Dealing with Abandoned Property After Foreclosure

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Following the statutory procedures relating to abandoned property protects landlords from potential liability for an improper “conversion.”

April 10, 2019
Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara LLP

California landlords must follow very specific steps before disposing of property that is clearly abandoned, left on real estate which has been the subject of court proceedings such as eviction or foreclosure, or otherwise left behind. Following the statutory procedures relating to abandoned property protects landlords from potential liability for an improper “conversion.”

Former tenants/owners and others “reasonably believed” to be owners of the apparently abandoned personal property must be given proper written notice of the right to reclaim the abandoned property. The tenant is presumed to be the owner of any “records” remaining on the property. The California Code of Civil Procedure provides a template for such notice. The notice to be provided to former tenants/owners must be in “substantially” the same form provided in the California Code of Civil Procedure and must contain the following information:

  1. A description of the abandoned property in a manner reasonably adequate to permit the owner of the property to identify it;
  2. The location where the tenant can claim the property;
  3. The time frame that the tenant has to claim the property. The date specified in the notice shall be a date not less than fifteen (15) days after the notice is personally delivered or, if mailed, not less than eighteen (18) days after the notice is deposited in the mail;
  4. A statement that reasonable storage costs will be charged to the tenant/owner and the tenant/owner must pay those costs before claiming the property; and


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