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Abandoned Property

Abandoned Property

Abandoned personal property is a situation where an owner deliberately gives up all rights to its control. The owner has left it behind and is no longer interested in possessing the property. The abandoned property is no longer used and can deteriorate into unlivable conditions; therefore, adjacent properties will decrease in value. Unclaimed, abandoned properties typically go unresolved for many years and become havens for illegal and illicit activities. Abandoned properties include homes, condominiums, raw land, and other real estate types. 


Many communities have laws regarding abandoned properties to protect citizens and ensure their safety. In most situations, these hold the property owners accountable for maintaining its upkeep, and failure can often result in penalties and prosecution. Often, these laws also require the owners to place their properties on the market for sale with an agreement of cities assisting with maintenance costs until sold to a new owner. 


The government holds possession of unclaimed, abandoned properties allowing owner beneficiaries to claim them at no cost. States feature unclaimed property websites where assets can be searched for by name. For properties that have been dormant for long periods, a state's unclaimed property department intervenes upon being contacted. 


Abandonment or dereliction is a legal term that refers to intentionally giving up rights to a property or business relationship by the owner or lessee. This involves voluntarily surrendering their ownership or lease rights to the asset. Determining whether or not a property is abandoned can be challenging, differentiating it from lost or misplaced parcels. Still, it is considered abandoned if the owner needs to make more effort to retrieve it. If another person finds the property and puts forth an effort to maintain its upkeep, the individual who found it may claim it after a specific period. 


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