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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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).


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