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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100008
Experience:  Lawyer
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Is it legal to hold onto someones belongings when any money

Customer Question

Is it legal to hold onto someone's belongings when any money is owed?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 8 years ago.
This depends on the facts.

Can you provide a few facts and also let me know what province you are in.

If you did post more information it's not up yet.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I live in the province of Manitoba if that does give you a hand of what I'm looking for.
Expert:  Debra replied 8 years ago.
I have you additional information now but I still need to understand who is holding the belongings and why she has them and what you owe money for etc.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My ex-girlfriend has some my belongings as she says I owe her money. I will admit that I owe $550 ruffly for a suit that she has bought for me and which I do not have, she says I owe $700 but has not shown me any listing of what from. We used to live together, but not as common law. I moved out due to the relationship being over and been attemping till last week for 6 months to contact her VIA e-mail as it is my constant scoure of contact currently. She gave most of my stuff back but holding some things, for example she gave me my Playstation Two and Gamecube games but kept the consoles themselfes. How much more info would you need if more?
Expert:  Debra replied 8 years ago.
That's enough information.

In this type of situation, she has no real legal right to hold your things. She can't arbitrarily hold onto things because you owe her money.

On the other hand, the money and effort you will have to expend to get them back will likely not be worth the effort.

The police will not assist you as they will tell you this is a civil matter.

You can sue her in Small Claims Court but she will counter-claim for the money and you will end up having to pay her.

You can try sending her a letter by Registered Mail (to shock her a bit) and indicate that you are considering your legal options in light of her refusal to unlawfully withhold the consoles and that if you do commence legal proceedings against her you will be seeking your costs (that means that you will ask the Court to order the she pay you for court costs and any legal fees.)

You can say that you want to be fair and acknowledge that she should keep the suit until you pay her the money owing but the consoles are not related to the money owing and as such the retention of the items by her is unlawful.

You can also suggest a payment schedule for the $550 and say that you will start paying her a monthly amount, until paid off, at which time you get your suit, and payments will start after the release of the consoles, and any other belongings of you that she has, aside from the suit.

I hope that helps.

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