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Property Abandonment Law Question (Tennessee)

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  • Property Abandonment Law Question (Tennessee)

    Tennessee. My mother owns a condo that some friends and I rent from her. There is no lease. We had a bad roommate situation and we ended up asking her to leave. A few months earlier, someone gave us (our condo) 3 nice leather couches. It wasn't specified who the couches belonged to.

    Our roommate moved out and failed to pay some of her bills she owed us and left a lot of things in the apartment, mostly trash she didn't feel like cleaning out and some small things. She was living with some other people and failed to even change her address so she comes by (unannounced) to get her mail.

    It has been 41 days since her official move out date and she has yet to change her mailing address. The other day, she sent us a text stating that she was coming to get her couches for her new apartment sometime soon. She had never indicated in any way prior that she was ever intending to take them, much less that they were even hers.

    We (the remaining 2 roommates) feel as though the couches are ours and she has no right to take them, especially as we feel she was inconsiderate in almost every aspect of living with us- including incurring costs we paid for out of pocket.

    Do we have a legal obligation to give the couches back? If so, what must we do? What happens if we donate them to charity?

  • #2
    Re: Property Abandonment Law Question (Tennessee)

    Originally posted by sfb8663 View Post
    Tennessee. My mother owns a condo that some friends and I rent from her. There is no lease. We had a bad roommate situation and we ended up asking her to leave. A few months earlier, someone gave us (our condo) 3 nice leather couches. It wasn't specified who the couches belonged to.

    Our roommate moved out and failed to pay some of her bills she owed us and left a lot of things in the apartment, mostly trash she didn't feel like cleaning out and some small things. She was living with some other people and failed to even change her address so she comes by (unannounced) to get her mail.

    It has been 41 days since her official move out date and she has yet to change her mailing address. The other day, she sent us a text stating that she was coming to get her couches for her new apartment sometime soon. She had never indicated in any way prior that she was ever intending to take them, much less that they were even hers.

    We (the remaining 2 roommates) feel as though the couches are ours and she has no right to take them, especially as we feel she was inconsiderate in almost every aspect of living with us- including incurring costs we paid for out of pocket.

    Do we have a legal obligation to give the couches back? If so, what must we do? What happens if we donate them to charity?
    I suggest that you figure out where those couches came from. If it can be determined that this former roommate has any direct connection to them (as in, it was someone SHE knew or a friend of hers that brought them over there), then they belong to her - and she gets to take them if she so chooses.

    The fact that she was inconsiderate has no bearing on the situation. If they are hers, they are hers. She has indicated that she does not intend to abandon them, by making it clear that she will be taking them to her new apartment.

    If you had considered these couches abandoned, you would need to provide her with a 30-day written notice of that, in order to allow her time and opportunity to reclaim and remove them. Since no such notice has been given to date, you could certainly do that now - and if, after 30 days from now, she still has not removed the couches, THEN and ONLY THEN can you treat them as abandoned property, and sell or dispose of them as you see fit.
    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
    "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."

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    • #3
      Re: Property Abandonment Law Question (Tennessee)

      I wish to inform you that the ownership of couches will have to be taken into consideration. In this regard if couches were given to you then you can claim ownership and have those couches. You can ask other person to provide you with ownership details. If couches are given on charity by non owner then that person can be held liable to make good the loss of owner. Lastly as regards mail you can inform post office that the person has left the premises as well as other person so that issue of post is not carried forward.

      AFF

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