Can a landlord hold your personal property hostage if back rent is due?

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Can a landlord hold your personal property hostage if back rent is due?

Month-to-month lease. The landlord has given us 3 days notice, explaining that was his way to get our attention. He told me that my property was “gone” and I could get it back if I paid him money that was owed. My personal property includes my clothes, picture,s and gifts for my granddaughter for her 5th birthday.

Asked on October 13, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, a landlord can not take your possessions unless and until he or she has an order allowing him to take possession of the property and even then he can not take your things but must arrange for the Sheriff or Marshall to come and move them out.  Otherwise you have an action for conversion. at the very least. And the 3 day notice is not just to "get attention" and may not be the proper service here.  And even if it was he or she would still need to file summary proceedings to get you to leave should you ignore the notice. I woud go to landlord tenant court immediately and file an action against him.  Good luck.


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