What to do if tenant’s personal property was takenby thebuyer of their rental?

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What to do if tenant’s personal property was takenby thebuyer of their rental?

Our personal property was stolen or removed from our rental after the closing. We lived there as a tenant and I also sold it as a real estate broker. At the closing table I told the closing agent that I have some personal property left at the duplex which we would collect after closing. The seller signed on Friday and the buyer signed on Monday. Due to bad weather we could not go on Monday, and when went on Tuesday evening, the lock had been changed and our almost new personal property worth approximately $10k was missing. We believe the items were stolen by the buyer (40 pairs of shoes, 2 table lamps,2 paintings, expensive fur type jacket, chair, my complete college books, 2 sets of encyclopedias, 4 sets new comforters). Should I sue the buyer, which is an investment company?

Asked on November 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I think that it might be best for you to contact an attorney in your area to discuss this matter.  All your evidence is "circumstantial" which is not to say that it would not hold up in court.  Opportunity here is clear with the change of possession.  May I ask: did you have renters insurance?  You may want to put in a claim.  I would also contact the buyer and advise of the theft and that you are filing a police report and that you wish to make a claim on their insurance.  See what they say.  When you see the attorney ask about an action for conversaion of the property.  Just make sure that you have a well documented list of stolen items here.  Good luck.


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