What can I do if my landlord stole my lease?

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2012

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What can I do if my landlord stole my lease?

My landlord physically stole my lease out of my hands and shoved it down his pants. What can I do legally? I am suppose to have 6 more months left. He is trying to force me out to make more money on the apartment? Is it considered theft if he physically ripped it out of my hands?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues here:

1) Even if you don't physically have a copy of the lease, you can only be evicted for nonpayment of rent, for violating terms of the lease, or for some other serious infraction, such as deliberately damaging the landlord's property or continuing to disturb the right to peaceful enjoyment of other tenants after you receive notice to stop doing so. And the allegation would have to be proven...you can't be evicted simply because you don't have the lease.

2) If the landlord physically grabbed the lease from you, he may well have committed theft and/or battery.

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