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The Question begs the Answer when it comes Unclaimed Goods left on Common Property – Part 2

This month we continue the second part of our August Article regarding the Uncollected Goods Act 1995 (UGA) which came into effect on 1 July 2020.

If you haven’t had a chance to read that article, you can find it here.

Uncollected Goods – When all else fails make an application to the Tribunal

The numbered paragraphs are section numbers under the UGA.

31A (1) The Tribunal may make any one or more of the following orders in relation to uncollected goods—

(a)        authorising the removal or other disposal,

(b)        directing that notice of any action or proposed action in relation to uncollected goods be given to the depositor, or the legal personal representative or any other person,

(c)        authorising the sale,

(d)        as to the manner of sale,

(e)        as to the payment of the proceeds of sale,

(f)         any ancillary order appropriate.

This section does not apply to perishable goods.

The depositor of the uncollected goods also has a right to make an application to the Tribunal

31B(1) A depositor or a person who has an interest in the uncollected goods, may apply for  following orders–

  • requiring the receiver to pay compensation for disposed uncollected goods disposed of otherwise than in accordance with the Act,

  • requiring the receiver to pay compensation for damaged after the uncollected goods were left and before they are claimed by the person entitled to them,

  • an order that they be delivered to the depositor’s or other person’s possession,

  • an order requiring the receiver to pay the proceeds of sale, or an amount equivalent to the value of the uncollected goods, to the depositor or person,

  • any ancillary order that is appropriate.

    33        The common law relating to the bailment of goods remains in force to the extent to which it is not affected by this Act and a person is entitled to exercise any rights that the person may have at common law in relation to the recovery of goods or compensation for the loss of or damage to goods except to the extent to which this Act otherwise provides.

    34        Purchasers acquire good title if the goods are sold under the Act, free from any interest that may have existed in the goods in favour of some other person before the goods were sold, if the purchaser buys them–

    (a)        without notice of any failure by the receiver to comply with the Act, and

    (b)        without notice of any defect or want of title in the depositor.

    The burden of proof that the goods have been so disposed according to the Act rests on the person disposing of the goods.

    If there is a known address for the owner of the goods, notice can be given personally, by letter or email.

    The notice must include: –

    • Owners Corporation and Companies name e.g. Owners Corporation SP #.
    • Description of the goods. We suggest also include a photo.
    • An address from where the owner may collect the goods
    • A statement that of any of the charges (e.g. removal, storage, maintenance, and insurance costs) and if money is to be taken from the proceeds of sale to recompense for the total of the charges involved.
    • A statement that on or after a specified date, the goods will be sold, kept or destroyed unless they are first collected, and the relevant charges are paid.

    If the costs recovered on sale do not cover the costs expended, there is a right to sue for the outstanding amount. A word of warning. Maybe a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Unless you are sure that person has either income or assets to cover the outstanding amount why bother? No use throwing good money after bad.

    You can retain any charges that the owner agreed to pay for the repair or treatment of the goods, for example in a warranty agreement. You are also entitled to retain the amount of the costs that you incur for removal, storage, maintenance, insurance, and disposal.

    These charges should not include any profit. They should only reflect the actual cost to you or the business while the goods are ‘uncollected’. No charges are due for personal documents.

    Any money made above those costs should go to the Chief Commissioner of Revenue NSW if you cannot return the money to the owner.

    More information on how to lodge unclaimed money is available on the Revenue NSW website

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