Can I hold property as collateral for payment for services rendered?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I hold property as collateral for payment for services rendered?

I own a moving company. We deliver for a furniture store. We receive her new

furniture in her warehouse where she lets us have an office. We have been

given permission to handle receive and deliver the furniture. The furniture is

under my custody although her and I don’t have a contract. She is behind on paying for deliveries about 4 months, $8000. Can I move furniture from her warehouse where my office is to my warehouse to hold without her permission since I have been permitted in the past and still currently have permission to move it just not to my warehouse. I need to have collateral to be paid. Will I get in trouble for this if I take it to hold then let her know I have it until I’m paid?

Asked on July 28, 2018 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you take her property or even withhold it without some signed agreement from her giving you the right to do this, you will be committing theft: you could be sued and possibly face charges. If you have such an agreement giving you the right to do this, you can; otherwise, sue her for the money--that is your recourse.

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 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.

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