If I sold a TV to my tenant under a bill of sale but he hasn’t paid anything, can I repossess the TV and charge him for using it?

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If I sold a TV to my tenant under a bill of sale but he hasn’t paid anything, can I repossess the TV and charge him for using it?

I figured it would be like him renting the TV. I know he uses the TV but he has not made 1 payment in the 3 months that he’s had it. He is my tenant so I have leverage and he isn’t going anywhere, but I feel like he is taking advantage of me, assuming I won’t do anything. Do I have any options here? No, the bill of sale doesn’t specify anything about non-payment, just that he has 3 months to pay in full.

Asked on August 11, 2011 Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you could only repossess the television if the agreement of sale specifically gave you the right to do this--i.e. it gave you a security interest in the television, which you could exercise in the event of non-payment. Without a specific grant of authority to repossess, you can't simply take it back. However, you can sue him for the money he owes you under the agreement. Once he has defaulted--gone beyond the time period to pay--that's when you take him to court, and you could certainly bring the case in small claims court, which is less expensive (you can represent yourself, and don't need an attorney) and also generally quicker than regular court. Good luck.


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