What is the legality of service of process and moving a tenant’s belongings regarding an eviction?

UPDATED: Apr 25, 2012

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What is the legality of service of process and moving a tenant’s belongings regarding an eviction?

About 4 years ago I signed a stipulation with my landlord at my place of business. One of the conditions was that if I am late 3 days with my payments any month within 5 years, he can get a marshall to evict me without having to go to court. A few months ago I was late and he got the marshal to evict. The mailman put the notice send by the marshal into the landlord’s mail box and I only got it about a month later. A lock was put on the door right away when I got there a month later I could not get in. The landlord started giving away my stuff or calling people to take whatever they wanted or he got a company to take some stuff to a garbage dump. It took a few weeks until the place was emptied out. Did the fact that the notice was not put into my mailbox and I did not get it until a month later render the whole eviction illegal? Isn’t a marshall supposed to be present when the stuff is carried out? Finally, can he give away my stuff or is he supposed to leave it on the street so to give me an opportunity to pick it up?

Asked on April 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, under the laws of all states, the stipulation that you signed concerning your commercial lease is void against public policy. Under the laws of all states you were entitled statutory process with respect to the eviction process under the law. The self help method you gave the landlord and the eventual disposal of your personality that were at the premises being rented was illegal.

You were entitled to have the opportunity under set statutory procedures to retrieve your belongings before they were disposed of by the landlord. Typical process in a court ordered eviction is that the court gives the tenant 5 days or so to move out of the rented premises taking his or her belongings with him or her. The mailed notice is not relevant to the legality of what happened given the whole process in evicting you was flawed from the beginning by the landlord.

I suggest that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your matter sooner rather than later so as to see what legal recourse your have.

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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