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My landlord confiscated some personal property even though I…

Customer Question
My landlord confiscated some...

My landlord confiscated some personal property even though I had emailed him I would be coming to pick it up. He is upset that he had to spend his Saturday mowing the lawn and trimming bushes after we moved out and so wants to charge us $850 for his time and is keeping our canoe, kayak, paddles and fishing gear.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

New York

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

We were responsible for the lawn care which we did prior to moving out. We moved out in the middle of the month (July 2017) and so by the time he showed up on July 29th the lawn needed to be mowed and trim. As I said, I emailed him that we would be coming to pick up our property (Aug 2nd) and if he was upset about the lawn we could have taken care of it at that time. Instead he did it, sent me an email for $850 and took our property.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No I guess that's the basics

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 15 minutes by:
9/18/2017
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 11 months ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 126,844
Experience: Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
We are going to file in small claims court and I was told by the State Police that you can charge an amount for each day the landlord is keeping our property from us. Is this true and what is the legal term if so and what is a reasonable daily amount?
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 11 months ago

NY has no written landlord tenant laws about holding property of a tenant that was left behind when tenant moved out. If you left property beyond term of the lease, since you moved out in July and you said you would not be getting it until August 2, the landlord may seek to charge you storage for the property. Unless the lease specifies disposition of the property left behind, the landlord can hold the property for storage fees. The failure to honor the lease and maintain the grass is something the landlord can charge you for if you were supposed to be renting through the month of July, but $850 is fairly unreasonable and they can only charge actual costs for doing the lawn work you were supposed to do by lease terms as you said.

So, if they are trying to charge you more than reasonable actual costs and are refusing to turn over your property you have legal cause to sue them for the breach of lease and for return of your property.

You need to start sending him a letter informing him that (If you were liable for the lease to the end of July) you will pay the reasonable cost of the lawn maintenance you did not perform, but $850 is excessive and you dispute that amount and that you demand he return your property as well. The NY law does not set a daily fee or amount on failure to return property, so that would be based on you claiming loss of use and reasonable costs associated with that lost use. It depends on the property being held and your need to use it and you would set what is reasonable.

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