abandoned property

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Lost, mislaid, and abandoned property are categories of the common law of property which deals with personal property or chattel which has left the possession of its rightful owner without having directly entered the possession of another person. Property can be considered lost, mislaid or abandoned depending on the circumstances under which it is found by the next party who obtains its possession.
There is an old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law, perhaps dating back centuries. This means that in most cases, the possessor of a piece of property is its rightful owner without evidence to the contrary. More colloquially, this may be called finders, keepers. The contradiction to this principle is theft by finding, which may occur if conversion occurs after finding someone else's property.
The rights of a finder of such property are determined in part by the status in which it is found. Because these classifications have developed under the common law of England, they turn on nuanced distinctions. The general rule attaching to the three types of property may be summarized as: A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property. This rule varies by jurisdiction.

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  1. L

    Buying Abandoned Property in Victoria

    I know of a 1/2 acre property in VIC that has appeared abandoned for almost 40 years. I found the title online which was dated 1973. If the owner is deceased who owns the property and what steps should I take now. Who legally owns the property if the owner dies and no will is left?
  2. C

    VIC Horses kept on private land

    I have a small vacant acreage in northern Victoria. An ex tenant of mine whome i rented a house to kept 2 of her horses on my property which was a completely separate address to the rental property. One horse has since passed away and when I evicted her from my rental property through VCAT...
  3. K

    VIC Selling Son's Abandoned Property - How Long to Wait?

    My son and his girlfriend needed a place to stay for a short time. No board was discussed but they brought food, they damaged my house, assaulted me (AVO now in place), run up electricity, internet etc. They offered to help with the bill never did, stole my laptop, damaged a spa and left on the...
  4. O

    QLD How Long Can My Friend Store Abandoned Property?

    Asking for a friend literally. My friend had someone living in the backyard at her house for some time. She knew him from a stint in Cairns and when he came down to Brisbane, with no accommodation, she let him set up out the back. He had a tent, plenty of camping equipment, TV set (used 240...
  5. R

    VIC Removal of ex partners personal property

    Recently, my mum has separated with her partner of 6 years and asked him to leave the house, which he (thankfully) did. Unfortunately, he was a bit of a hoarder and has left her garage and house full of personal property (tools, clothing, a desk, a fridge, a BBQ and a car). She wants to get rid...
  6. M

    TAS Abandoned Property - Selling Abandoned Vehicle?

    I have a vehicle which was left at my address by my daughter's ex boyfriend before they moved back to Queensland 12 months ago. They vehicle has been sitting here since they left and he has made no attempt to remove it or arrange to have it collected. It was out of registration when he left it...
  7. C

    QLD Returning Builder's equipment

    Hi I am currently in dispute with my old house builder who walked off the job a few years ago. He left behind building equipment and over the last 6 months he won't come and get it when I ask him to. I have emailed about three times now and instead of responding with an answer he replies...
  8. J

    QLD Abandoned Property - How to Get Uncollected Goods Form?

    In Sept 2016, a person I had known a short time asked if could he leave his vehicle at my place. I said ok. He said he would come and collect it within 2 months. He didn't. It has run out of rego 10 months ago. I have attempted to contact him unsuccessfully for the last 6 months. I have been...
  9. Joe2334

    NSW How to Claim Ownership of Abandoned Property?

    An old friend of mine left their trailer on my property in 2014. I made multiple calls for him to pick it in the past years. He never made any effort to come get it. It's been sitting in my yard unregistered and slowly breaking down. I want to know if there is a way for me to legally acquire...
  10. B

    NSW Ownership of Abandoned Property

    Out of the goodness of my heart I allowed a friend of a friend (named J) to move into my house (I rent) for a couple of weeks, just to help out as didnt want to move into his relatives place & had no where else to go. J & I had no written agreement in place but verbally agreed on $200/week board...