Is it legal for a landlord to only give you a receipt instead of signing a contract for back rent due if he has your things locked in storage?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it legal for a landlord to only give you a receipt instead of signing a contract for back rent due if he has your things locked in storage?

I was 2 weeks behind on rent from having to miss work due to surgery. I was paying a little extra each week to get caught up but had an unexpected financial crisis. I told my landlord I would be unable to afford that much rent due to a decrease in my income. His tenants get a free storage when they rent from him. He locked my storage unit before I was fully moved out. He also took some things from out of my house and put them in a separate storage. He said he would write up a contract stating when I pay him the back amount due I will receive my belongings. I went to sign the contract and all he gave me was a rental receipt, is this valid or will he have to print up an actual document? When I asked him to put on the receipt I would get my things I paid the balance off he refused. Also I believe he is taking my daughter’s things from storage and giving them to his daughter. Is there anything I can do? I am a single mother just trying to survive.

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You landlord is violating the law: even if tenants owe them rent, landlords may NOT take or withhold the tenant's belongings, even to force the tenants to pay what is owed. They may certainly not give the tenant's belongings to a family member. You could, and should, report this to the police--this sounds like theft, from what you write. You could also sue the landlord, such as in small claims court, for the value of what he/she has taken, or for your cost to replace items (e..g if you've had to buy more clothing), or file an action in county court for a court order forcing the landlord to return your items, as well as for any losses or costs he caused you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption