Am I liable for my ex-girlfriend’s items that she left on my property?

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Am I liable for my ex-girlfriend’s items that she left on my property?

For the last 3 months, my ex-girlfriend was living with me at my residence. We broke off recently and she left my property but she did not take her furniture, electronics, a pet cat, clothes and kitchen utensils with her. Can I held be liable if she comes back after a week and lies that her stuff is missing or was damaged? All I want is for her to take whatever belongs to her. How can I legally make her take her stuff back and not be liable for damages or loss of her items?

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, it appears that your ex-girlfriend was not  a tenant, but was living there as your guest. In that case, she is not covered by the laws protecting tenant property after termination of tenancy.

The best way to handle matters then would be to send her some written notice, sent some way you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail, return receipt requested; fed ex; etc.) letting her know that she has 30 days to recover her goods and that if she does not recover them by then, you will treat them as abandoned and dispose of them as you see fit. Then hold on to her belongings until the expiration of that period, after which you can dispose of them.

You might also take photographs of all her belongings, using a digital camera that date-stamps the time/date, to prove the shape/condition they are in. And also you should create an inventory of her goods, with a written description of their condition, and have a friend (or two) review it and sign it with  you, so you also have witnesses to their condition.


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