General Question

123April's avatar

Can I keep the Bike?

Asked by 123April (20 points ) August 11th, 2012

Someone lived with me and moved out without paying. There was never a written agreement. Just verbal as I trusted this person.
When they left they forgot a bike and left it on my property. Can I keep the bike and use as payment. Would this be legal or could I arrested? As they are requesting it back.

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8 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Use the bike as a hostage until you get the money owed to you. How much is it? For rent? Do you have any documentation? Does this person have a history of having paid you rent regularly before moving, thus setting a pattern.

You have to put the bike in escrow, which means in a safe place where you will not use it.

Write a little document and have it witnessed.

“You own me $xx.xx for yyy. When you pay, I will return your bike.”

The bike is now your security deposit…but you have to treat it as such until this is sorted.

Kardamom's avatar

Here are some Rules regarding this situation.

Here is some more specific Information

It looks like you will have to keep the bike safe for a limited amount of time, approx a month, something called a bailment, but you have to let the tenant know that you have his stuff and when/where he can come and get it, but he must pay you the rent that is owed and any costs you incurred to “store” his stuff. Make sure you document everything: when he left, why he left, what he left, what he owed in rent, what you did with his stuff during his absence how you attempted to contact him etc.

123April's avatar

Would the 30 days start from the time she moved out or from the time I have the notice sent to her notarized? Thank you

Judi's avatar

The laws about abandoned property vary by state. I would check and make sure what your doing is legal in YOUR state. In California you must return it.

marinelife's avatar

You should give it back if they are asking for it. You should say that they can pick it up when they bring the money that they owe you.

Kardamom's avatar

@123April, I’m not sure when the 30 day time period starts. You might be able to get some more info from LegalZoom. There’s a section in the menu (on the left) where you can get help from an attorney, I believe asking a question is free.

gambitking's avatar

Depending your state…

When a tenant on the lease leaves prior to the term expiring, legally speaking, the lease has been broken at that point. Most places will work with you if there is sufficient income solvency on the part of the remaining tenants.

You would have to already have a written agreement from the departing roommate regarding how payments, etc would be handled. Might put you in a tricky spot. The bike isn’t yours, which means you’ll probably have to give it back upon request. It’s a completely separate issue from the rental agreement, so you’ll have to seek other recourse to recover the rent money you want.

jca's avatar

@123April: Please post an update as to what you decide to do and how things turn out. Good luck!

JCA
The Update Lady

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