There’s been a safe in my parent’s home since they bought it 30 years ago. Are they allowed to have it opened?

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There’s been a safe in my parent’s home since they bought it 30 years ago. Are they allowed to have it opened?

When my parents bought their home about thirty years ago, there was a safe in the basement. I don’t know if there was anything about it in the contract when they bought the house, or even if we’d be able to find the contract since then. They’ve heard nothing about it from the previous owners in the ensuing years. Are they allowed to have a specialist come and open it?

Asked on October 18, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If it is installed in the house, then definitely: anything that is part of the house's structure belongs to them.
If it is not installed in the house but is free standing, if they can show they made good efforts to contact the prior owners and make them aware of the safe (and ask them to retrieve it): if people leave personal property (including a safe) behind despite you trying to get them to remove it, they can be deemed to have abandoned it. If they never made any efforts to contact the prior owners, they should do so first, and give them (if they reach them) a chance to remove it. They should keep documentation of their efforts.


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