What to do if I rented a room and was illegally evicted?

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What to do if I rented a room and was illegally evicted?

I rented a room in a apartment and the individual signed a agreement with me stating that I lived there. When I stated I was moving because she was not paying bills on time, she refused to return my money. After I notified the property manager, she changed the locks, damaged my clothing with bleach, and stole my ipod and camcorder. What can I do legally?

Asked on September 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the property manager used self help to evict you by changing the locks to the rental and taking your proeprty, you have a basis for a wrongful eviction against that person as well as the owner of the rental since his or her agent caused you the damages.

In all states in this country, in order to evict a tenant, proper procedures need to be done. For example, a thirty (30) day notice of termination of a tenant's lease by the landlordis typical. This was not done in your situation.

I suggest the following:

1. write the property manager and the landlord over what transpired asking for a stated amount for your damages to be paid by a set date.

2. if you do not get payment as requested, your option is to consult with a landlord tenant attorney, consult with a "legal aid" program, or file a small claims court action on your own.

Good luck.


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