What to do if my ex-landlord evicted me and placed my items outside while I wasn’t home?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2012

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What to do if my ex-landlord evicted me and placed my items outside while I wasn’t home?

While they were packing up my property, they lossed keys and a cell phone. I have not found the items that were said to be accidently packed with my belongings during the time of eviction. I’ve told the landlord that I haven’t found the items. The landlord continues to threaten me with a civil suit over the lost items. Does the landlord have a case, even though I wasn’t there during the time of them packing my belongings and me stating that I didn’t find any of those items. How shall I proceed?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were not evicted by a court officer, you were almost certainly illegally evicted--landlords may not evict their tenants themselves, but must go through the courts. Furthermore, if landlord loses, damages, or destroys the tenant's property they are liable for it; and the tenant is not responsible for any losses or damages done by the landlord.

If you were illegally evicted, you may have a legal claim for monetary compensation and/or for reinstatement in the property. From what you write, if the landlord evicted you without going through the courts, you may have a valid lawsuit and should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to explore your rights in greater detail.

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