A landlord can’t legally hold property you leave behind when you move out as "ransom" for back rent or other money the landlord believes you owe.
The landlord can hold the property until you pay a reasonable amount for the landlord’s costs and other expenses related to storing your property.
If you can’t get your property back, you can sue the former landlord for the value of the property. You can bring the law suit yourself in small claims court.
If you abandon (abandon means to move out without telling the landlord) an apartment or home, this is what happens:
- You are still liable (responsible) for paying rent until your lease ends, unless the landlord rents the apartment or home to someone else.
- The landlord should keep your property in a safe, dry location.
- The landlord can throw away any trash or garbage you leave behind.
- You have 60 days to claim your property. To claim your property means to say that it belongs to you and you want it back. You do this by:
- giving the landlord a reasonable description of the property in writing and
- paying the reasonable cost of storage and any other reasonable expenses.
- Before the landlord can sell, give away or throw away any property you leave behind, the landlord must give you notice about the plans for your property in writing. The landlord can mail the notice to the last address the landlord has for you. The notice must give you at least 60 days to pick up the property and pay reasonable storage and other fees.
If you leave the apartment or home after giving notice or on the day a written rental agreement (lease) expires, this is what happens:
- The landlord can sell, give away or throw away any personal property you leave behind without giving you notice, but only if:
- you gave the landlord notice that you had moved out or
- you moved out at the end of the rental agreement (lease)
If you are evicted by a court, this is what happens:
- A landlord can sell, give away or throw away any personal property you leave in an apartment or home without giving notice to you, but not until:
- 15 days after a writ of possession is served on you saying that the sheriff can force you to leave or
- 40 da ys after a writ of possession is served on you because you didn’t to pay rent into court as ordered
- You can file a motion asking the court to stay execution of a writ of possession. This means you ask the court to stop the sheriff from evicting you until the judge considers the information you provide in your motion. If the judge still decides to evict you, the landlord can sell, give away or throw away any personal property you left in the home or apartment 5 days after the judge gives the landlord possession of the apartment or home.