Bought a townhouse in Maryland. Previouse Owner has left property in the house.

April 8th, we purchased a townhouse in Maryland from a couple of friends. At first, their move-out date was the Tuesday before closing. We started scheduling meetings with contractors for estimates on the closing date and the weekend. On the day of closing, they told us that they needed more time, due to a personal crisis. They would be out the following Tuesday, April 12th. April 12th, they said that if they didn’t have everything out by Thursday, when they have to return the truck, they would throw everything out.

They disappeared and didn’t return calls until the following week, when they told us they decided to take the weekend off. They would come the following weekend, April 24-25th to pick up the rest of their things. They never came. I called them the 25th to ask if they were coming that evening. They said, no. They’re too busy.

I told them that they must have everything out, by Sunday, June 1st. We cannot keep postponing appointments to provide them free storage. I no longer see this as friendship. I see this as leeching.

Are there any legal implications, if we dump everything?

I would talk to your real estate agent or someone knowledgeable in local laws. Abandon property laws vary by state so no one is probably going to be able to give you the scoop for MD. Whatever it is I would move it out of my way (that probably legal in all 50 states). Second (if you want to be hard-butt) you are probably legally entitled to some kind of storage fee.

Whatever you do, do not get rid of the stuff until you know you are OK. I would check you real estate agent or call a real estate attorney. My experience is a lot of attorneies will tell you over the phone (make sure they are real estate guys) what to do or not to do and end with “if you have a problem, call me and I’ll help”. I have done this several times and gotten a lot of great advice.

I know this a pain, but go the extra mile to make sure you are in the clear. Its much cheaper than get sued by some lazy-butt who will not move there (probably worthless) “stuff”

Thanks. Will do.

if i buy a house and the owner doesn’t move his stuff, doesn’t it become mine???

Unless there’s something in the purchase contract relating to the seller’s right to any personal property left behind after closing, my understanding is (at least in PA) that if they leave it, they lose it.

The complication in the scenario related by “student” is that it could be argued that there was an understanding for the so-called friends to be able to retrieve their stuff. However, I agree with “student” that this has reached the point of abuse. I would suggest sending them a certified letter, return receipt requested, putting them on notice that you are pitching anything that’s not removed by them by X date.


I called my settlement attorney who handled the closing. He confirmed your suggestion.