Hidden Treasure

I evicted Carolyn for nonpayment and she left a bunch of junk behind … inside and out.  Here’s what she left in back of the house:

My dilemma, as always, is what to do with the “leftovers.”  It’s usually obvious to me.  People tend to take what they want or need, and leave the rest for me to figure out.

In this case, Carolyn had cleared out all of her clothing, most of her dishes, and all the furniture that was in decent condition.  But even so, I did my due diligence and tried to contact her to ask her about the rest of what was left inside and out.  She didn’t respond and I had no forwarding address, so I moved to her two emergency contacts on her application.  I texted both of them and talked to one  of them, who gave me permission to remove the items.

Our Indiana law is ambiguous in this instance, but if you make every effort to contact the tenant re: items left behind and they don’t respond, you may consider the property “abandoned” and move on.

The only other option is to store their junk, which doesn’t make sense.  Of course, three days after I’d paid a hauler to get rid of her trash, Carolyn called me complaining that in the pile outside, there were precious, priceless Disney DVDs she treasured.  (Gimme a break.)

Fortunately, I had jumped through the necessary hoops to protect myself and never heard from her again.  In my 17+ years as a landlord, I’ve never had anyone take me to court over “treasures” I threw out after they moved.

And as for Carolyn’s valuable DVDs, I didn’t bother to ask why she’d left them outside, or left them at all, if they were so priceless.  Sometimes it’s just not worth going there with people!

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