Is there anything we can do legally if we owed rent so our landlord burned out personal possessions?

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Is there anything we can do legally if we owed rent so our landlord burned out personal possessions?

My husband and I were renting a home without a legally binding contract. When we moved from the rental property we owed $750 and we had fully intended on paying the remainder. We spoke with the landlord and told him when we would return to pick up the rest of our property. When we did return, we noticed all of our stuff was in a burn pile in the back yard and it had already been burned. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your former landlord purposefully burned your personal possessions after you moved out knowing that your would be returning to the former rental to pick up the items, you should do the following:

1. write your former landlord regarding his or her wrongful act of burning your posessions and requesting payment in a set dollar amount as to their fair market value by a set date. Keep a copy of the letter for future use.

2. if payment is not made by the set date demanded in your letter, your recourse is to file a small claims action against your former landlord for payment of the fair market value of the property he or she destroyed.


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