Am I obligated to give my mother herbelongings after she abandonedthem for more than 30 days?

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2010

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Am I obligated to give my mother herbelongings after she abandonedthem for more than 30 days?

My mother was asked to not come back from her vacation to my residence in 5/19/10. She said that she would pick her belongings up 6/18/10 but never did. She had a list for my brother to get certain things of hers, which he did. Then a month later there was another list of things that she wanted. Now am I obligated to give it to her? She has not yet paid all of her back rent (owes for 1 1/2years) or storage for all her belongings. Is this property not considered abandoned, or does she have the right to keep giving revised lists when she feels like it?

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Ok so this is really a delicate question to answer.  When you said that she owed "rent" in your question it took a very different turn.  If your Mother was paying rent then you could be in a heap of trouble if she chooses to make it for you.  You can not just "ask" her not to come back. You have to formally evict her: notice,  court, order by a judge - the whole nine yards.  Without a formal eviction notice you can not consider her stuff "abandoned" - and probably not anyway with the notice; tenants are given a tom of rights under most state laws - and at this point she could sue you for conversion if you have taken possession as against the tenants rights.  Be very careful here.  It does not sound as if your Mother is pushing the matter but you are putting your brother in the middle.  Try and work out a compromise. Good luck.

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