Can my former landlord hold my food, bed and some kitchenwares hostage until I pay her money that she says I owe her?

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Can my former landlord hold my food, bed and some kitchenwares hostage until I pay her money that she says I owe her?

It was a month-to-month rental for 2 months while I watched her dogs for her while she went to Russia. She will not allow me to come to the house to pick up my only food I own, my kitchenwares, and my bed. She says I owe her money and until I pay it I dont get my stuff and on Sunday if I have not paid her she will throw away my stuff.

Asked on August 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, your landlord may not do this: a landlord may only hold a tenant's belongings if the tenant gave her a security interest in them (used them as collateral for a debt or obligation). Contact the police and explain the situation: they should help you. If they won't help at this stage, still make clear to them that the landlord is holding your belongings, so if she later throws them out, you can press charges (e.g. for theft). You can also go to court on an "emergent" (think emergency) basis, seeking a court order compelling the landlord to return your belongings; or wait until she throws them out, then sue her for their value.

If you landlord believes you owe her money, her option is to sue you for it.


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