What are my righs if my leasing office wrongfully removed my property from the apartment while I was out of town?

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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What are my righs if my leasing office wrongfully removed my property from the apartment while I was out of town?

I returned to remove my things which were already packed and boxed up. when I entered the apartment, all my things were gone. I contacted my roommate who had already moved out; she informed me that she turned in her key to the office and told them she was coming back to finish cleaning. I still had my key which was issued to me by the office when I moved in. The office manager informed me that they had trashed my thing because they thought we had both moved out already which is hard to believe. I was not on the lease but they knew I was living there.

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is not allowed to immediately simply throw out the belongings of its tenants (or its tenants' guests) when the tenancy is terminated and they move out unless--

1) There was a clear expression that the property was abandoned; or

2) The lease or some other agreement with the tenants specifically stated that any property left upon termination of tenacy would be considered to be abandoned.

In this case, it appears the landlord was negligent in throwing out your belongings, since you do not state that was either any statement to the landlord that the property was abandoned or any agreement providing that it would be considered to be abandoned.

You therefore should be able to sue the landlord (possibly in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney) for the value of the goods they dispossed of.

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.

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