Can my landlord sell my things in this situation or any?

Ok. . .on January 18th, 2007 I was arrestted for a probation violation and sentenced to 4 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ–prison). After serving 16 months, I was let out on parole. I have gone back to my old apartment to see if I can recover any of my property, but the landlord says a few different stories. keep in mind that I had no intention of moving out, my lease was up on the next month, my parents tried to recover the property by showing power of attorney papers, and I owed around $350 for the months rent unpaid.

So the landlord (D) says first that he trashed everything because noone ever came to pick it up and people were breaking in taking stuff. Then he calls back and says he remembers that he kept somethings and thinks that the old apt. manager may have taken others. He told me the third time that he sold everything to the new renters for $300.

Do I have a right to my things? If so, how do I go about getting them?

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law.

6 Comments

  1. Since you abandoned the property he pretty much could do whatever he wanted. You were expecting free storage for 16 months?

    You can try taking him to court…..but do not get your hopes up to high of winning this.

  2. Usually, states have specific laws for how landlords are required to handle abandoned property. In my state, landlords are required to make a reasonable effort to contact the tenant, itemize the property, store the property for a period (up to 30 days), then sell or give-away. Landlords are specifically prohibited from keeping a tenants’ property or the proceeds from any sale (unless owed for past due rent). Your state may have similar laws.

    If your landlord failed to comply with landlord tenant laws, then he basically committed theft (especially if he personally kept your property — which is unethical at best). It sounds like your landlord realizes that he screwed-up and is offering you $300 to settle the matter. He probably assumed that you would never return.

    Google your state’s landlord tenant law and consider consulting an attorney. You may be in a good position to negotiate a settlement including forgiveness of the unpaid rent.

  3. Were you paying rent for those 16 months? If not, most landlords are required to keep property for 30-60 days before it is considered abandoned.

  4. Texas is one of a few states that allow the landlord to confiscate personal property if rent is owed. He would need to get a court order to do so.

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