Ex boyfriend kept all my belongings in our apartment and wont allow me to sell it or retrieve it

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Ex boyfriend kept all my belongings in our apartment and wont allow me to sell it or retrieve it

So I was living with my boyfriend in a different
state. I wound up having to leave and move
back home because the relationship got very
abusive. My name is still on the lease along
with his but my furniture that I paid for and
have proof of purchasing, is still there. My
mother was in contact with him trying to sell my
Things, and which he agreed to also pay some
money for a Couple items he wanted To keep.
But then stopped answering so I couldnt sell
my items nor did he send money like he stated
and I have proof Of That also. What can I do?
Do I have to physically Go there? Or what

Asked on April 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your recourse would be to sue him for your belongings. You could seek a court order that he turn them over to you (together with compensation for anything he lost, broke, sold, gave away, etc.) or simply sue him for the economic value of all the items he has held onto. (While suing for the economic value will not compensate you for any emotional/sentimental value, in which regard suing for the items' actual return is superior, suing for economic value is much easier procedurally and would let you proceed in small claims court.)
Unfortunately, the case would need to be filed in the county in which he lived for the court to have jurisdiction, or power, over him: the defendant needs to reside in or have some other connection the venue where the court is for jurisdiction, and he (we presume) has no connection to (e.g. doesn't own property in) the state in which you currently live. While you could hire an attorney to handle much of a case for you, 1) the cost of hiring the lawyer would offset the value of what you hope to get back; and 2) if the case went to trial, you'd still need to travel back for the trial itself to testify. Depending on the value of the items, there may be no cost-effective way to get them back.


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