Join Australia's most dynamic and respected property investment community

Abandoned goods??

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by cmm, 24th Nov, 2015.

  1. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    Hi
    Just looking for some advice regarding abandoned goods – what is the process for dealing with goods not picked up after settlement and tenancy ending?

    We purchased a property with a tenancy in place, which has now ended. We have moved in and there is a pool table belonging to the previous owner that is still at the property (it was part of the tenancy agreement and is supposed to be removed once the tenancy ended).
    Is there a specific timeframe that the previous owner has to remove the pool table before he has to relinquish ownership? How does the process work for it to become an abandoned goods?

    Thanks
     
    BigKahuna likes this.
  2. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    13th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,605
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Last edited: 24th Nov, 2015
  3. catsteve

    catsteve Active Member

    Joined:
    22nd Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    40
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    what goods?
     
    S.T and Hodge like this.
  4. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    Thanks D.T. - just had a read. Does the same thing apply if it is the previous owner who hasn't collected (even though he was given notice), rather than a tenant?

    Settlement on the house purchase occurred while a tenancy agreement was in place. The pool table was noted in the tenancy agreement as a chattel. The previous owner offered to sell us the pool table during the purchase discussions but we declined ($2000), so it was noted by his solicitor it would be removed when the tenancy ended. We offered a lower price ($500) if he still hadn't sold it when the tenants moved out to save him removal costs.

    The tenants vacated a month early as agreed with us. The previous owner was notified by email (he is overseas) a few days before the vacate date that he needed to remove it as there were no buyers (he 'strongly' declined our offer that had still stood). He was given 14 days post vacate to remove the pool table. We took our offer off the table once we moved in as we weren't interested in buying it anymore. The agent didn't hear from him again until 3 days post deadline, where he wanted to know if they got the money from us.

    From there it has got very unpleasant with legal threats from him. As far as I was aware, if it wasn't removed by the deadline it is no longer his. Apparently he was offshore and didn't have internet access....yet he had been in communication with the agent when he was first notified, didn't organise a proxy to do it for him, and didn't request extra time. Even now he has not offered a pick up date, he has just been demanding money.

    I can't seem to find anything on the internet to explain what should be the process in this particular situation.
    (Sorry - long post)
     
  5. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    catsteve - it is a pool table
     
  6. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    13th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,605
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Does the purchase contract of the property list it as an inclusion or exclusion?
    Does the lease mention it all?

    Sounds to me like you got a free pool table :p
     
  7. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    It wasn't mentioned in the contract of sale and so was discussed by email between his solicitor and our conveyancer that he would remove it. It was listed in the tenancy agreement though that it was a chattel and so should be left when they vacated.

    I wouldn't mind so much but I thought we had done the right thing, given him notice, offered to buy it to save him having to remove it etc. This is the guy though that after we agreed to return a chandelier that was in the house but not specifically included in the contract of sale because it was a family heirloom and had sentimental value, he then tried to sell it back to us for $1000.

    Its council hard rubbish collection this week - can I put it on the side of the road and forget about him ;)
     
  8. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

    Joined:
    13th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    5,605
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Either that or gumtree ;)
     
    cmm likes this.
  9. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    Thanks for your advice D.T. - much appreciated (and I don't just mean gumtree!)
     
  10. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    9,045
    Location:
    Sydney
    Title doesn't change if the pool table wasn't included in the sale. This means it still belongs to the previous owner. If you dispose of it you could be liable to recover it or compensate them for this. Have a search as there will probably be legislation covering 'abandoned goods' and this will enable you to cover yourself - in terms of how long you have to wait and how you can dispose of it.

    In NSW it is the Uncollected Goods Act 1995
    UNCOLLECTED GOODS ACT 1995

    In QLD
    Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act 1967
    DISPOSAL OF UNCOLLECTED GOODS ACT 1967
     
    wylie likes this.
  11. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    Thanks Terry_w
    Think I found it.....very dry reading. Written so lay people don't understand it? :(
    www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/.../61-6815a033.doc

    I compared with the Consumer Affairs VIC website but seem to come up with different approaches
    Disposing of medium value goods - Consumer Affairs Victoria
    I can't work out whether the 28 days he has already had is sufficient (since it wasn't a disposal notice but a request to remove within 14 days), or whether I need to give him 10 months!
    So much for being able to settle into the new house!
     
  12. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    9,045
    Location:
    Sydney
    If you haven't settled then require that this be removed before settlement - after seeking legal advice.
     
  13. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    We settled a couple of months ago and took over the tenancy.
    Looks like we'll have to get legal advice after all.

    You made me think though - just checked an old email from his solicitor to my conveyancer prior to settlement and they state 'if your clients do not wish to purchase the pool table, the Vendor will arrange for it to be sold and removed prior to the tenant vacating the property'.
    Think I'll take that with me when I get the legal advice.

    Thanks for your help Terry_w :)
     
  14. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    939
    Location:
    Qld
    Why not go back to the solicitor who handled the purchase as this is an unresolved connected issue?
    Marg
     
    BigKahuna, S.T, wylie and 1 other person like this.
  15. cmm

    cmm Member

    Joined:
    24th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    8
    Location:
    VIC
    We are waiting to hear back from them.
    I was looking to see if anyone else had knowledge of the process or experience of something similar. Trying to get an idea of what to expect and to see the kind of obstacles or circumstances that may come up.
     
    BigKahuna likes this.
  16. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    1,129
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Personally I wouldn't bother. I'd throw it out, keep it or sell it. Sounds like the guy's not going to come back for it anyway. I'd deal with the legalities when and if they happen.
     
  17. Wall Street

    Wall Street Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22nd Oct, 2015
    Posts:
    120
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Start charging storage costs until he removes it...

    That way you end up with
    (i) a free pool table if he backs down, or
    (ii) money if he wants his pool table back!

    Everyone likes money!
     
  18. BigKahuna

    BigKahuna Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24th Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    624
    Location:
    Sydney
    CMM, Terryw is right. Also, the laws are different in every state. Be careful. If the owner of the goods comes back and finds that you have sold their--and the goods are still 'theirs'; they're not yours--pool table and other stuff, you could find yourself in a pickle.

    This has recently happened to me. In the Northern Territory, if an abandoned vehicle is left on your property, you can go through a process and claim legal ownership. That is not so in Canberra.

    In Canberra, when goods are abandoned on your private property, you do not automatically become the owner. You must make all reasonable effort to locate the owner. Then you must hold the goods for a period. You may charge storage costs. If, after making all reasonable efforts to locate the owner, and he/she has not come forward, you can sell the goods, deduct your costs (eg disbursements such as moving costs and storage costs) and then you must give the remainder to the state government. That is the law in Canberra. Check the Victorian laws.
     
    wylie likes this.
  19. BigKahuna

    BigKahuna Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24th Nov, 2015
    Posts:
    624
    Location:
    Sydney
    Sorry, I forgot to say: I was told by the police to get legal advice. I made an appointment with Legal Aid. They were quite helpful. To prove that I have made 'reasonable efforts to find owner' I have police reports and my notes made by lawyer at Legal Aid. I was reluctant to pay for legal advice if I may not be able to recoup the cost. You could also try Legal Aid.
     
  20. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    19th Jun, 2015
    Posts:
    7,528
    Location:
    Perth, Melbourne, USA
    Terryw, I did this, I basically got my solicitor to write a letter stating I would not settle unless all items were removed this was in Melb.

    My solicitor advised that if it is not in the sales contract you cant do anything, and it was not in the contact, but it worked.

    I got stung on a previous occasion.

    MTR:)
     
    Wall Street likes this.