Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

We are the new owners of home. If the last owners left personal property at the home, can they still claim it after the home sells?

Asked on 11/11/17, 10:40 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I would say yes, as a general matter, they can. Exceptions might arise in three or more circumstances. First, was the personal property included in the sale by being specified in the deed or in a separate oral agreement between buyer and seller? Second, possibly the property was once personal but became part of the realty by attachment to it, such as built-in appliances or carpeting. Third, has the personal property been legally "abandoned" by the seller? Abandonment usually requires either some act of relinquishment like putting it in the trash can or telling the buyer that "we no longer want this", but can sometimes be implied from the passage of time. Cost or inconvenience to the buyer to store personal property left behind can also be a factor in establishing abandonment. These are all exceptions to the more general rule that personal property doesn't change ownership in a sale of real property and can generally be reclaimed.

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Answered on 11/11/17, 12:28 pm

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