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to sell items left by previous owners of our house

(16 Posts)
ontheedgeofwhatever Mon 08-Oct-12 15:56:36

We've had our house for just over 2 years. When we moved in we found a number of items in the loft which I realised were quite valuable. As the previous owners had gone abroad and not left a forwarding address we wrote to their solicitors informing them of what we'd found and received a response saying they'd forwarded our letter to their clients. We sent a further letter 6 months later and again their solicitors let us know they'd forwarded it on. We made one further attempt a year ago with the same result We've still heard nothing

AIBU if I sell the items on now as they are

a) quite valuable
b) not to my taste - its old china
c) I think we've made reasonable steps to contact the previous owners
d) we need the storage space

The problem is I'm not actually certain they're legally ours

RhubarbCrumbled Mon 08-Oct-12 15:59:19

I think when you buy a house you keep everything that's left on moving day (inc. the bin full of rotting food). You've made attempts at contacting them, they've not responded so you're just clearing space that you own and they aren't paying for.

AMumInScotland Mon 08-Oct-12 16:01:59

I'm pretty sure it's legally yours since it was in the house when you moved in. After 2 years, and numerous attempts to check with them, I doubt they'd have any legal options if they suddenly decided to complain about it, as they should have done something about it long ago! Maybe different morally if you moved in kast week, but I think legally it would still be yours.

Imnotaslimjim Mon 08-Oct-12 16:02:14

Go for it, you've done what you can, I think they legally became yours the day you moved in

TheSurgeonsMate Mon 08-Oct-12 16:03:41

Not unreasonable.

Legally, they've been abandoned, probably not yours, but what are you going to do? I doubt the queen wants them. Probably better to sell them than give them away, so that if for some utterly unreasonable legal reason you have to reimburse the sellers at a later date you won't feel cheated.

RuleBritannia Mon 08-Oct-12 16:04:20

I'd like to keep that sort of thing but you've tried to contact the previous owners. I suggest that you contact the solicitors again and tell them that the previous owners have 3 months to remove their items [give a finalising date] or you will keep them/dispose of them as you see fit. Just to close a loophole.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 08-Oct-12 16:04:35

There might be a conveyancing lawyer on here who can confirm the legals, but otherwise why not drop the lawyers you used a note to get them to put your mind at rest that you're covered legally.

Morally, sell them. You have tried. Someone else might love and use them instead of them gathering dust in the loft.

YouMayLogOut Mon 08-Oct-12 16:31:13

Agree you need further legal advice.

HecateLarpo Mon 08-Oct-12 16:41:34

Maybe send a letter saying that you have made several attempts to contact them and if you haven't heard from them by X date, you will take that to mean that they do not want them and will therefore be disposing of the items and will consider that the end of the matter.

I'm not a lawyer, I stress that grin It's just what I'd do.

I also wouldn't say how I was disposing of them grin

aldiwhore Mon 08-Oct-12 17:11:14

YWNBU to sell them and I doubt you'd lose any civil case brought against you as you've given it plenty of time and made reasonable attempts to reunite the items with the previous owners, which I am not sure you HAD to to anyway.

Sell it all.

If you're feeling extra fair (I think you've been fair enough) then I like Hecate's idea of a last chance letter...

CailinDana Mon 08-Oct-12 17:24:53

The previous owners of our house undertook to empty the loft as part of the contract. So when we moved in and found a car amp and a few other fairly valuable things we sold them. They claimed (as part of the contract) to have emptied the loft, therefore we assumed anything left behind was fair game.

pongysticks Mon 08-Oct-12 17:27:20

They are legally yours the day you get the keys to the house, it's the sellers responsibility to take all belongings. I think you sound lovely that you have even attempted to give them the chance to claim, you may even find the items were in the loft when they moved in!

WelshMaenad Mon 08-Oct-12 17:37:44

The previous owner of our house left us some large Pooh and Eeyore stuffed toys and a box of her scraggy knickers. I feel cheated.

cheekydevil Mon 08-Oct-12 17:45:46

Shortly after we moved into our house my DH found a secret room that was extremely difficult to get into.
Inside it he found a turntable and a collection of LP's ranging from Barbara Streisand to Judy Garland...make of that what you will be we had an idea the lady of the house may not have been aware of them.

scurryfunge Mon 08-Oct-12 17:48:40

I think that as long as you have made reasonable attempts to return the property (and you have) then after a certain amount of time you can dispose of it as you wish.

peeriebear Mon 08-Oct-12 17:53:16

When I moved in, I got two huge, very dated 70s lampshades (retro chic now!), a box of fairy lights and frumpy christmas cards (unwritten in, but oh so dated and yack), some of those proper deckchairs that pose a threat to life and limb, and an old Paddington Bear style brown suitcase (empty).

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