Can I dispose of a guest’s property that was left in my home?

My sister lived in my home for a few months for free. There was no written agreement. She said she would clean the house and help with the electricity bill, but didn’t. She moved out and took most of her stuff. She left her dresser, desk, and box spring, as well as many misc personal items. She said she would get these items before she left town, but did not. She has offered to pay storage to me but I just want her stuff out. My home isn’t a storage unit. I don’t want to take out a storage unit for her b/c I don’t trust her to pay. I can’t fit her stuff in my car to move it. What should I do?

Asked on July 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Maybe not.  If she could establish herself as a tenant by any means (and staying in exchange for paying bills could be a tenancy of sorts) then you would have to evict her and have the sheriff throw out her stuff.  I agree that your home is not her storage facility but her leaving things could be considered a bailment and your getting rid of them "conversion" under the law.  Suiing each other is really only going to make things worse.  It is hard when it is family but really try and work things out.  She is some one you are connected to the rest of your life.  Good luck.

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