What should I do about my former landlord not releasing my personal possessions after an eviction?

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What should I do about my former landlord not releasing my personal possessions after an eviction?

I owe my former landlord no back rent. I was in the process of moving when the sheriff came with the former landlord to execute a writ that was previously stayed. I was not completely gone by the date agreed. The sheriff said I was not entitled to another 24 hour notice. My family and I were forced to leave the property with personal property remaining inside. The personal property has yet to be put to the curbside. What can I do to force her to release the remaining property?

Asked on January 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, the landlord MUST return your personal property. If the landlord won't, you can bring a legal action to force them to do so. (With any luck, the mere threat of legal action will compel results.) The goods must be returned in the same shape you left them. If the landlord was required to store them for a time, such as at a you-store-it facility, the landlord may be able  to require you to pay those storage costs first. It is also reasonable that you and the landlord accomodate each other somewhat in scheduling when you'll get your belonging's back--e.g. the landlord can't put them on the curb in a blizzard or thunderstorm, and you can't require the landlord to give you access at 4 am in the morning. However, the basis rule is: your belongings are yours; the landlord must return them.


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