How long does a landlord have before they can throw away your stuff and tow your cars?

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How long does a landlord have before they can throw away your stuff and tow your cars?

I was living at an apartment for about a year. We moved out a month or so early and attempted to negotiate a deal with the landlord. We had 2cars and some heirlooms left in the house for a couple weeks after we moved out. We went by the house a few days ago to find the cars gone and the heirlooms taken. The landlord will not answer phone calls, and we’ve left many voicemails to no avail. I’m just wondering if it’s legal for him to do this without notice and then ignore the phone calls to get our things back? He never filed an eviction notice. Any documents I can take to court to help me?

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You moved out so he didn't need to evict you because you initiated the lease breach. Since you left your belongings, your landlord (in order to mitigate his damages by trying to re-let the premises) probably had no immediate choice but to move those items somewhere, hopefully somewhere safe. The landlord had to have given you (usually within 10 days to 45 days depending on the state) a full itemized accounting of any deductions taken from your security deposit and he must provide the receipts upon request. Further, abandoned property laws also differ between the states. If your landlord had your cars towed, he may be entitled if there is any posting on site about towing cars that don't belong to tenants. You were no longer a tenant, so he may have a loophole. If no such loophole exists in your state, then he needed to have given you notice and same with the heirlooms to come get them and if you don't, then the items are consider abandoned. You would not get replacement value, but you would get fair market value at time items taken and must show proof of their worth. Consider sending a certified letter to the landlord and if he doesn't respond, consider a lawsuit in landlord tenant court.


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