Can a motel you were living in throw your belongings away for non-payment if you had a security deposit and arranged to pay difference?

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Can a motel you were living in throw your belongings away for non-payment if you had a security deposit and arranged to pay difference?

Me and my 3 year old son were living in a motel with a friend. I had to leave and he checked out a couple of days later. He was suppose to get our stuff but he left it. I called up there and they told me they threw it all away. I talked with the cleaning lady and she told me they put it in a storage building. When I called again, they said I would have to pay $30 since they had my $50 deposit. I sent someone up there and one guy said she couldn’t get it at night then the owner said it was thrown out. I don’t think they threw it out. These things are all me and my son own. What can I do?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, a representative for a motel of hotel cannot legally discard one's belongings simply because a guest has not been current with payment for lodging. Custom and practice is for such left behind items to be placed in storage as "lost and found" for up to a year so that the owner can claim the items.

If the items have been discarded that you own, your option is to make a claim for reimbursement of the items to the motel's owner(s) and if not paid, bring a legal action for the items' fair market value.


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