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Property can be considered lost, mislaid or abandoned depending on the circumstances under which it is found by the next party who obtains its possession.
There is an old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law, perhaps dating back centuries.
However, this is not always the case, as a long-term tenant who finds lost property within the leased area of his leasehold may have a superior claim over that of his landlord (especially if the landlord has never been to the property).
The general rule attaching to the three types of property may be summarized as: A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property.
Like animals, fugitive slaves in the United States (runaway slaves) were a type of property that was capable of relocating to other places.
Slave owners depended on others to identify and return their property; some slaves would be branded if a slave was known to run away. S., like the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution of 1789, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 all stipulated that the slaves be captured and returned to their owner. Activists against slavery and the fugitive slave laws, such as members of the Underground Railroad, routinely violated the laws and refused to return slaves to their owners.
This means that in most cases, the possessor of a piece of property is its rightful owner without evidence to the contrary.
More colloquially, this may be called finders, keepers.
Some consumer reporting sites that conduct the research and assist consumers will do so without charge or expense to the consumers.