Personal property left after closing

I recently purchased vacant land with a very simple agreement to purchase. There was nothing stated in regards to fixed and personal property in the agreement. The previous owner left old farm equipment and a tractor probably valued around $8,000. I repaired it, and he trespassed as he owns land adjacent to mine and noticed the tractor now was running. He is asking for it back and I believe legally it should be mine.

There is no title for this piece of equipment.

Asked on August 28, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact that personal property is left behind at closing does NOT, by itself, give you ownership over it. There are mechanisms for getting ownership over abandoned property, but they involve sending written notice that you will consider the property abandoned if it is not retrieved  (said notice[s] sent some way you can prove delivery) and providing the other person a reasonable time (typically several weeks) to make arrangments to retrieve his goods. If you failed to provide written notice that unless the property were retrieved, you would consider it abandoned, the tractor, etc. still belongs to the seller.


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