Can a landlord hold property in lieu of back rent?

I am being told to get out of the
buisness building for lack lf rent
payment. But the owner and police chief
are saying i cannot take my things with
me until rent is paid up. Kept as
collateral. My and my partners rental
agreement only states about rent and
the potential to buy be our first
choice. Nothing about anything other
then that. My question is simple, do
they have the right to keep my stuff as
collateral? State of north dakota. By
the way i am still in the building.

Asked on May 10, 2016 under Real Estate Law, North Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they have no right to keep your belongings as collateral unless the lease itself states that the landlord may do this. Property does not become collateral for debts except when there is an agreement to that effect (that's why mortgages have language specifically saying that the home may be foreclosed upon in the event of nonpayment) or if there is a court order imposing a lien. The landlord can run to court, and try to get an order putting a lien on your belongings, but if he has not done so yet, you should be able to remove them.

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