IfI have keys to an apartment butI am not on the lease, doI have the right to enter the apartment?

I was living with someone and when our lease was up. I did not resign but I still have a set of keys and still continue to stay there on different occasions. We recently stopped talking and I still have some personal belongings at the apartment. I have no been able to contact him and I just need to know if I have the right to use my set of keys to retrieve my personal belongings?

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you enter without permission--even if you still have a set of keys--you are at a minimum trepassing; depending on the circumstances, you may be breaking and entering and/or committing burglary. If you are  not on the lease, you clearly do not have the right to enter as a tenant; if you are now broken up with (if it had been romantic) or otherwise not speaking with the tenant, then you likely do not have permission to enter at will, and a court would probably conclude that. You'll have to wait until you can contact the tenant; if you then can't get permission to retrieve your belongings, your recourse is to bring a legal action for a court order that the tenant turn over your property, or pay you the value of anything lost or stolen.

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