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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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