Can a landlord evict us in 1 day and keep our belongings?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a landlord evict us in 1 day and keep our belongings?

We just came back from a family event after 2 weeks. That’s when we found out that our landlord has taken possession with our belongings and says we aren’t allowed on premises. Is that illegal eviction since we hadn’t gotten any notice to

evict within 3 days? We just got there and everything is gone.

Asked on July 11, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, this is NOT legal, and you can sue for 1) readmittance to your property; 2) compensation for the illegal lock out; and 3) the return of, or compensation for, your belongings.
First, a landlord may never simply change the locks on or otherwise lock out tenants by him/herself. Evictions require proper notice, then, if the tenant does not move out by the stated date, the landlord has to file an eviction action in court, get a court date (on further notice to the tenant), and then get a court judgment for eviction. There are no legal evictions without going through the courts.
Second, even if a tenant is properly evicted, the landlord may NOT simply take or keep or dispose of their belongings; the tenant MUST be given the chance to take their belongings and only if the tenant abandons them can the landlord keep or dispose of them. Simply taking a tenant's belongings is theft.
Contact a landlord-tenant attorney to help you file a legal action on an "emergent" (think "urgent" or "emergency") basis to get back into your rental unit, get compensation for the illegal lock-out, and get your belongings back (or further compensation for them).

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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