Posted by Mo on November 10, 1999 at 09:45:05:
In Reply to: If you are sharing an apartment what are your rights to your personal belongings if you are evicted? posted by E. Wilcox on November 09, 1999 at 17:48:54:
: My roommate's name is on the lease, and I have (shared) rented from him
: for three years. I payed the rent for the apartmentment plus 200 dollars
: a month, however he did not pay the bills and we were evicted last week.
: The landlord has possesion of all of our belongings and refuses to
: give them back until my roomate signs a letter stating what items belong
: to me. The problem is that I can not track my roommate down and he has
: made no attempt to contact me. I am worried that he might claim all of
: my possesions eventually, how can I get my things back?Pls. help -thank you
Where do you live? It helps to post were you live. Laws are different
in different states. The following is for NY:
To evict a tenant a landlord must sue in court and win the case.
Only a sheriff, marshal or constable can carry out a court
ordered warrant to evict a tenant. (RPAPL Sec. 749)
A landlord cannot take the law into his/her own hands and evict a
tenant by use of force or unlawful means, For example, a landlord
cannot use threats of violence, remove a tenant's possessions,
lock the tenant out of the apartment, or willfully discontinue
essential services such as water or heat. (Real Property Law Sec.235)
A tenant who is put out of his/her apartment in a forcible or
unlawful manner is entitled to recover treble damages in a legal
action against the wrongdoer. Landlords in New York City who use
illegal methods to force a tenant to move are also subject to
both criminal and civil penalties. Further, the tenant is
entitled to be restored to occupancy. (RPAPL Sec. 5 713, Sec.
853; N.Y.C. Local Law 56, 1982)
When a tenant is evicted, the landlord has no right to retain the
tenant's personal belongings or furniture.
It is wise to consult an attorney to protect your legal rights if
your landlord seeks possession of your apartment. Never ignorelegal papers.
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