Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 23.1. Institutions of Higher Education; Other Educational and Cultural Institutions
Chapter 1. Definitions and General Provisions
4/20/2021

§ 23.1-104. Disposition of lost or abandoned property.

A. The governing board of each public institution of higher education and each accredited nonprofit private institution of higher education may provide by regulation or institution policy for the care, restitution, sale, destruction, or disposal of unclaimed personal property, whether lost or abandoned, in the possession of the institution. Whenever procedures in accordance with such regulations or institution policies and this section are followed and ownership cannot be established with respect to certain property, neither the institution nor any of its agents or employees is liable to any person claiming any interest in the property.

B. In the case of tangible personal property, other than registered motor vehicles, lost or abandoned at a public institution of higher education or accredited nonprofit private institution of higher education:

1. The institution, upon receipt of such property, shall make reasonable efforts to give notice that the property has been found to any person that the institution determines to reasonably appear to be the owner. The institution shall hold such property for at least 120 days. The institution shall allow a claim upon satisfactory proof of such claim and payment of the institution's reasonable charges for storage or other services necessary to preserve the property.

2. After the 120-day period, the institution may sell the property to the highest bidder at public auction or by sealed bid at whatever location that the institution reasonably determines to afford the most favorable market for the property. The institution may decline the highest bid and reoffer the property for sale if it considers the price bid insufficient. The net proceeds of any such sale shall be held for at least 90 days and if no claim is made on the property within that time, such funds shall be credited to the institution's operating fund. If the institution determines that the probable cost of sale of property will exceed the sale proceeds, the property is inherently dangerous, or the property may not lawfully be sold or used, the institution may provide for any such property, as appropriate under the circumstances, to be destroyed or discarded at an appropriate location, retained for use by the institution, or donated to an appropriate charitable organization.

3. Any sale pursuant to this subsection shall be preceded by reasonable notice of the sale, taking into consideration the type and value of property. Such notice shall include at minimum the posting on a student bulletin board and publication in a school newspaper. The institution, by the same time, shall mail notice of the sale to the last known address of any person that the institution determines to reasonably appear to be the owner.

C. Whenever a motor vehicle is lost or abandoned on the campus of any public institution of higher education or accredited nonprofit private institution of higher education that is located in a locality that has adopted an ordinance as provided in Chapter 12 (§ 46.2-1200 et seq.) of Title 46.2, such motor vehicle shall be disposed of as provided in that ordinance. Notwithstanding any provisions of Chapter 12 of Title 46.2, the proceeds of any sale of a motor vehicle lost or abandoned on institutional property shall be credited to the institution's operating fund after the 90-day holding period. The governing board of a public institution of higher education that has a campus or part of a campus in a locality that has not adopted such an ordinance may adopt regulations dealing with motor vehicles abandoned on such campus or such part of the campus. Such regulations shall comply with all provisions of Chapter 12 of Title 46.2 and have the same legal effect as though the institution is a political subdivision as defined in that chapter and the regulation is an ordinance. The proceeds from any sale resulting from such regulations shall be held for at least 90 days and if no claim to the motor vehicle is made within that time, such funds shall be credited to the institution's operating fund.

D. Whenever any intangible personal property is believed to be lost or abandoned on the campus of a public institution of higher education, it shall be administered as provided in Article 3 (§ 55.1-2524 et seq.) of Chapter 25 of Title 55.1.

E. Whenever any personal property, tangible or intangible, has been accepted for safekeeping during a patient's stay by any hospital operated by a public institution of higher education and such property is believed by the appropriately designated official to be lost or abandoned, it shall be administered as provided in Article 3 (§ 55.1-2524 et seq.) of Chapter 25 of Title 55.1.

1981, c. 517, § 23-4.2; 1982, c. 210; 2016, c. 588.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.