What to do if being accused of the theft of items that were in fact given to me?

I rented a house from a lady. When I moved in she left behind furniture and said that I could have it since she didn’t want it anymore. When my lease was up I moved out of her home and took the things with me. Then I got a message on my phone from a police officer stating to call him back. When I did he informed me he was glad I called because he was about to issue a warrant for my arrest; the landlord was claiming I had stolen her furniture. I explained to him the situation and that my mom was there to confirm the items had been given to me. He told me I had to return the items because she had a witness too. What are my rights?

Asked on December 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you have been accused of taking furniture that the landlord claims is his or hers from a prior tenant but the prior tenant allegedly gave the furniture to you, the best way for you to resolve the situation is for you to get a statement from the former tenant in writing stating that the furniture is yours.

If you are unable to do so, then you have to make a decision as to whether give back the furniture to the former landlord even though you believe it is yours or continue to keep possession of it and run the risk of a civil lawsuit or worse yet a criminal charge.

I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation before you make a final decision.


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