​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

​Types ​of goods

The information in this topic is aimed at typical situations where:

  • ​you left goods with someone, and they won't give them back
  • someone left their goods with you, and they want them back

Case studyCase study – Natalie and her pet dog

Natalie went to Queensland​ for a six-month work contract. She could not take her pet dog, Charlie, with her. She asked her friend, Rachel, to look after her dog while she was gone.​

When Natalie returned to Sydney, Rachel told her she was not going to give Charlie back. She said that​ Natalie had not looked after Charlie properly and left him for long periods alone. Rachel said that Charlie was better off with her. Natalie does not agree and wants Charlie back.​​

In particular situations, different laws apply and so it is important to get legal advice​:​

Property attached to land

If goods or property have become part of the land, they are called 'fixtures'. For example, a fence, water feature, or an established tree may have become fixtures, and usually cannot be recovered. 

​Liens

Sometimes even though a person doesn't own the goods, they may have a legal right to hold on to the goods until a sum of money is paid to them. This is called a 'lien'. 

Some examples of when a person may have a lien include: 

  • a mechanic has a lien over a car until the repairs are paid
  • a vet has a lien over a pet until the vet bills are paid
  • a lawyer may keep files until a bill is paid. 

Goods left behind by a tenant at the end of a tenancy​

If goods were left behind by a tenant on rented premises, the landlord or real estate agent must give correct notice to the tenant to collect their goods before they can be disposed of. 

Residential tenancy laws apply to these types of disputes. For more information, go to the Tenants Rights Factsheet​.

Goods left in storage with a business or at a repair shop to be fixed

When goods are left with a business for a specific purpose, for example, to be repaired or stored, these goods are held under a 'bailment'. This means that the business has temporary possession of the goods until they are collected by the owner.    

Some examples of a bailment include:

  • a car left with a mechanic for repairs
  • furniture stored in a storage facility
  • a jacket left with a tailor for alterations.

​​​Property Recovery Orders in an Apprehended Violence Order (AV0) ​case

A Property Recovery Order allows the defendant or the victim to get their personal belongings from a property. The court can make this order when an interim, provisional or final AVO is made. For more information, see the AVO​ topic​ in the Representing Yourself section of this website.​

Disputes about property after a marriage or de facto relationship has ended​

When a marriage or de facto relationship ends, the parties need to decide how to divide the property. Property includes assets owned individually or jointly with another person. Some examples of property include:

  • the family home
  • money held in a bank account
  • shares.

The Family Law Act 1975 covers these types of disputes and there are time limits for applying to the court for orders about how the property is to be divided. ​

Goods left with a pawnbroker

A pawnbroker lends money to a person on the condition that the goods are held as security until the loan, interest and charges are repaid. If this doesn't happen by the agreed period, the pawnbroker may sell the goods.

Animals left on a property to graze (known as 'agistment')

An agistment is where an owner of land allows another person's horse or cattle to graze or feed on their property in exchange for payment. These arrangements can be either written or verbal. Disputes often arise when agistment fees are not paid or if the agreement is breached.

Stolen goods

There is a difference in the law between goods that have been stolen and goods that have not been returned. If a person takes the goods from another person without permission, those goods may be stolen. But if the goods are left with a person who refuses to give them back, the goods usually would not be considered 'stolen'. 

AlertYou should get legal advice​ if any of these situations apply to you.​

Man and woman having a discussion around a table  

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