Property left behind after deed transfer.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Property left behind after deed transfer.

My boyfriend and I purchased his sister’s home a month ago. This was supposed to be an easy, stress free, no contract deal. He went to the bank, paid off the loan in cash, and transferred the deed to his name and had it recorded.Now here we are a month later still waiting for her to remove her personal property from the house. She has told us that she spoke to a lawyer who told her as long as utilities are still in her name electricity is even after several times of us asking it to be disconnected so we can put it in our names that we have to give her 30 days notice to remove her belongings. My boyfriend and I just desperately want to be able to turn our house into our home but are in limbo until her property is removed. Do we need to give her 30 days notice? Was all personal property left behind now our possessions? How do we go about handling this situation? Once again no contracts, deed signed and keys in our possession.

Asked on May 15, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

She is fundamentally right. First, her personal property does NOT become yours because you bought her house--ownership of the home does not convey ownership of anything else. 
Second, you do need to provide her notice and an opportunity to retrieve her belongings. As the lawyer suggested, send her 30-day written notice, sent multiple ways including ways you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail, return receipt requested, and also regular mail simultaneously; if you have an email or fax number, email or fax it to), staring the facts (when you become owner; that she has left her belongings there without permission) and stating that she has 30 days to remove her items--and that if she not, you will remove them from your house (i.e. put them out for trash or pick-up; you cannot keep them). Then send her a follow-up reminder the same way at the 15-day mark. Then after that, if she does not get her belongings, set them out.
Note: in the interim, you don't have to leave them where she left them: you can pile them all into the garage or a guest or spare room. You have to keep them safe for 30 days, but it's your house; you can move her belongings around.

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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