Abandoned goods

There can be times when someone leaves goods or property with you, or at your home, and you want the owner to come and take them away. For example,

  • a friend who was living with you moves out and leaves furniture and boxes of their stuff in your home.
  • a person asks to leave their car in your garage for a week, but doesn't come and collect it on time.
  • a stranger's car is left on the verge in front of your house, and you want it removed.

Property that someone leaves behind might be called abandoned or uncollected goods. If you are a person (not a business), there are steps that want to you need to take before you can sell or dispose of abandoned goods. You cannot throw them away or dispose of abandoned goods unless ordered to do so by the court.

Find out:

  • What can happen with goods you have left in a rental property
  • What can happen with goods left at your home after a friend or partner moves out
  • The steps you need to take to sell or dispose of the goods/property
  • What to do if you do not know where the other person is
  • What to do if you have given notice and nothing happens.

If I left my goods in my rental property, can my landlord throw them out?

    Generally no, however this will depend on the type and value of the goods left at the property. Get legal advice. 

    A friend or someone left goods at my home after they moved out, can I throw them out?

    No, you must follow the steps outlined below before you can sell or dispose of the goods.

    If the items belong to your former partner, they may be part of the relationship property that needs to be divided after separation

    What are the steps I need to take to sell or dispose of abandoned the goods?

    You can negotiate

    Contact the person and ask them to come and collect the goods. Make sure that you say the date that you would like the goods collected by. If you can, put this request in writing. If the person doesn’t collect the goods you might need to go to court so that you can sell or dispose of the property. Always get legal advice before going to court.

    You must give formal notice

    If you cannot agree with the other person, you have to give them notice that you are going to sell or dispose of their property. You can do this by filling out a form from the Magistrates Court of WA and then giving it to the other person. Get legal advice about what you need to include in the notice.

    What if I want to sell or dispose of abandoned goods and I don’t know where the other person is?

    If you don’t know where the other party lives or you cannot contact them you must give notice of your intention to sell or dispose of goods to the Commissioner of Police. Make sure you get legal advice before you do this. 

    What if I have given notice about abandoned goods and nothing happens?

    If you have served your notice and you don’t hear anything for one month, you can apply to the Magistrates Court of WA for an order to sell or dispose of the goods. Get legal advice if this applies to you.

     

    Get help

    If you are renting (a tenant), Legal Aid WA may be able to help. We do not give any advice to landlords. Call the Infoline or contact your nearest Legal Aid WA office to find out what help we can give in your situation.

    Tenancy WA may also be able to give advice and information to tenants about abandoned goods in residential tenancy situations.  

    There are other laws that you need to follow if goods are left with you in the course of a business.

    Our Infosheet - Disposal of uncollected goods, explains more about your obligations and where to get help.

    More information

    Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
    Magistrates Court of Western Australia

     

    Reviewed: 13 April 2018

    Disclaimer

    The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.