I purchased a piece of real property with items on it, who owns the items?

2 months ago we purchased a piece of land with rolls of fencing stacked on it. At closing the previous owners said they wanted it and would get it moved. I’ve made numerous phone calls and they always say they can’t get it right now. If nothing was in the closing papers about it, is it mine and can I dispose of it? I need the area it is in.

Asked on September 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The laws of the state that you are in will govern what you need to do to assume that the property is "abandoned" and that you can do with it as you choose.  Certainly you have to give the old owners the time you agreed to at the closing, even though the item is not mentioned in the closing.  What you do not want to be caught is holding the bag if the items is not considered abandoned and they try and say that it was a "bailment" situation and that you "converted" the items and removed them. I would write them a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, and indicate that you have called them on x amount of occasions to remove the fence and that they ave not or refused,  advise them that they have x amount of time to remove the fence from the date of the letter and if they do not then you will be disposing of it as it is interfering with your use of your property.  Good luck. 

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