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When is tenant's personal property considered abandoned?

I rented a room out to someone. He moved out in Dec 2008. I asked him over 20 times over 6 months to please come pick up all his personal property. He finally came and got some of his belongings. Now a year and a half later he came to my house demanding to pick up stuff he left behind. Some things gave been thrown away, some sold on craigs list and some still here (grill, microwave and a few others items) At what point would personal Items be considers abandon? He also skipped out on $1680.00 in rent. I have a court judgment for $1080.00 which he is taking his time paying. Does he have the right to come pick up stuff he left here? Thanks Mark

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Yes.  I know it seems crazy that an adult can just leave his stuff and expect to come back for it later, but MA law does not give Landlords a lien on abandoned property (even when, as in this case, you have a judgment against the former tenant).  Typically, property is removed by the constable at the time of eviction pursuant to MA General Laws Chapter 239, Section 4.  In this case, I would send him a registered letter in which you give him 14 days to make arrangements to move his stuff.  As for the stuff you sold, you may have to return the proceeds to him or enter an agreement to reduce the amount he owes you.  Good luck, and please tell your friends about The Forum.  For more information or to post a question, visit our Massachusetts Landlord Law Discussion Forum.


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