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Disposing of ex's stuff

(26 Posts)
MavisDavis99 Sun 07-May-17 22:57:05

Split with ex 3 years ago.
He left all his stuff in my house.
I have him written notice to remove it by Xmas 2015, which he didn't.
I recently starting binning/giving away/selling some of it, thinking he was never going to pick it up.
He also harasses me to get back with him and I believe leaving his stuff here is partly so he always has an excuse to come back, so I want it all gone.
I can't take it to him as he lives somewhere other side of country, I don't know his address and I have no transport or money.
We also have as child he pays no maintenance for (isn't working)and saw only once last year.
Really worried now as he just asked for something small of his and has arranged to see our child next week and I'm going to have to admit I've been getting rid of things. He will be livid.
Because I only gave him notice to take his stuff but didn't specify that I would get rid of it if he didn't, can he now prosecute me for theft etc? He will definitely threaten to and I don't know where I stand.

MavisDavis99 Sun 07-May-17 23:01:08

Should read.... I gave him written notice by email to remove it by Xmas 2015. Can't edit.

mrsc1985 Sun 07-May-17 23:07:19

Why are you letting him see your child so sporadically?

childmaintenanceserviceinquiry Sun 07-May-17 23:12:00

For the 1st year after ex left I would hand over stuff (eg post, papers etc) fairly willingly. Then I began to clear out. He had left some stuff in the loft that he asked for that I hadnt got to so I handed that over. But do you know what would piss him off the most - I sold quite a few bits of what he left. And now - anything I find of his I just dump at the charity shop. So if you have correspondence and he received it but didnt acknowledge it then I think you are well within your moral rights to dispose of it how you see fit. - Try local auction houses and ebay!

With regard to his specific request- just practice the line. Sorry I did look for that but couldnt find it. Repeat everytime he asks for something.

MavisDavis99 Sun 07-May-17 23:16:10

That's a separate issue.
I felt morally obligated.
Am currently waiting for an appointment with a women's support worker and looking for a solicitor who will give me half hour free to try and sort that out.
Just want an idea of where I stand re the belongings.

MavisDavis99 Sun 07-May-17 23:23:57

Thanks childmaintenanceserviceinquiry.
I'm worried if I say I can't find it that he will demand to look for it. As I understand it, if he has items in my house he has the legal right to enter to get them. But I don't let him in as he can turn abusive and refuse to leave.
I did sell some bits, so bit worried I didn't have the legal right to do so and will have to admit it eg bit hard to convincingly say I can't find a whole bike every time he asks. Morally, I feel like I have a right, it's the legal side and his enevitible anger that scare me.

CointreauVersial Sun 07-May-17 23:37:33

Box/stack up everything of his you can find, then when he turns up asking for his stuff, you can point him in the direction of the boxes and say "everything I've found of yours is in that pile - you can take it all with you now". If he asks about something specific, just repeat. Don't give him ammunition by telling him you can't find it, or you might have sold it - just direct him to the boxes.

He's had a long time to collect his stuff if it was so precious.

mrsc1985 Sun 07-May-17 23:41:10

I was asking because I get the impression you are afraid of him, and you have no moral obligation to allow him to drift in and out of your lives this way. Especially if you think he uses his possessions as an excuse to keep a grip on you 😥

MavisDavis99 Sun 07-May-17 23:50:20

Thanks cointreauversial. He's got no car so will be on foot, so will have no choice but to leave it. Cue tirade of me being unreasonable, heartless, etc.

Thanks mrsc1985 yes, you are right he does scare me, I find him intimidating and emotionally draining, and think our child would be better off without him if he can't commit to regular contact, but like the belongings I feel trapped by the law. He has a legal right to see his child, doesn't he? So I am legally in the wrong to withhold contact, aren't I? It's all so confusing.

MrsBertBibby Mon 08-May-17 06:56:43

Were/ are you married?

Is your home owned or rented, and in whose name?

UnGooglable Mon 08-May-17 08:25:01

I gave my ex written notice giving him 6 months to collect his shit stuff. He came once during that time and collected some but not all of it. I offered him to come to get the rest during the time period and he ignored (while continuing to complain to anyone and everyone that I was 'keeping his things from him' hmm)

Police recently told me that I've given him enough chance and that I can dispose of it as I choose.

You've given him 1.5 years over the deadline you set so presumably the same would apply.

AlternativeTentacle Mon 08-May-17 08:31:18

Use the money you made on the sales, hire a skip for the time he is near your house, sling the lot in there and tell him to help himself as they are coming some time the next week to take the skip away. He kicks off, call the police.

prh47bridge Mon 08-May-17 08:46:41

This situation falls under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. Provided the written notice included your name and address and was sent by registered post or recorded delivery you are in the clear. You have given the required notice so have the right to dispose of the goods. However, you must hand over the proceeds of the sale (after deducting any costs of the sale) to him.

UnGooglable Mon 08-May-17 09:07:50

I presume you can just get rid - you don't 'have' to sell stuff?

MavisDavis99 Mon 08-May-17 10:15:01

Thanks all. Not married, only lived together 6 months. I own the house, his name isn't on anything.

Couldn't give notice by post as he was no fixed address, so just sent an email, which doesn't have postal addresses on, so looks like might not be covered in that case.

But what you were told, ungooglable, might mean I'm ok. Seemed a waste to bin sellable items, especially as he's contributed nothing financially towards his child and I could desperately do with a little help towards food, bills etc, but I would have just given it away if I knew it was wrong and I'd have to give him the money.

UnGooglable Mon 08-May-17 10:59:20

TBH, and I'm not legally qualified, but I'd have thought that unless there's any record of you having sold the stuff then he'd not be able to do anything to recover the money.

I 'think' that the tort thingy is civil rather than criminal so (and in any case) no one will investigate for him, he'd have to get the evidence himself and bring a civil claim - presumably in the small claims court. I was told recently by a solicitor that no lawyer will touch small claims with a barge pole because costs are not awarded in those cases so he wouldn't even get any legal help.

So if for instance you took it to a car boot then you could pocket the proceeds and no one would be the wiser. Given child maintence issues that would certainly be morally acceptable IMO. And just tell him you've given it to charity.

Like others say, if he kicks off call the police. While they won't give a damn about you getting rid of his stuff they certainly would about him threatening and abusing you.

prh47bridge Mon 08-May-17 11:11:15

I wouldn't trust advice from the police in this case. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one.

As you haven't given the correct notice he could take action against you for damages for wrongful interference over the items you have already sold, although the damages would probably be similar to the amount you got from selling them. If you sell his stuff he is definitely entitled to the proceeds of any sale after deducting the costs of the sale.

You cannot simply get rid of his stuff even if you had given the correct notice. The Act I referred to previously is clear that you must adopt the best method of sale reasonably available in the circumstances, so you can only dump his stuff if it cannot be sold.

Of course, it is possible he may not want to take legal action against you in which case it doesn't matter what you do. But if there is a chance he will take action you need to be careful.

MavisDavis99 Mon 08-May-17 11:17:52

Thanks prh47bridge.
I guess I'll just have to take my chances.

UnGooglable Mon 08-May-17 11:35:09

God, it makes me so mad that a lazy bastard can piss off leaving you responsible for their crap and that you are legally obliged to take the time and effort of trying to sell it or be used as an unpaid storage facility. I mean wtf? (Not arguing it's not the case btw - just impotently raging).

MavisDavis99 Mon 08-May-17 13:11:42

Yes, agreed, ungooglable. I don't want to be responsible for his stuff, and giving him the proceeds from selling it when he's contributed not a single penny towards his child....takes the you know what! 😞

Collaborate Mon 08-May-17 23:17:27

God, it makes me so mad that a lazy bastard can piss off leaving you responsible for their crap and that you are legally obliged to take the time and effort of trying to sell it or be used as an unpaid storage facility. I mean wtf? (Not arguing it's not the case btw - just impotently raging).

This legislation is primarily intended for when tenants leave a property and some goods remain - perhaps because they've been evicted in a hurry. One way of dealing with it using the minimum amount of effort is to get a house clearing company to make you an offer for everything (literally - even the stuff they'd only throw out). Then you hang on to the pittance you get for it until he comes knocking.

QueenofEsgaroth Mon 08-May-17 23:25:46

I propose you arrange for a big bloke friend or relative to be visiting when your ex is next due.

Have all of his stuff (that isn't worth selling) piled up outside your front door. Make it clear that if he wants it stored he can make his own arrangements. Bolt the front door and make yourself and friend a nice cup of tea.

I guarantee that any urgent need to see child (and push your buttons) will evaporate on sight of big bloke.

As for no transport blah blah, stop falling for that crap, you are not his mother, he is an adult, he can call a cab, have a storage trailer brought or phone a friend with a car. No talk of money or selling stuff just "here is your stuff, this is not a storage unit, bye", any other questions can be answered by a shrug or at most "dunno".

Stop believing you are responsible for him, he is your common or garden variety cocklodger - flush him out. Your only concern here is your child, sadly you can't affect his concern for the same child. It sucks but you'll get used to it and things will get much easier once you feel in charge of your own life again.

The difference between "having a legal right" to something (as you put it) and getting it is realistically finding a sympathetic court and bothering your backside to go to court, now ask yourself how likely that is and get his crap packed up and out of your life.

MavisDavis99 Tue 09-May-17 18:11:22

Thanks, Collaborate and queenofEsgaroth.
Had loads more texts from him about how I've wrecked his life, plus wavering on whether he may or may not turn up tomorrow. Is too much for me to take, I would be in a right state now, even if he did turn up, so I've told him not to come and that I'm not switching the phone back on until I have some advice on the best way forward. Want an end to this now, so seeking legal advice and determined to get tougher to protect myself and my child.
Oh, for a big man though! grin if only!

QueenofEsgaroth Tue 09-May-17 18:25:32

Fine, let him know his stuff is on the doorstep regardless, tape your letterbox shut, pack lunch and head out first thing, don't come home til very late, better yet go stay with someone overnight, kids sleepover smile

Just try to always have someone there, an audience improves bad behaviour remarkably!

QueenofEsgaroth Tue 09-May-17 18:26:12

Also if you have decent neighbours ask them to keep an eye on your place smile

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