I am a private music lesson teacher that got my start teaching as a teenager and then picked it up again as an adult in my 20’s.
I received a text from my best friend this morning. She stated that I borrowed a Christmas music book from her a while back and she wants it back. I vaguely remember borrowing a book from her when I first started teaching again and didn’t have a library built up approximately 12 years ago. I’ve since acquired literally hundreds of music Christmas books. I was shocked that she asked me this because I had forgotten about it because that was 4 houses ago, a marriage ago, etc…A lot of life has happened and I can’t even picture the book. I asked her if she remembered what it was called or what it looked like and she can’t. I spent two hours looking through all my music books to see if her name was written inside any of them and I found nothing.
My questions to you are:
Is there a statute of limitations for demanding something that was loaned to someone?
Should I just purchase a new random music book for her since I can’t replace the one she lent me? 1120-18
You ask an interesting question regarding a statute of limitations to demand the return of a loaned item but I submit that there is another question you have failed to ask and that is, “Is there a statute of limitations on how long a loanee can retain possession of a loaned item?” And yes, there is.
Taking possession of an item that has been loaned to you comes with an implicit understanding that the loan period is not for an eternity. There is an implied understanding that if a DVD or a reading book has been loaned, the loan period consists of the time it takes to read the book or watch the movie. The loan of a Christmas music book implies that the lender gave it to you to use during the Holiday season and then would have a reasonable expectation of it being returned to her once that holiday season was over.
You asked to borrow a music book and then never returned it. What has transpired over time is that you didn’t “borrow” the music book, you took it to own indefinitely. Your best friend has extended a lot of grace to you in being patient for the return of her music book.
Is 12 years too long to wait for the return of an item and then asking for it back? Maybe. But it’s clearly been on your best friend’s mind, at least off and on, for 12 years. She may have, in kindness, not reminded you of the loan because she has witnessed the stress of you moving 4 times and go through a divorce and struggling to build your music teaching business.
Since neither of you can remember which book it is, I would suggest that you offer to your friend the option of either coming to your house and choosing one of your many music books in your now extensive library or choosing a new music book that you will purchase for her.