Can I keep a friend’s belongings she stored in my home because of non-payment of a loan?

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Can I keep a friend’s belongings she stored in my home because of non-payment of a loan?

Loaned friend $100 and allowed her to store belongings for 2 weeks. She changed when she would repay loan 3 times she was told she could get her belongings when loan is paid in full. She was fully agreeable at the time. Do I have a legal right to keep her belongings for non-payment.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not keep her belongings for non-payment--and if you do, you may be guilty of theft, and so subject to both criminal liability and civil liability (i.e. you could be jailed or fined by the state, and sued by her). A lender only has a right to take the borrower's property in the event of nonpayment if the borrower had made the property collateral for the loan; if it was no collateral, you may not retain it. You can sue her, of course, including in small claims court, for the money she owes you.


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