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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27408
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Can my landlord seize my car and tell me that he wont release

Resolved Question:

Can my landlord seize my car and tell me that he won't release it to me unless I pay him $500 dollars? Other info: I am a non citizen who had to leave the country when my student visa expired, however I paid rent up until 23 days ago. When I returned to claim my car several days ago, I found that my landlord had seized the keys, which I had left in a neighbor's possession, so I was unable to reclaim my car sooner. The car's title is also not in my name, it's in my ex-wife's name. There are several boxes of my property in the trunk of the car, as well.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

No, there is no provision in the law allowing a landlord to seize a vehicle.

JD 1992 :

Even if you owed him money, for something other than car repair, he isn't allowed to seize your property to try and make you pay for it.

Customer:

Does that apply even if the car has been on his property for this length of time (23) days?

JD 1992 :

Correct.

JD 1992 :

Unless you signed something saying he had the right to charge you for the car being there. I should have added "storage fees" in addition to the car repair exception.

Customer:

There was no provision in the lease, parking was included.

Customer:

He says he will take me to small claims court unless I forfeit the car or pay the 500 dollars, are there any laws that I can specifically reference in my conversation with him?

JD 1992 :

He's not supposed to seize the vehicle and hold it for payment then.

JD 1992 :

No, the problem is there aren't any laws on this because he's not allowed to do it. To be allowed to do it there would have to be a law allowing it and there is not.

JD 1992 :

Call the police and advise them that he is holding it and ask for them to help. They are probably going to tell you it is a civil matter but try anyway.

JD 1992 :

At this point it is theft.

Customer:

So at this point, he is legally in the wrong not me?

Customer:

I'm asking because I'm not sure if he can claim I "abandoned" the property when I left the country, though I paid him rent so that seems improbable.

JD 1992 :

Yes, you may owe him but he is in the wrong. No question about it.

JD 1992 :

No, abandonment requires more than a few weeks.

Customer:

thanks for your help.

JD 1992 :

I'm not sure of the exact time but it will be months.

JD 1992 :

You're very welcome. You may want to hire a lawyer to write him a letter. That shoudl get results fast.

Customer:

Thanks again.

JD 1992 :

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work. The website only gives credit to the expert if you give a Positive Rating.

Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27408
Experience: Began practicing law in 1992
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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B.
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Began practicing law in 1992