If aneighbor asked me to hold on to his television for a couple of days, how long do I have to hold it before I can throw it away?

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If aneighbor asked me to hold on to his television for a couple of days, how long do I have to hold it before I can throw it away?

The television in question is an old tube style that are not sold anymore. I live in an apartment and knew the neighbor well enough to smile and say hi as I passed him. He told me his name the same day he asked me to hold the TV. He was not the person on the lease, he was being kicked out by his girlfriend. She was at home while he was leaving so she knew that he had the television, it is not hers. I have no way to contact this person. I just thought I was doing a guy a favor. He told me he would be back to pick it up in a day or two. It has now been 6 weeks.

Asked on February 1, 2012 under Accident Law, Louisiana

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

 

Thank you for submitting your question regarding when you are legally permitted to throw away someone else’s property.  Your situation is pretty common and often comes up when someone has a roommate, and the roommate leaves behind their property and does not come back to reclaim their property.  The person left behind wants to be able to throw out the belongings, but there are certain obligations under the law, and it all boils down to what your state’s law defines as “abandoned” property.

 

 

 

First, it is unlikely that it will matter at all that you did not know this gentleman very well or that the television is a model that is no longer sold in stores.  The idea is that you agreed to watch his property, and now he has not come back to claim his property after the timeframe by which he told you that he would come back to obtain his property from you.  Normally the law would require you to notify the owner.  If you do not know his number, you should make a reasonable effort to contact him.  If his ex-girlfriend is still your neighbor, you may try to get his contact information from her and make some attempt to contact him to notify him that you would like to get rid of his television.  When you do make contact with him, you should him some sort of timeframe, such as you will be getting rid of the television in two weeks.  Be sure that you explain you will be disposing of his television if he does get it within this time period.  This way he has two weeks from the date that you call him to collect his belongings.  If after the two weeks he does not collect his property, then it is likely that the law will consider it abandoned. 

 


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