How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

How do you establish property as abandoned, and may you lawfully

This answer was rated:

How do you establish property as abandoned, and may you lawfully keep it?

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
A rather dilapidated trailer was left on the yard on a small estate we lived on until 2 years ago. The owner had left the estate some time , over a year, before we left. The estate owner is now saying the owner has turned up again and says that he paid £200 to my wife to buy the trailer. She has no recollection of that, but I am looking to see if the trailer was effectively abandoned and so might the original owner (the estate owner clearly has the trailer) mhave abandoned it anyway so the has no claim to it anyway. The estate owner is trying to claim £200 from my wife to pay the original trailer owner
Sorry if I'm missing the point but if this were abandoned then surely the estate owner would be the owner now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Precisely my point, the man is a serial and vexatious litigant and will likely try to sue my wife just out of spite. I f the trailer would be deemed abandoned he has no need to claim, which just might get him off our backs
Thanks for the information.

I do completely see your position

This is an issue of the law of abandonment of goods. As a general rule you are under a duty to take reasonable care of the property of others if its left in your care. However, there are obviously limits to that.

Abandonment is very badly defined in law. Goods are generally abandoned if they have been left for a period of time that is not ‘reasonable’. What is reasonable depends on the facts of the case - in particular the value of the item either financial or emotional but also the inconvenience to you. A small item would be easier to store and so you would be required to keep it longer than a bulky one which clogs up your space.

This is an item in fairly poor condition that has been there sometime. I think overall you would not have difficulty showing abandonment depending on what steps were taken to contact the owner by the estate owner.

You would need the estate owner to support your defence though if you are to argue abandonment.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** useful. For your information the original owner was from Poland, and that was where he has now been for over two years as a minimum, which is the time we have been gone, plus of course the time during which we still dwelt there. I would assume that such a lengthy disappearance would bolster any case?
I think two years is too long for him to argue that this wasn't abandonment.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you