What can I do if the moving and storage company where my things were stored was evicted by their landlord?

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What can I do if the moving and storage company where my things were stored was evicted by their landlord?

I paid for my container storage for 50 months ($5000) with no problems. I just discovered that the company was evicted by their landlord and the space is now vacant. All numbers are disconnected. Would the sheriff’s office who handled the eviction have taken possession of my things? Would the landlord have any responsibility? Everything I owned was in there. My contact information with them was current.What are my rights and who should I contact? Worried that my items are slated for some sort of liquidation. I’m physically 3000 miles away but I can travel there ASAP if it will result in the recovery of my items.

Asked on December 31, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The sheriff would not have taken your goods; the sheriff (or in some states, a constable) oversees the lock-out, but does not seize the tenant's goods.

If the landlord took your goods, it may still have them in storage--contact the landlord right away to see what they know. If they have stored them, you can most likely get them back upon providing proof of ownership and paying the storage costs incurred since they were removed from the space. If the landlord disposed of them, speak with a landlord-tenant attorney in that state to see if the landlord disposed of them in accordance with applicable law; if not, you  may be able to sue the landlord for their value.

If the goods were disposed of (e.g. taken or sold) by the moving company, then you may not have any recourse--while you could try to sue the company for the goods' value and/or their return, if the company is out of business (as it may be, from what you write), there may be no one to recover the goods from, especially if the mover was a corporation or LLC. (If it was some other kind of business, you may be able to sue the owner(s) personally.)

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Based upon what you have written I would contact a landlord tenant attorney to contact the landlord and the representative of the company that you had a lease with to ascertain what happened to your property. If the items are gone forever, then you seemingly have a legal action against the person you leased from and the owner of the property who may have disposed of your items.


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