What Happens to Your Possessions When You’re Evicted?

What Happens to Your Possessions When You’re Evicted?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Scott Dylan Westerlund
 | 
It’s estimated that about 30 million Americans would face immediate eviction proceedings if the temporary federal halt on evictions were to get lifted.

That’s not a good sign for when these pandemic protections are set to end at the end of July.

When your landlord starts eviction proceedings, you could face an impossible scenario in which you don’t have a place to bring your belongings to. In these situations, the eviction laws in your state might allow your landlord to retrieve your property and put it in a storage unit. If you wish to retrieve your property at a later date, then you might have to pay a significant amount of fees. Do you really have to pay those fees in order to get your things back?

What to Do If You Get Evicted and Your Possessions are Still in the House
If you get evicted without the chance to recover all of your belongings, you might think that they’re lost for good. Don’t make the mistake of just abandoning it altogether! Your former landlord must adhere to your state’s laws regarding the eviction process. In most states, that means they must take reasonable steps to ensure you get a fair opportunity to get your things back.

The first thing you should do in these situations is to contact your former landlord about the situation. You need to take this step quickly, as many states only require your landlord to hold onto your property for a period of 7-10 days. If you haven’t talked about claiming your property in that time, then your landlord could have the right to dispose of or sell your things. In other states, you might have a period of up to 60 days to collect your belongings.

But, where will your landlord store your belongings for that period of time? In some cases, they might decide to put your possessions in a storage facility. This is a good option if you haven’t found another place to stay yet and the landlord is planning on renting out or selling your former place. It does, however, cost money to store your things in a facility.

How to Retrieve Your Property After an Eviction
So, what can you do if your landlord has moved your property to a storage facility? Will you need to pay a ton of fees just to get your things back?

It’s important to note that your landlord has likely been paying to keep your items stored, so it is reasonable that they ask you to pay some of those fees in order to get your things back. In many states, if you don’t pay your landlord storage fees, then the landlord is permitted to sell or keep your property for themselves.

In the majority of states, your landlord is not permitted to charge you past rent payments or other types of fees to get your property, though. If you feel like your former landlord is violating your rights as a former tenant, then it’s important to seek out an attorney’s advice before your landlord is no longer obligated to hold on to you property. If your landlord does destroy or damage your possessions before giving you a chance to retrieve them, then you might be legally entitled to seek out monetary damages against your landlord.

Do You Know the Eviction Laws in Your State?

Getting evicted is a stressful ordeal. If you still have the majority of your possessions in the home when you get locked out, then the situation can get even worse. While you might initially think that you’ve lost access to your property, you have rights as a former tenant.

The first step you should take is to get informed on your specific state’s laws regarding eviction and property that gets left behind. If you’re not sure about the laws in your area, then it’s worth it to consult with a qualified real estate attorney in your area. You want to make sure that you get some solid advice that you can act upon, though. The last thing you need is to make your decisions based on misinformation or a lack of understanding of the law.

To ensure you get the best possible legal consultation, head over to our lawyer search area and type in housing and your zip code. You’ll get a list of highly skilled attorneys in your area that can help guide you through the process and get your property back.

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps. 
Scott Dylan Westerlund

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