What to do if my landlord rented me a garage that was rented to someone else?

They told me to throw away the stuff it had been vacant for over a year, i kept the stuff in case they found tenant, then they told me garage was already rented and that they made a mistake, however i was the was the one that had to handle it, was threatened by other owners, police involvement and all of my belongings searched as if I were a criminal. What are my rights?

Asked on January 20, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you have written about where your landlord rented you a garage that was rented to another person, your landlord breached the agreement he has with you. Your damages would be the costs of a replacement rental exceeding the monthly amount you have with the landlord written about multiplied by the amount of the original lease's term. You are also entitled to get back all payments made to the landlord.

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

First, make sure that you demand your full deposit back.  Your landlord screwed up and they cannot penalize you for their mistake.  Get your money back and move on to a landlord that has a more professional business.  Second, you are not required to consent to any searches in your home as long as you are still the tenant-- which you are at this point.  If the police come, you can let them search the property, but absent a warrant, you are not required to do so.  The other owners can threaten criminal action, but you haven't committed an offense.  You did not intentionally take or retain someone else's property.  The landlord is the one who is liable for securing the property of departed tenants.... not you.  Tell the other owners to hire an attorney and sue the landlord.  

If the police do come and they request a statement, you are not required to talk to them.  At the same time, it would help end this fiasco if you could talk to them and let them know this is a landlord goof, not a criminal offense.  I would recommend that if the police do come to investigate a theft, that you ask for an attorney to be with you during any interviews.  You do not want the police twisting your words in the wrong way.  If you have to pay an attorney to represent you in the criminal case, considering hiring the same or different attorney to file a suit against the landlord for the emotional grief he has put you through-- when a simple explanation on his part would have resolved the situation.  Ask for damages equal to relocation expenses to a new place and the attorney's fees you were required to expend on the criminal matter.


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