If my uncle lived with us rent free and decided to replace our old furniture, if he is now moving can he take the new furniture?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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If my uncle lived with us rent free and decided to replace our old furniture, if he is now moving can he take the new furniture?

My uncle moved in with us 1.5 years ago. When he moved in he sold and threw out almost all of our things (furniture televisions appliances etc.) and bought new ones. He did not pay any bills or rent while living with us. He recently informed us he would be moving out and taking everything. Then 2 weeks ago he moved outbut left most of the furniture and said nothing more. Today however he emailed my mother to make arrangements to pick everything else up. I believe there was an implied contract asserting that had he not redecorated, we would have collected rent. Can he take the furniture?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your uncle decided to replace the furniture in the unit he was staying with you and replaced the furniture where in the end he never paid any rent, it seems logical to assume that the purchased furniture was payment for the rent he could have paid.

As such, there seems to be an implied agreement that the new furniture was in exchange for the rent.

I suggest that if the uncle wants the balance of furniture left behind given to him, that you allow it and present him with a bill for accrued rent. The problem I see is that all the furniture is gone and no rent paid. You and your mother are in a worse off position caused by the uncle.

Your mother seems to have a good case for back rent owed by the uncle.

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