What is abandoned property?

Property is generally deemed to have been abandoned if it is found in a place where the true owner likely intended to leave it, but is in such a condition that it is apparent that he or she has no intention of returning to claim it. Abandoned property generally becomes the property of whoever should find it and take possession of it first, although some states have enacted statutes under which certain kinds of abandoned property – usually cars, wrecked ships and wrecked aircraft – escheat, meaning that they become the property of the state.

In the United States, property left behind by a tenant is generally presumed abandoned after anywhere from 1 week to 1 year, and if unclaimed, may be disposed of or sold to recoup storage costs; in some states the difference may be kept by the landlord, in others returned to the tenant, and in others it must be turned over to the state or county. Virginia requires only 24 hour storage for evictions. Maryland allows individual counties to set required storage times. Colorado allows immediate disposal (but not sale), while Georgia and Texas allow it to be immediately placed outside and claimed by anyone, and Arkansas allows the landlord to immediately claim the property for themselves to do as they wish. Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property#Abandoned_property, citing Eads v. Brazelton, 22 Ark. 499 (Ark. 1861); and Norman-Eady, Sandra (2006-02-21). "STATE LAWS ON LANDLORDS' TREATMENT OF ABANDONED PROPERTY". Office of Legislative Research, Connecticut.