Who Can Acquire Abandoned Property?
Every state has established different laws and regulations regarding abandoned property. Generally, when property is abandoned by its rightful owner, it must remain unused for a specified period of time, before the government is permitted to acquire control of the property. In most instances, this period ranges from 3 years to 5 years. During the period of inactivity, banks, landlords, and insurance companies must work to locate the absent owner.
If the owner is located, he/she must be informed of his/her rights and responsibilities regarding the maintenance of the property. If the property is not successfully returned to its lawful owner by the expiration of the inactivity period, the property will be seized by the abandoned-property department located within the state. The owner of the property will no longer maintain ownership rights to the property. The property will subsequently be controlled by the state government.