Moved out of a home shared with an ex who initially agreed to me picking up my personal belonging that I brought into the home/relationship. He still resides there but won’t allow me back in to get my belongings…

We shared a home for 1.5 years. The relationship ended and when I went to redeem my personal property most of the furniture in the home including rugs, LR suite, large flat screen TV, furnishings, kitchenware and clothing. We arranged a pick-up date, however he refused to meet me at our designated time. I even tried using my key to get inside, but noticed has has since changed the lock.

Other than filing small claims, is there any other recourse?? He also has a license plate in his possession that belongs to me – renewed tag in Dec. He has since placed it on his own personal vehicle, illegally so.

In addition evidence will show my furniture was the primary source of furnishing the home, when we agreed to move in together. I also purchased some items on my own while there.

I have reserved a moving truck and storage unit and just want to move my things out and move forward. I saved his texts, messages and record of calls to try to end this situation 2 months ago.

Asked on March 30, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You have two options:
File a small claims suit for the value of the items (and another cost he caused you to incur, such as if you rented the truck or unit).
File an Order to Show Cause (that's what we call it in my state; yours may have a different name) for unlawful distraint, seeking a court order allowing you in to retrieve your belongings.
The small claims case is procedurally simpler for a lay person, but only gets you the economic (i.e. not sentimental or emotional) value of what has been taken from you. The distraint option is more likely to get you the actual objects/belongings back but is typically more challenging for a non-lawyer.
You should be able to get instructions and/or forms for both from your county court, either in person or online.

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