What to do if my landlord is holding my car hostage?

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2013

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What to do if my landlord is holding my car hostage?

He claims that I owe him money (I do not) and has blocked in my vehicle with a van. I called the police and they refuse to ask him to move it (he knows many of them personally). Is this legal? And, if not, what can I do?

Asked on January 11, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, it's not legal--not even remotely--and the police should act; if they won't, you may potentially have a cause of action or lawsuit against the police. What you can do is:

1) Go over these officers' heads--e.g. go to their captain; and let the senior police officials know that you'll bring a lawsuit if necessary.

2) And/or go to court for "emergent" (think "emergency" or "urgent") relief in the form of a court order (temporary restraining order or injunction) requiring the landlord to release your car; you could also sue him for monetary compensation if you've suffered any costs or losses (like missing work; having to rent a car to get around; etc.). If you're uncomfortable doing this yourself, retain an attorney to help you.

If the landlord  believes you owe him money, the legal way he can try to get it is by suing you and proving in court that you owe it.

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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