Can my landlord hold my property without my permission because I owe $150?

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2011

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Can my landlord hold my property without my permission because I owe $150?

Asked on June 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no. The fact that person A owes money to person B does not give person B the the right to take or hold person A's property. In fact, if B takes A's property, B has committed a crime.

There are, of course, exceptions, like there are to every rule. Repairmen, contractors, etc. can often hold property until the bill is paid--or least put a lien on it--but that's not this situation. And if you executed (or signed) anything giving your landlord the right to hold your property in the event of nonpayment, or even orally or verbally offered him property as security or collateral, then he could hold it pursuan to the terms of the agreement. But otherwise, no--he may not.

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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