If I’m renting warehouse vault space but the owner isn’t letting me move out, is that legal?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I’m renting warehouse vault space but the owner isn’t letting me move out, is that legal?

I have been renting vault warehouse space for 2.5 years for my staging business I do not have a rental agreement, only a verbal one. We agreed that I would pay $500 per month for 20, 6x6x7 wood vaults. I decided to sell my furniture and accessories earlier this year, however have only been able to sell a few things because the warehouseman is either to busy or doesn’t want to be bothered. I have lost thousands of dollars in sales. I completed a complete inventory 4 months ago to find many items missing. Since then, now he claims all of my items have been found. I was suppose to be moving out today, however the warehouseman stoped the move stating that I need to sign a release statement that all of my items are accounted for and are not damaged. He is also insinuating that I owe much more than what I was paying. This situation is much more than what I am stating here, just not sure what to do.

Asked on November 18, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If there is no written agreement requiring these things, they cannot require them of you--you may move out at will. They could *only* enforce these terms or requirements against you if you had agreed to them in writing. (If they believe you owe them money, like rent, their lawful recourse would be to sue you for them--not hold your belongings hostage.) If they refuse to let you move out, you can go to county court and seek a court order requiring them to allow you to take your belongings. Go to the customer service or clerk's office in the court, explain that your landlord will not let you take your own property, and they can give you the instructions and likely sample or template forms you'll need to file the legal action.

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