What rights do I have if my property is being held in a commercial space because the tenant did not pay rent?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What rights do I have if my property is being held in a commercial space because the tenant did not pay rent?

My partner owns a business and was locked out of the commercial space for failure to pay rent. Much of what’s locked in the space is my personal property. My name was not on the lease. Is it legal for the landlord to hold my property?

Asked on May 24, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal for the landlord to hold personal property of someone who was not the defaulting commercial tenant. However, the landlord will not simply take your word that this property does not belong to the defaulting tenant. If you want your property back, you will need to file a legal action (lawsuit) and seek a court order for the return of your property, and/or sue the landlord for the value of the property she is illegally holding (at which point she may settle by returning it). Only a court can issue a binding determination that this is yours and order the landlord to return it.

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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