How to recover my valuables when they are locked in a friend’s house

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How to recover my valuables when they are locked in a friend’s house

I am a musician and visual artist. My friend and I planned on building
a photography darkroom in his house. I brought the necessary supplies
there.
I wound up having to move from my then apartment across the street
from his house into a very small room and had no place to put all my
musical equipment and artwork. My friend offered to keep it at the
house along with the darkroom gear I had already put there for our
project.
I moved into a large house and wanted to get my belongings back but
discovered that my friend’s phone had been disconnected and he did not
come to the door when I knocked.
An internet search revealed that the house had been sold and that the
sale is pending but has not closed due to unpaid property taxes.
I found the realtor representing my friend and he originally agreed to
let me into the house but a few days later someone else from the
office emailed saying my friend id still living in the house and I
should try knocking on the door. I tried again and no response.
Should I call the police and would they be able to help me get in?
I would need to hire movers, so how would I coordinate this? I’m in
Philadelphia PA. Thank you.

Asked on June 10, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The police will not help you not without a court order. You will have to bring a legal action in country court for "unlawful distraint" (when someone seizes and holds your possessions illegally) to get a court order for their return. Contact the county court clerk's office and explain what is happening; they should be able to direct you to forms and instructions.


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