises at reasonable times during the twenty-four hour period after termination or at such other reasonable times until the landlord has disposed of the remaining personal property of the tenant.
During the twenty-four hour period and until the landlord disposes of the remaining personal property of the tenant, the landlord shall not have any liability for the risk of loss for such personal property. If the landlord fails to allow reasonable access to the tenant to remove his personal property as provided in this section, the tenant shall have a right to injunctive or other relief as provided by law. If the landlord received any funds from any sale of abandoned property as provided in this section, the landlord shall pay such funds to the account of the tenant and apply same to any amounts due the landlord by the tenant, including the reasonable costs incurred by the landlord in selling, storing or safekeeping such property. If any such funds are remaining after application, the remaining funds shall be treated as a security deposit under the provisions of § 55-248.15:1. The provisions of this section shall not be applicable if the landlord has been granted a writ of possession for the premises in accordance with Title 8.01 and execution of such writ has been completed pursuant to § 8.01-470.
(1984, c. 741; 1995, c. 228; 1998, c. 461; 2000, c. 760; 2002, c. 762.)


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05/17/2007 - Category: Abandoned Property - State: VA #5097

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