Wht to do if I was wrongly evicted and my property was damaged?

I was thrown out of my house by my parents. I am an adult child that was paying $300 per month and they set my property outside under a tarp, 3 days before I told them that I was returning to gather my things. The property was damaged by rain due to it being set outside. Do I have any legal rights or claims for damage since they moved my property without my permission? I plan on documenting all the damage. I had many one of a kind collectibles and memorabilia and there is no way to save what was lost.

Asked on June 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you could sue your parents for their damage to your property, done either negligently or intentionally (depending ono the exact circumstances and intention), since they had no right to remove your belongings in this way. The reason they had no right to remove your belongings is that if you were paying rent, you were a tenant, and a landlord (your parents) may not him/her/themselves lock out a tenant. Rather, to evict a tenant, the landlord must go through the courts and file an eviction action. If there was no written lease, you were a month-to-month tenant on an oral lease, so they could have given you 30 days notice terminating your tenancy--but still could  not have locked you out or removed your belongings if you did not then leave, but would have had to commence an eviction action. Since you were improperly evicted, in addition to suing for the damage to your belongings, you could also sue them for wrongful eviction, seeking reinstatment (though that would only be temporary--they could then give you 30 days notice and evict you through the courts) and/or monetary compensation.


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