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

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption