How do I get my personal property from someone I lived with?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I get my personal property from someone I lived with?

My 2 sons and I lived with my fiancee’s mother for almost a year. We moved out a few weeks ago. I contacted her today letting her know I would stop by to pick up the rest of my things, some of which belonged to my deceased mother. She is refusing to give me my stuff, saying t hatshe will get my things together after her son’s one of her other sons, not my fiancee boots are returned. I replied saying that I don’t have her sons boots. Her son actually stole 2 pairs of my son’s sneakers very expense ones, 1 of which didn’t even belong to my son, although we do not have proof that he did, but his mother even agreed that he took them – he is a drug addict and has stolen money, cameras, etc. even from her. How can I get my personal property back from her if she refuses to give it to me?

Asked on March 8, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

She has no legal right to keep your property. If she won't return it, the easiest and quickest way to get it back is likely to sue in small claims court for its monetary value (current fair market value of the items), since you can act as your own attorney and small claims cases move quickly. The case can be settled by her returning the items to you. (And if she has disposed of them, she'd have to pay you their value.) If she feels you owe her for boots, she can put that in during the case as a set-off or counterclaim against what you owe her

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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