If I’m a former tenant, can the new tenants remove my property from the house and just leave it outside?

UPDATED: Apr 18, 2011

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If I’m a former tenant, can the new tenants remove my property from the house and just leave it outside?

I moved out of a rental home and still have some property inside and new tenants moved in recently. They said that they would let me come get the property however upon going to remove some of the stuff when they were home, they would not answer when I was knocking on the door. So after a a few minutes (3-5 minutes of knocking and waiting) I opened the unlocked door to go get some of my property and they immediately started screaming at me and called the cops. There is a chance they may throw my things outside because they hinted they might. I was wondering if this is legal?

Asked on April 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) The new tenants have no duty to you in this case; it is the landlord who has a duty to store your property safely (though at your cost) for a reasonable period of time if you left it after your tenancy ended. The new tenants may put your belongings outside--you have your stuff in a house they are paying rent for. If the those belongings are stolen or destroyed, you may have a cause of action against your landlord. Best would be to contract your landlord, have him/her mediate for  you, and try to work out a time to retrieve your belongings. Again, though, you have no right to make another tenant store your goods.

2) You do realize that you committed criminal trespass, don't you? You never have a right to enter someone else's home without permission. The fact that you used to live there doesn't matter--it's not your home anymore.

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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