If left some personal belongings at a friend’s house but the property has gone into receivership, how can I get my things now?

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If left some personal belongings at a friend’s house but the property has gone into receivership, how can I get my things now?

My friends have a second home that they seasonally visit. I have kept watch of the property for over a year and, in exchange for my services, have been allowed to store personal items I own in the house and garage. They are in financial distress and the property has entered into receivership. I used to have access to the property (keys to house and garage) but the creditor changed the locks. I have notified the creditor that my personal property is in the structures and I desire to retrieve it ASAP. The creditor continues to deny access to me even though the property owners (debtors) have executed an agreement to hold the creditor harmless for the removal of my property. How can I retrieve my belongings?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You'd have to sue the creditor seeking either monetary compensation for the value of the withheld property (at which time he may agree to allow you access to settle the lawsuit) and/or for a court order ("injunction") seeking the court to direct him to allow you access. (The suit for monetary compensation, which would be based on theft--since that's what it is when to take someone's belongings from them--would easier, since you can file that in small claims as long as you're under the small claims limit; seeking a court order requires suing in "regular" country or district court and is procedurally somewhat more complex). Unfortunately, there is no other way to legally gain access other than a lawsuit.


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