Absolute Auction Co. specializes in appraisals and auctions for abandoned property.
WHAT IS ABANDONED PROPERTY?
Any time tenants leave a rented space, whether residential or commercial, and whether they've left by choice, by eviction, or by simply disappearing, if they leave possessions behind them, the landlord or property manager has a problem. The property left behind is "abandoned property," or, "abandoned personal possessions." [*Abandoned vehicles are not considered abandoned property. Find that information near the bottom of this page .] Abandoned property can range from a few items to an entire household or business. Sometimes the overall value of abandoned property is very low, and sometimes it is very high.
HOW CAN YOU GET RID OF IT?
For the landlord or property manager to clear the rental space California State law provides a specific procedure that has to be carried out in order for the owner of the building to clear the space so that it can be rented again. (This also includes REO, or Real Estate Owned, properties after post foreclosure evictions.) Those laws place significant responsibilities on the landlord to protect the rights of the tenant. With abandoned property, there is a threshold value; if the abandoned property is worth less than $300.00, ($750.00 with commercial property) it may be disposed of any way the landlord wishes as long as the initial period of notification has expired and the notification was done properly. If it is worth $300.00 or more, ($750.00 with commercial property) it must be sold at a public sale with competitive bidding (an auction) if the tenant refuses to retrieve it.
WHO DETERMINES THE VALUE?
Who determines the value of the abandoned property? If the landlord or property manager makes the determination, it might very well be seen as suspicious since the landlord has a vested interest in clearing the space. Lost rent is lost revenue. In addition, landlords and property managers are not experts in appraising property and may very easily make serious mistakes.
WHO CAN DO THE PUBLIC SALE?
If the abandoned property is valued at $300.00 or more, ($750.00 with commercial property) who is to conduct the "public sale"? Who is to price the items, publicize the sale, handle the money? Who will make sure the notifications are made in the correct format, that legal notices are written correctly and published in the right place at the correct intervals? Again, if the landlord or property manager conducts the sale, however well-intentioned his or her efforts are, serious mistakes can be made and the sale results could very easily be seen as biased or suspect or even illegal.
HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
If abandoned property is mishandled, if the procedure is not carried out strictly according to the laws, the consequences can be very costly to the landlord. In order for landlords and/or property managers to protect themselves, the most prudent course is to have an unbiased independant third party conduct the appraisal, and if necessary, public sale of the abandoned property. If the procedure is carried out correctly, appraised values and the results of a public auction by a bona fide professional auctioneer should bear any level of scrutiny.
SECURITY OF THE ABANDONED PROPERTY
Another key aspect of dealing with property abandoned in a premises is keeping the property secure. The landlord is obligated to take reasonable measures to keep the property secure, and can be held accountable is items are missing or damaged.
It is within the rights of the landlord to move the abandoned property to another location and store it. The property should be moved carefully, and it should be stored in a secure location. It should be noted that most storage locker facilities will not allow an auction of this nature to be held on the premises. If the landlord or his agents put the property in such a facility they may learn the hard way they'll then have to have it moved again to a place where it can be sold.
WHO ESTABLISHES EXACTLY WHAT'S THERE?
Built into the abandoned property process, there are limitations of liability for the landlord, but those limitations of liability only extend to the items listed in the legal notices. It is, therefore, important to conduct a thorough inventory. The landlord or his agents may conduct this inventory, or the landlord may have the auctioneer conduct the inventory, but it is the first step in this process. And, while a landlord is allowed to remove the personal property and store it in an alternate location, before anything is moved the inventory should be complete.
WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP?
If you have abandoned property to deal with, protect yourself or your client by contacting an experienced auctioneer to guide you through the process. In fact, the auction company will take care of most of the tasks involved and clear your property as quickly as is safely possible -- and you'll be protected down the line in the bargain.
T.C. "Nick" Barriger of Absolute Auction Co. is an experienced professional auctioneer who specializes in the appraisal and sale of abandoned property. He'll answer your questions and outline the procedure for you. And here's a tip -- don't wait until the 18 days are up to call. If you do, you'll lose valuable time -- and rent -- in the process.
*HOW DO YOU GET RID OF ABANDONED VEHICLES?
Abandoned property is dealt with according to the statutes of the California Civil Code. Abandoned vehicles, which includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, trailers, boats, etc., are dealt with according to the California Vehicle Code. Abandoned vehicles cannot be sold at the public auction of abandoned property. Vehicles have to go through an entirely different process. The landlord or property manager needs to contact a "private property towing" company to get rid of an abandoned vehicle. Private property towing companies will have the words "Private property towing" in their advertising, so they can be found in the yellow pages by looking at the ads. In the south bay area, Absolute Auction Co. suggests Rebello's Towing. The personnel there know the laws and handle the business correctly.
Absolute Auction Co. serves the entire greater San Francisco Bay area, including the South Bay, Peninsula, East Bay, and Monterey Bay areas. Absolute services, in Santa Clara County, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Martin, San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. In Monterey County, Monterey, Salinas, Sand City, and others. In Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, Boulder Creek, Ben Lomand, and others. In San Mateo County Absolute serves Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, Belmont, San Mateo, Foster City, Burlingame, and South San Francisco. Absolute services the city and County of San Francisco. In Alameda County, Fremont, Union City, Newark, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Castro Valley, Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore. In Contra Costa County Absolute has done auctions in San Ramon, Walnut Creek, and Richmond. Absolute has also done auctions in the San Joaquin County in Tracy and Stockton. Absolute Auction Co. has an affiliate auction company in Southern California for abandoned property. If you are in the Southland, Los Angeles, Riverside, etc., give us a call and we'll get you an experienced professional.
Call Nick at 408-422-2300.