What rights do I have if my property is being held in a commercial space because the tenant did not pay rent?

My partner owns a business and was locked out of the commercial space for failure to pay rent. Much of what’s locked in the space is my personal property. My name was not on the lease. Is it legal for the landlord to hold my property?

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal for the landlord to hold personal property of someone who was not the defaulting commercial tenant. However, the landlord will not simply take your word that this property does not belong to the defaulting tenant. If you want your property back, you will need to file a legal action (lawsuit) and seek a court order for the return of your property, and/or sue the landlord for the value of the property she is illegally holding (at which point she may settle by returning it). Only a court can issue a binding determination that this is yours and order the landlord to return it.

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