DoI have a legal right to remove belongings of a person who no longer lives in our apartment?

This person had “squatted” for a number of years (being a disreputable friend of my recently deceased mother). During her stay she abused my mother’s food stamp card as well as debit card, and never contributed towards the apartment expenses. She no longer stays at here however she still has a key. We need to move her things out so that we can rent the room.

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If this person who was living with your mother still has a key to the place where she was living, hopefully you have changed the locks so she cannot get in. If you have not, you should do so immediately sinc from what you have written this person was never a tenant but a "guest" of your deceased mother.

If the person has not been at your mother's place for several months and has not made any inquiry about her belongings, it would seem that they are abandoned. If you believe that the items left behind are worth less than $250.00 collectively, you can dispose of them any way you want after you give this "guest" written notice to pick them up by a certain date and after she fails to do so.

If they are worth more than $250.00, you can take the items to a public storgae unit and put them in the name of the "guest". You then need to advise her in writing where the belongings are. If she does not pay the rent for the public storage unit, her storage unit will be auctioned off to pay the expenses.

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