Can my previous landlord keep all my personal belongings?

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Can my previous landlord keep all my personal belongings?

He sent me a 3-day eviction notice when I was in jail so I was not able to pay anything to him. He is also having some other person stay and use all my belongings

Asked on October 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, your landlord may NOT keep your personal belongings, even if you were legitimately evicted and even if you owe him money (such as for unpaid rent). To withhold your belongings from you is a form of theft: you can take legal action to recover them as well as to seek compensation for the wrong he's done or the other person's use of your belongings. You can file, for example, a lawsuit in small claims court for the value of the wrongfully taken belongings.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country if a tenant has been evicted by his or her landlord, the landlord is required to allow the tenant to retrieve his or her belongings. The landlord cannot legally keep such belongings owned by the former tenant. If you want your belongings back and the former landlord will not allow you access to them, you need to consult with a family law attorney about the matter.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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