What legal action can I take against my landlord who gave another tenant a key to the garage that I have been paying rent for?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2012

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What legal action can I take against my landlord who gave another tenant a key to the garage that I have been paying rent for?

We signed a lease for 1 year and at the time of our move in; we also signed a rental agreement for a garage. Today, we found that there was a lock on the garage that did not belong to us. My husband went to the office, they denied knowing anything about the lock. We found out that they rented our garage to someone else and they were told to toss what was there. Maintenance cut the lock off and when we opened it. 98% of our belongings including irreplaceable family heirlooms, photos, and momentos are all gone approximately $15K gone. The rep for the apartment complex says that she can’t find our rental agreement.

Asked on September 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the landlord and/or property manager to recover 1) the value (economic only; there is no recovery for sentimental value, unfortunately) of the stolen goods; and 2) the share or portion of the money you had been paying for the garage, since you were denied its possession. You would have to prove that you were renting the garage as well; you could use your and other family member's testimony, emails, text messages, correspondence, etc. if you  can't find a copy of the lease.

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