Is personal property left on an adjoining lot considered abandoned in Massachusetts?

Full Question:

Personal property of mine was found to be on the wrong side of my lot line. I received notice from the abutter to remove the property within 30 days, but was unable to do so. When I did try retrieve the property, I was prevented from doing so by the abutter because I did not comply with the time frame he provided. Have I abandoned or lost ownership of that property?
05/10/2017   |   Category: Abandoned Property   |   State: Massachusetts   |   #36977

Answer:

In Massachusetts, a property is presumed to be abandoned only if certain conditions are satisfied. If there is no address of the apparent owner is on the records of the person in possession of the property and if he does not have the last known address of the owner, or the apparent owner is in a foreign nation, then the property is presumed to be abandoned. So, according to Massachusetts statutes your property may not be abandoned.

The statutes relevant to this are given below:
 
ALM GL ch. 200A, § 1A 
Presumption of Abandonment.
Unless otherwise provided, intangible personal property is presumed abandoned under this chapter if the conditions for presumption of abandonment stated in section three, four, five, five A, five B, six A, six B or six D exist, and if any one of the following four conditions are met:--
     (a) the last known address of the apparent owner is in the commonwealth as shown on the records of the person in possession of property;
     (b) no address of the apparent owner appears on the records of the person in possession of the property and
         (1) the last known address of the apparent owner is in the commonwealth, or
         (2) the person in possession of property subject to this chapter is domiciled in the commonwealth and has not previously paid the property to the state of the last known address of the apparent owner, or
         (3) the holder is a government or governmental subdivision or agency of the commonwealth and has not previously paid the property to the state of the last known address of the apparent owner;
     (c) the last known address, as shown on the records of the person in possession of property, is in a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of such property and the person in possession of property is domiciled in the commonwealth or is a government or governmental subdivision or agency of the commonwealth; or
     (d) the last known address, as shown on the records of the person in possession of property, of the apparent owner is in a foreign nation and the person in possession of property is domiciled in the commonwealth or is a subdivision or agency of the commonwealth.
 
ALM GL ch. 200A, § 3 
Abandonment of Deposits of Property.
Any deposit of property with a person having a residence or place of business in the commonwealth, or authorized to do business therein, together with the increments thereon, shall be presumed abandoned unless the owner has, within three years next preceding the date as of which reports are required by section seven:--
     (1) Communicated in writing with the person concerning the deposit; or
     (2) Been credited with interest on a passbook or certificate of deposit at his request; or
     (3) Had a transfer, disposition of interest or other transaction noted of record in the books or records of the person; or
     (4) Increased or decreased the amount of deposit; or
     (5) Owned other property for which clause (1), (2), (3) or (4) is applicable; provided, however, that the holder communicates in writing with the owner with regard to such property that would otherwise be presumed abandoned under this section at the address at which communications regarding such other property regularly are received; or
     (6) Had another relationship with the holder concerning which the owner has:
         (i) communicated in writing with the holder, or
         (ii) otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum on file prepared by an employee of the holder; provided, however, that if the holder communicates in writing with the owner with regard to the property that would otherwise be presumed abandoned under this section at the address at which communications regarding the other relationship regularly are received.
 
ALM GL ch. 200A, § 3A 
Abandonment Period Automatically Renewable.
The abandonment period of any property set forth in section three that is automatically renewable shall commence upon the expiration of its initial time period except that, in the case of any renewal to which the owner consents at or about the time of renewal by communicating in writing with the person holding the property or otherwise indicating such consent as evidenced by a memorandum on file prepared by an employee, the abandonment period shall commence upon the expiration of the last time period for which consent was given.