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Ask S. Kincaid Your Own Question
S. Kincaid
S. Kincaid, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2484
Experience:  Experience working with evictions, subsidized housing issues and mobile home issues.
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Is it legal for an apt. Manager to enter and take things for

Customer Question

Is it legal for an apt. Manager to enter and take things for a lean? I paid $200 towards rent for October which was excepted. I received a notice of intent to place a lean on property is I did not contact the office. I talked to the office yesterday and was told that they would talk and let me know what was going to happen. They never tried to contact me until two ladies showed up at the door. I opened the door and they came in and one went straight to my room and picked up both of my laptops and then took my tv out of my living room. Is this legal? What should I do now?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

Absolutely not. You should report the theft to police. What state is this in?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

Unless the lease agreement says the landlord can enter your apartment or house, she has no right to do so, except in emergencies and for routine inspections or repairs and, preferably, when you are provided advance notice. In every residential lease (oral or written), a tenant has an implied right to to be left alone in their rental. A tenant also has a right of privacy in his or her own home. So entry without your permission is trespass, which is a crime.

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

Taking your laptops without your permission is also a crime. It is theft. You can report both crimes to the police.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I was never provided with a copy of the lease.
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

You can ask for a copy from the landlord, or you can assume that it does not give the right of entry and report the trespass and theft to the police. Even if it does provide a right of entry, that does not give the landlord the right to take your property. The theft would still be theft.

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

With a lien, the landlord or the landlord's agent may seize nonexempt property only if it is authorized by a written lease and can be accomplished without a breach of the peace. So, that might be written into the lease as well. Immediately after seizing property, the landlord or the landlord's agent shall leave written notice of entry and an itemized list of the items removed. The notice and list shall be left in a conspicuous place within the home. The notice must state the amount of delinquent rent and the name, address, and telephone number of the person the tenant may contact regarding the amount owed. The notice must also state that the property will be promptly returned on full payment of the delinquent rent. I understand you don't know if it is in the lease, but did they leave this notice?

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

Furthermore, a contractual landlord's lien is not enforceable unless it is underlined or printed in conspicuous bold print in the lease agreement.

Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

If a landlord or the landlord's agent wilfully violates this law, the tenant is entitled to:

(1) actual damages, return of any property seized that has not been sold, return of the proceeds of any sale of seized property, and the sum of one month's rent and $1,000, less any amount for which the tenant is liable; and

(2) reasonable attorney's fees.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They left nothing I took a video of them taking the things
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

I would start by asking for a copy of the lease, and whether they give it to you or not, report it to the police as theft. Their only defense would be a copy of the lease, that states in bold or underlined, conspicuous print that they can do this. If they did not leave any notice, they are not complying with the law, even if it is in the lease, and you could be entitled to damages.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok I will ask them for a copy. I live in the upstairs unit and my balcony ceiling of it fell about three months ago and still have not fixed it. I have reminded them several times and I have heard animals running across the ceiling in side the apartment. Does that have any effect on this situation?
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 9 months ago.

No. That is a completely separate situation.

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