Date: August 03, 2012 11:22AM
Tough call. To put it all outside and leave it unprotected/abandoned is technically a form of eviction, and while they may not have been living there lately, they did once do so with your permission or invitation.
No lease is not the issue here; you may have orally given them a lease by promising them and/or their stuff a place to stay.
Illegal eviction with no notice, and then your not properly securing goods you made an oral promise to protect or store in their absence, could be a problem for you.
Can you send a written notice via certified mail to his current or last known address (not registered mail, just certified for a couple bucks showing it did get hand delivered to that address, not that they signed for and received it)?
State that the items have been held for more than 30 days as required, without being picked up. Arrange a date for them to be picked up; tell him you will not charge him storage fees for abandoning the home and items in it, for the time you already held it for him.
Just hand write it legibly and send to last known address. Or, alternately, state in the letter that you are handing the items (and list them) over to named friend X, at X address, on such and such a date for safekeeping, and that he must now go get them from friend X.
Works in the real world of landlording, when people abandon goods, apartments and just stop paying rent on me. I of course always followed up by suing for back rent, damages and storage fees at the local magistrate's office by filing under landlord-tenant act procedures. Whether we had an oral or a written lease in place never mattered one bit. If they abandon stuff, I am required to securely store it intact for them to come pick up for a certain period of time, and am entitled to storage and other fees for holding on to it for them until that happens.
But after 30 days (in some places 60 or 90 days) I no longer have to do so; I just have to tell them what they owe me for time stored, where and when they can pick it up/or where it will be on such and such a date for them to go get it before it is disposed of.
Should work for you. Check into it locally, to see if it is 30 days or longer that you have to save the stuff. Google landlord tenant and your city name, or legal aid landlord tenant info.
Note that I am not an attorney, just a SAHM and longtime landlord with a lot of experience/time spent in magistrate's courts collecting damages from tenants, on behalf of myself and/or my former employer.
If you are already using an attorney for anything else, run this plan plast them first.