Real Estate Q & A

February 17, 2011

A Package Is Stolen From a Storage Area


Q: What happens if the doorman in a co-op signs for a package and it is then stolen from the storage area? Is the co-op responsible?

A: “If a doorman accepts and signs for a package that is then stolen from the storage area, the co-op may be responsible,” said Lior Aldad, a Manhattan co-op and condo lawyer. Once the package is in the custody, care and control of the doorman, he explained, a “bailment” is formed. “A bailment is defined as leaving something in the care of another without a transfer of ownership,” Mr. Aldad said. It could be argued that the doorman was negligent in caring for the package. Because the doorman is an agent of the co-op, it generally would be responsible for his actions. But the proprietary lease or house rules may override this rule and provide that the co-op is not responsible for packages left in the storage area.