Can I dispose of my ex-girlfriend’s belongings?

UPDATED: Mar 16, 2012

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Can I dispose of my ex-girlfriend’s belongings?

I ended a relationship with my live-in girlfriend in September 2011. She moved out 9/28/11. She left a lot of her belongings behind, and refuses to retrieve them. Can I legally start throwing her stuff out at this point(almost 6 months)? Should I draft a letter stating “if you don’t retrieve your belongings by x/x/xx they will be discarded”? If so, what is an acceptable time frame? Her stuff needs to go ASAP!

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Good question. If you former girlfriend has vacated the unit she was sharing with you and has no inent to return leaving behind personal belongings, you have the following options:

1. if the items left behind are worth less than $300, you can dispose of them any way you want after you give her in writing one last opportunity to retrieve them by a certain date and fails to do so;

2. if the items collectively exceed $300, I would place them at an offsite storage facility in her name and send her the lease letting her know that she needs to pay the rent for the items and if not, the storage facility will sell the items to pay the due rent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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