What constitutes abandoned property?

I am an acupuncturist. For 5 years I had rented space to a massage therapist within my business. When she left 8 years ago she left several items behind. She said I can keep as a gift, a specific antique buffet which we used in our front lobby. While she made it quite clear that this buffet was a gift for me to keep, she said that she would eventually be back for several other items she left behind. I had no contact with her for 8 years. She did resurface last year to claim various items which she said were her grandmothers. Those I gladly let her take.Today she called and wants the antique buffet back. She claims that she never gave it as a gift and wants it back. Even if it wasn’t a gift, wouldn’t this be abandoned property?

Asked on April 3, 2014 under Business Law, Minnesota


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Ordinarily under the laws of all states in this country when the owner of property has no possession of the items for more than a year when such is a voluntary act as in your matter, the items are deemed abandoed. I suggest a certified letetr to the massage therapist stating unless you receive written instructions from her in 30 days as to the items you will deem them abandoned and dispose of the items as you see fit.

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