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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 44547
Experience:  17 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I have a vacation home that i rent. The last guest kept

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I have a vacation home that i rent. The last guest kept extending his stay and he was prompt with payment each time. However, he made the excuse to delay payment claiming he was in hospital .I believed him and it turns out that he left the property a day early without payment for the last 7 nights.
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: AZ.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: When i entered the property i found all of his personal belongings like clothes removed. The place was in a dreadful state, i found drugs, paraphenalia and trash scattered around. He left his car blocking the driveway .There are new guests arriving this evening who would not have been able to use the garage so i collected all his left bits and pieces , put them in his car and had the car towed off of the property. He basically has left an unpaid bill of $1000. He ignored all my messages for the last 3 days and i thought it was because he was still in the hospital but i fund reciepts inside proving that he was never in the hospital. I am now trying to decide whether i should call police , email and tell him i have removed his left car and belongings from my property and request payment before i hand them back to him.What are my rights?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: 1. Is it legal to remove a guests car and belongings from property? 2.Should i call police and inform them about the action i took? 3.Is it legal to request payment before handing back his belongings including auto

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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1. Is it legal to remove a guests car and belongings from property?

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Yes, they are considered "transient lodgers" under ARS 45-5070 and the AZ landlord ACT does not apply to them. So you can simply lock them out and remove their property if they violate the contract.

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2.Should i call police and inform them about the action i took?

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Can't hurt, but it isn't mandatory. I probably would just so they know that the car isn't stolen if the person calls in to try and report it.

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3.Is it legal to request payment before handing back his belongings including auto

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Technically no, but the person would have to sue you for conversion, which is the wrongful keeping of the property of another, in court and have a judge order you to return their stuff.. So it is more likely they would just pay you what they owe to get their stuff and car back...

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thanks

Barrister

Barrister and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. Only further question is - if guest calls police and tells them i have taken his car and belongings off of my property
could it be interpreted by police that i am committing a crime? if he police contact me how do i defend myself, what do i say?

Only further question is - if guest calls police and tells them i have taken his car and belongings off of my property
could it be interpreted by police that i am committing a crime? if he police contact me how do i defend myself, what do i say?

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Probably not, I see this as a civil matter and it would be up to him to file a civil suit against you... Now with that said, if the police did contact you and tell you that you have to tell him where the vehicle is, then I would.. You don't want to get into a fight with the police over something like this as they could just arrest you and let the DA sort it out later as to whether or not to try and charge for something..

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You can always sue the guy in small claims court

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Sorry to bother you again...I have never taken anyone to small claims court before . How do i do that and is it easy to self represent ? I dont have a great deal of disposal income so i hope i could do it myself. Is there a how to do it book or article i can read?

No worries. You don't need an attorney and you just fill out the summons and complaint forms that the clerks give you and then they will help with getting the sheriff to serve the summons on the tenant. Then you just show up to court and tell your story.. There are usually court costs of around $50-75 but you get those back in any award..

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But the sooner you file suit, the better your chances of getting a judgment before the person disappears..

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The only problem you will have now is to find the person so you can get the sheriff to serve them as that is up to you to do..

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
He has already disappeared. Can't he be served by email ? If not Can i hand this case to a collection agency who would have a better chance than me of finding him ?I have his name, D O B and previous address in LV .

Can't he be served by email ?

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No, that is not legal service.

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If not Can i hand this case to a collection agency who would have a better chance than me of finding him ?

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Yes, that might be a better option... Or wait to see if he contacts you and then if you meet up personally, arrange to have the sheriff serve him right then..

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
LOL - yes i like that idea -except his car is a 2016 sports mercedes which he refers to as his baby He may meet me with a great deal of anger .I feel very vunerable keeping a car worth way over what i am owed despite it being the only chance i have to get back what he owes me...is there a time limit to how long i can hold his car ? can i rent it out for a month to get my money back? or would that be illegal. I have to be super careful because i am what your president refers to as a "registered alien". With only entitlement to residency in the USA so long as i behave myself..Are you based in AZ too?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Can you tell me what kind of lawyer you are because i have another situation where i have been court ordered to take an action which i cant do.

.is there a time limit to how long i can hold his car ? can i rent it out for a month to get my money back?

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You can hold it until he contacts you to get it back... but you can't do anything but hold it as potentially abandoned..

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Unfortunately, I am not allowed to represent customers from the site or recommend anyone personally under my agreement with JustAnswer. However, these are a couple sites that we attorneys actually use if we need local counsel in a state where we aren't licensed. Further, customers have consistently reported good results with these sites:

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www.martindale.com

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www.lawyers.com

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They screen their attorneys based on geographic location, area of practice, time in practice, cost and customer reviews.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi, can you help me please ...the guy who abandoned his car on my driveway told me by email that he filed a stolen car report with the police because he claimed that his car was parked on the street not on driveway. He said he does not have the money to pay the rent he owes . He told me to keep his car because that is best for him.After he said this he contradicted himself and asked me for the first time a few hours ago to meet him at the car and he would give me the rent money if i showed him where the car was.He said if i did that he would tell police he found the car.
You told me i was legally allowed to hold car until he asked for it back which i have done.
1.Should i meet him at car
2.How do i find out if he has filed a stolen police report?
3.If he has - Will i be arrested at police station if i go in and explain what has happened?
4.All i want is my rent money- can i place lien on his car to get that back if he doesn't pay?
Am i legally allowed to put wheel clamps on his car to make it more possible he pay me?

Here is the thing... now that he has contacted you and wants the car back, you can't legally hold it any longer. That is called "conversion". But in order to get it back, he will have to typically file a civil lawsuit against you and have a judge order you to return it. But if he convinces the police to get involved, you would be best to just tell him where it is.

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You can call the police and ask them if he has filed a stolen vehicle report.

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No, you didn't steal his car, you just are holding it after he abandoned it.

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No you can't lien the car unless you sue him and get a judgment. No, no wheel clamps.

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Your only legal option now that he has demanded the car is to sue him in small claims court by getting the suit filed and then set up a time to meet him somewhere and make sure the sheriff shows up to serve him.