Do I have any legal rights to the truck my previous tenants left behind? 6 Answers as of February 26, 2014

I have a rental property. The previous tenants moved out abruptly, leaving behind a disaster. They were supposed to repair all damages 2 months ago. They did not. I also cannot contact them any longer. They left behind a pickup truck. Do I have any legal rights to this truck?

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Stuart P Gelberg
Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
Ordinarily anything left behind by a tenant without an intent to return is yours. However motor vehicles have Certificates of Title and you won't be able to transfer title without the Certificate.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/26/2014
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
The best way for you to obtain legal possession of the truck is to proceed with a claim against the tenants for eviction, back rent, and damages to the property. This can be done by filing a claim against the tenants with the local magistrate. To comply with the Landlord Tenant Law you should post a notice of eviction for nonpayment of the rent plus damages to the property on the premises and make sure that you have documented your actions either in writing or with a witness. After 15 days you can file a complaint with the magistrate. and obtain a hearing date. Notice of the hearing should be sent to the tenants by first class mail directed to their last known address and by the local constable posting notice of the hearing at the premises. After the obtaining a judgment and waiting for the appeal time to run (30 days for back rent and damages to property; 15 days for possession) you can return to the magistrate's office to start a proceeding to enforce the judgment for rent and property damages by directing the constable to levy against the truck and to schedule it for a constable's sale. If no one shows up to bid against you on the day of the sale you can then obtain possession of the truck and its value will be applied toward the amount of damages awarded at the hearing. You would then have to contact the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to arrange for a transfer of the title to the truck. While a bit cumbersome procedurally, it is better than simply claiming the truck as abandoned property.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/25/2014
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
Not yet. Send a certified letter informing them that you are charging them $x a day for storage for the truck. When you have stored it long enough to meet the value of the truck, claim a warehouseman's lien. You probably should talk with a local attorney to make sure you comply with your state's statutes.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 2/25/2014
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
This is messy. A good lawyer can help you with this.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 2/25/2014
WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
There are formalities and procedures to declare property abandoned. Follow the procedures and the truck can become yours. Remember, title to a motor vehicle is registered with the DMV. After the abandonment procedures are followed title should be recorded with the DMV.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/25/2014
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