What to do if a former tenant left things behind because he could not pay the rent and now he wants the items in question returned?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if a former tenant left things behind because he could not pay the rent and now he wants the items in question returned?

However, he still has not paid the rent that was due; he is left his items for 8 months.

Asked on September 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You have to return his belongings--you're not allowed to keep them, unless he specifically used them as collateral or gave you a security interest in them. If you had to pay any cost to move, ship, store, etc. them, you can require him to pay that cost before returning the items--but you can't force him to pay the rent he owes as a condition of getting his belongings.

You can, of course, sue the tenant, including in small claims court, to recover any money (e.g. rent) he owes you.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Since the former tenant wishes to retrieve his or her belongings post move out, then the items are not abandoned. As such, you are obligated under the law to return them. In the interim I would have a small claims action filed against the former tenant and when he or she arrives to pick up the belongings have a friend of yours with you to serve the former tenant with the summons and small claims action.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption