Home Buying in Pittsburgh>Question Details

Michael D. C…, Other/Just Looking in

Washer/Dryer Left at closing. Owner wants to pick them up...(Details below)

Asked by Michael D. Compel, Wed Aug 17, 2011

We closed on our first home last week. The previous owners left a washer/dryer in the garage. At the closing she asked if they could come by and pick them up. We agreeed verbally they could get them that Sat. at 9:00am. They never showed.

I called her on Monday to see what happened and if she wants us to get rid of them for her. She said she will call me back to set something up. It has been three days now and NO CALL. Are they legally mine?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Michael,

I would suggest that you find out the laws in your state about abandoned property. There are rules that you need to follow to dispose or assume them.

congratulatiosn on your new home!!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 22, 2011
It sounds as if you made overtures of being willing to work with the seller's and their needs. This is a very kind gesture and one I'm sure is appreciated.

There is often a fine line between working with someone and taking advantage of a situation. Is the seller taking advantage of your garage a s a storage space. Let's face it. You are moving in and need to use this space for your own belongings.

Here's a thought.....make them aware of your need for the space, letting them know that they will need to be moved outside unless they are picked up immediately and if they are not picked up soon after will be disposed of. This should generate some activity.

Legally, anything left at closing is yours but your agreement to store the items may have clouded this. Our recommendation...continue to try to work with them without being taken advantage of.

Good luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
Hi Michael,
If the washer / dryer were included in the sales contract they are yours to keep. However if they expressly told you that they need to pick them up and you agreed to let them in to take them, the honorable thing would be to wait a bit. If you don't hear back from them in a week i would recommend asking your lawyer how to handle the situation before deciding to keep or discard them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
I am the person who gave you the position of sending them a certified letter giving them 30 days to remove their property and if they don't the property becomes yours. I was a Property Manager in Montgomery and Bucks counties, Pa. This is the law in PA to give a former resident 30 days to remove their property or it will be considered abandoned and you then have the right to remove and dispose of as needed.

Congrats on your new home and I hope by now you have been able to get this resolved in a friendly manner with the former owner. Best wishes in your new home. Adele
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
I think you should send notice to both realtors & seller that you are now claiming them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
In the California sales contract, there is a paragraph stating that everything will be removed by close of escrow. It appears that you may be in the Pittsburgh, Pa region. In that case, you often get rain. You could offer to leave them outside somewhere since you are unable to alter your schedule for unkept appointments. Knowing they could get rained on might give them a reason to either get them soon or say they don't want them.
Another tack may be to give them a deadline....for instance: We need these out by next week or we'll need to dispose of them. That way, after your deadline, you may feel comfortable doing what you like with them.
Of course, I'm not an attorney, nor am I licensed in Pa. This is just opinion/suggestion & you should seek counsel from someone qualified to give it before proceeding.
Web Reference: http://CoronasBestHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 25, 2011
do you have it writing that they are yours? if not, they might be able to claim them, everything should be in written legal word, ask you agent to help, you paid her enough i am sure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 24, 2011
It's one of those things were if you give it a few weeks I am sure it will work its self out. My point is that the legal stuff can be very emotional. It's worth allot more to have a clean transaction and hold your word. But if she doesn't get it out of there I would say there yours. ( Don't forget to check those laws and ask your agent to maybe handle it for you, Thats why we are here.

Hey Cangrats on that new home and enjoy !!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 22, 2011
Hi Michael. Congratulations on your purchase! I hope you enjoy your home for many years to come. The washer/dryer was probably not included in the contract as an included itme(s) and they are not fixtures so they don't just come with the purchase.

I don't know what the laws are in your state regarding what I see as abandoned property. Certainly the former owner's actions back me up on the abandonment. One answer below stated waiting for 30 days beofre you can legally deal with the items. I would suggest you have your Attorney contact theirs regarding the chattel but it seems that after 30 days they are your to do with as you see fit. After all, you're not a storage unit for the former owner. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Congratulations on your first purchase. Read your contact to have an understanding of what was included and excluded in the way of appliances. Then read to see if there is anything about personal property not being removed at the time of closing.

With that, if indeed they belong to the seller, a common courtesy among you two should prevail. You made accommodations for them to pick them up, and they didn't show. It doesn't make them legally yours, as each state has their own laws, and what ever is in your contract.
Web Reference: http://www.terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Michael, the washer and dryer are personal property, and therefore should have been mentioned on the purchase agreement. Once everyone has signed, and the property is recorded by the title company, the home belongs to the buyer. However, the personal items do not simply go with the house, unless specifically called out. It appears that you have made personal contact with the sellers, and tried to do your best to have the appliances removed. Your agent, and if there is a sellers agent, they should also be aware of the situation. Unfortunately, if this problem persists, it could become a matter for the civil courts to decide.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
You must wait 30 days after closing before you can claim them or dispose of them. If you have their address send them a certified letter return receipt stating this. You will give them 30 days from closing to pick up their property after that the property will be considered abandoned and items will become your property to do with as needed. If you do not have their address get back to the realtor that they had for closing and ask if they would be willing to either give you their address or would they send the certified letter out to them for you.

Good luck. I am sick and tired of people thinking that it is ok how they run their lives without thinking of the inconvenience to others.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Hello Michael,
Although these items are personal, not real property, the listing and or seller's disclosure should have clearly stated if they were included in the purchase. From what you have said, I would assume they were not, but check. If so, she has no right to them. If not, then when you agreed at closing , to let her pick them up after, was there a witness to this verbal agreement? That could help you, but your best bet is to notify the seller IN WRITING, with a specific timeframe within which to pick them up, otherwise you will dispose of them yourself. I would also copy the seller's agent as well as the escrow agent, just to protect you. Then follow that to the letter. Technically, if they were left after closing, they become yours, and if she made an agreement with you but breached that , then you should have no more obligation to waste your time.
Sadly, sometimes people who try to help others are taken advantage of. Like my father always joked, " no good deed goes unpunished...:)
Hope that helps...good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Washer/dryer are personal properties.So this issue is not a real estate issue. You bought Real estate.You have a gentleman agreement so give previous owner opportunity to pick them up.If you fail to reach them and if you feel you have gave them fear chance to get their stuff back then you can take your decision which is better for you.Thank you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
the Washer and Dryer are not "real estate" and thereby not subject to "real estate" laws.

In real estate... a verbal contract is not enforceable. But I don't know if that carries to personal property. None of us are lawyers and therefore can't really address whether or not they're now "legally yours"...

It would seem that you have a verbal agreement... that seems to have been broken. Is some type of "notice" required?? I have no idea... not a lawyer. You may want to send them a notice (or leave them a voicemail) stating that if their stuff isn't out of your garage by (XX date/XXtime) that you'll consider it abandoned and will dispose of it.

It seems reasonable... but is it legal?? I have no idea.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hi Michael, this is a good example of why everything gets put in writing. Even things a simple as washer dryer pick up. I was kind of you to let her pick them up after closing but always stipulate what will happen should she not pick them up at the stated time. I know hind sight is 20/ 20 but her saying that she will call you when she sets something up doesn't sound agreeable to you.

Give her another call (text or email would be better) stating that she has 5 days to make arrangements to pick them up or they will be put outside with the other personal property left in the home (there is always something else.) I think you'll find her much more receptive this way. Of course i'm not suggesting to throw them out after 5 days but just giving the previous owner a time frame is enough.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
It depends if they were included in your purchase, if so they are yours, if not they could be considered personal property and you would have to hold them for 28-30 days and notify the former owner of the time period specified in your states law before getting rid of them. In the same note you may be able to charge them a storage fee of what the going rate is for your area. I would ask teh attorney that complete dyour closing as they should be able to help you with your states law.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
Most likely they are. If the agreement of sale did not exclude them from conveying with the home, then all personal property left behind become attached to the home.

But in fairness to the seller, I suggest you contact her one more time in a week or two and say if they don't provide a date when they will be picked up, your verbal agreement is over and the washer and dryer will be yours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
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