Can a landlord hold your personal property?

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Can a landlord hold your personal property?

I told my landlord that I was moving out but he refuses to let me get my personal property. he also had a truck removed.  There was no signed lease.

Asked on December 18, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, a landlord cannot withhold your personal property.  He/she can be held liable both in civil and crimnal court.  From a civil standpoint, you can sue and, if you prove your case, your landlord can be held responsible for "conversion" (and if your good are not returned you will get "damages" equal to the replacement cost your goods). From criminal perspective, he/she can be held liable for theft.  This is true whether or not a lease was signed.

However typically, for a month-to-month tenancy (i.e. one where there is no lease), a tenant must give a 30-day notice of vacating the rental.  To the extent that you did not give proper notice, you in turn may be held liable for damages as well.  But this would have to be a separate legal suit.  Why not explain this toyour landlord and see what, if any, agreement you can reach before taking legal action against him/her. 


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