If we lock out someone from a motel for non-payment of rent, what happens to their personal property?

We run a sort of half way house but it is listed as a motel. We have many people who use the motel as their residence and pay weekly, bi-weekly or monthly rates. When a person does not pay the amount due we will lock the room down. Is it legal to hold the persons property until they pay the amount they owe. Also if they leave without saying anything, how long do we have to hold their belongings in case they come back? Do we have to store it for any period of time?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You are treading on very thin ice here and if I were you I would speak with an attorney in your area about not only the locking out (which is illegal for a "tenant") but your possible violation of your legal status and zoning laws.  Also, if you do anything with their belingings you could be guilty of conversion.  Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.