What to do about an illegal eviction?

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2012

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What to do about an illegal eviction?

After a 3 day notice, we didn’t respond to it. The landlord enters the premises and starts going through our belongings and decides what they are keeping by putting it in storage pods while other belongings are thrown in the trash cans, along with furniture being set outside for anyone to come along and take. They never went and filed anything more. Just the 3 day notice. What can we do to get the rest of our belongings they kept and the things that got ruined and thrown away?

Asked on September 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sue the landlord. Landlords may only legally evict through the courts (i.e. by bringing and winning an eviction case, then having a court officer, like a sheriff or constable, conduct the lockout) and they may not simply throw out the tenant's belongings. You could sue for reinstatement in your unit; for compensation for the illegal lock out (such as the cost of a hotel you stayed in); and for the value of anything taken, damaged, or destroyed, as well as for court order requiring the landlord to return anything he took.

Note that if you owe the landlord money, what you owe him may be a set-off against what he owes you.

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