What to do if I subleased my apartment and when it was time to move out, they told me that they moved their belongings but they actually left some items behind?

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What to do if I subleased my apartment and when it was time to move out, they told me that they moved their belongings but they actually left some items behind?

I contacted him several times to asking why they were still there and that he needed to come get them. I have call records showing that. He told me he was out of town but he will arrange for somebody to come retrieve them. He messaged a mutual friend if she could come get his stuff but she said she couldn’t. I also have a proof of the texts he sent her. However, when my lease was up and it was time for me to move out, his belongings were still there so I put them out of the apartment. Now he’s suing for $5,000 property damage. How do I win this?

Asked on October 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should not have placed the sub-tenant's belongings out of the unit you were renting to the sub-tenant. Under the laws of all states in this country you are not allowed to use self help to remove left behind items of a tenant or sub-tenant and leave them unguarded. You should have placed the items in a storage locker and advised the sub-tenant in writing as to where they were removed to.

The only way you can possibly defend the claim against you for the lost items is to retrieve them and/or show that they were not worth the $5,000 claimed.


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