Can my ex-landlord take a warrant out on me for distruction of property?

I just moved out of a trailer per my landlords request, even though my rent was paid up through this past weekend. She said to be out by Monday morning so I got what I could get with 2 trucks. I had to leave 2TV’s, 2 couches, 2 beds, a coffee table, and end table. There was 2 end tables, a coffee table, a dresser, a table, and 4 chairs that were there when I moved in. I left them when I moved out. But now she says that she is going to have me locked up for burns on the living room carpet that were there when I moved in. She knew this because she told me that she would replace the carpet after I moved in (which she did not).

Asked on September 21, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with an attorney--you may have a claim against the landlord:

1) Landlord's CAN'T evict you at will, if you are complying with the terms of the lease (such as rent).  If you had an oral lease, you were a month-to-month tenant, so she could have given you 30 days notice that your tenancy was up--but you had to get at least that notice. If you had a written lease, she could only not renew when the term was up. Also, there are procedures for  legally evicting someone. If the landlord forced you out or evicted you improperly and/or breached the lease herself, you may have a claim for damages.

2) If the landlord forced you out, she can't simply take or claim your property.

3) You can't be locked up for property damage (even if you did it) UNLESS it was the sort of deliberate arson, vandalism, etc. that constitutes a crime; and even then, it's not up to the landlord too lock you up--the most she can do is report a suspected crime to the police. People are not allowed to threaten jail time to force someone to do what they want.

This landlord may be acting improperly and may have violated your rights. You may be entitled  to monetary damages. You should consult with an attorney who can evaluate your situation in detail and advice, as well as (if appropriate) represent you. Good luck.


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