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Landlord left belongings in foreclosed rental home - is the Tenant responsible?

Discussion in 'Foreclosure, Repossession, Auctions, Short Sales' started by budstud, Jan 17, 2011.

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  1. budstud

    budstud Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I live in GA and my landlord recently let the house I rent be reclaimed by the bank in foreclosure.

    I was on a month-to-month lease at the time of the foreclosure and understand that I have 90 days to vacate the property.

    The bank has offered relocation assistance (which I desperately need considering I will need to come up with another security deposit on a new home and it is unlikely that the landlord will return my security deposit in a timely manner), however with the stipulation that all personal property is removed from the home.

    Unfortunately, the landlord left furniture in the home and tied the care of that furniture (and the potential return of my security deposit) into the lease. The garage is full of items (lawn mower, grill, yard tools, paint supplies) and the house has an entire dining room set as well as a sleeper sofa and a few other small pieces of furniture.

    The landlord has been quite uncooperative with myself and the bank rep on removing the personal property from the home. Not going so far as to refusing to remove the property, but not showing an urgency to do so. They have already missed a tentatively agreed upon date to do so. Additionally, the landlord has refused to even discuss returning my security deposit until they have had a chance to inspect their personal items for any damage.

    My question is: Since this property was included in the lease and the lease contract was broken by the landlord once the house went into foreclosure, am I legally permitted to remove these items from the home and cooperate with the bank on relocation?

    The bank and the bank rep have offered no solutions to this dilemma.

    Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I have done no wrong in this situation, paid my rent on time for the entire time I lived in the home and took great care of the home and all of the items the landlord left behind.

    Thanks in advance for your replies.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your property has nothing to do with the landlord's problems. You'd be wise to take the bank's help and get new yourself new digs, pronto.

    Keep it simple. Take only what is yours.

    Take the help and get outta there, sooner, rather than later!
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  3. budstud

    budstud Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the response army judge.

    I want nothing more than to leave and put this mess behind me. Unfortunately, the bank will not offer me any help unless ALL property is out of the home -- mine and the landlords.

    The Realtor who is representing the bank has stated that it is my responsibility to get the landlord to move their property out of the home. If the landlord does not, they will move to eviction. And with the eviction, I would receive no relocation assistance from the bank.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can ONLY remove what is legally yours.

    Write them a letter and follow that with a phone call.

    Send the letter to the bank, their Realtor, and your landlord.

    Send all letters certified, return receipt requested; or use an overnight letter delivery service (FedEx or UPS)!

    Advise them that you will gladly accept their help.

    But, as a tenant, you have no legal authority to remove property that does NOT belong to you.

    Advise them that by removing property belonging to your landlord, they are asking you to BREAK the LAW.

    Advise them that you will obey laws, and not break them.

    Tell them you have consulted with an attorney and he is aware of their plight, as well as yours.

    But, your attorney has advised you to cooperate with the bank to any extent, except to break the law.

    Ask your landlord in the letter to please contact the bank and arrange to remove his/her belongings, ASAP.

    Tell them that you wish to accomplish all of this within 21 days, if not sooner!

    Ask the landlord about your refund.

    Then sit back and wait for a response.

    In the interim, get ready to move, without the help; just in case.

    Your security deposit is gone!

    Do you think a landlord that has had his property's foreclosed could ever repay it?

    Sure, he should, but I doubt that he will.

    Sure, you could sue him, but you see what it got the bank, right???? NOTHING...
     
  5. budstud

    budstud Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you. I have done everything that you detailed and I appreciate you confirming that I took the proper steps. At this point I guess I am in the wait and see situation and will look for a new place to live as if I will get no help.

    I told the bank I will not remove the landlord's property. I have asked the landlord to remove their property within 21 days (which has now come and gone) and I also asked the landlord to return my security deposit (which they declined to do until inspection of their property that is in the home).

    I don't know if this is correct or not, but the Realtor told me that if the landlord does not remove their property and the eviction process starts, I will be the one evicted even if I agree to leave the property and the landlords personal items behind.

    I suppose if I cannot sue to get my deposit back, I can at least get a judgment against the landlord.

    Thanks again for the information. I really appreciate it.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Yes. You can still move out and place those items into storage. Take the deal from the bank and take your own property with you. You can give the landlord notice to recover his property and inform him that you will be putting it into storage at his expense if he fails to pick it up by a certain reasonable date. Also inform him of what the storage fee will be if he does not pick up his property.
    You can put the property into storage, which YOU will have to pay for, but you can later go to small claims and try to get a judge to order him to compensate you. Make sure you give the landlord notice of where the property was stored and give him access so he can remove it at any time.
    There is absolutely nothing illegal about you moving the property, but you will be responsible for any damages or loss so carefully photograph and itemize everything you move... be thorough.
    If he comes to pick up his property, great. If he doesn't, check into your state laws regarding abandoned property and see what the proper procedure is for giving notice/storage before it can be disposed of. You won't be responsible for his property indefinitely. A quick consult with a local attorney regarding the procedure for abandoned property would be useful to you. There is nothing at all that prevents you from removing those items from the house- just don't sell or destroy it unless you are certain you are certain you have complied with the laws in that regard.
    Also, if a storage facility is not reasonable to you, you can take the property with you to wherever you move. Just make sure the owner knows where the property is and is able to come claim it at any time. It may also be wise to speak with local law enforcement when you move out so that they have a heads up if the owner should come back and try to report the property as stolen... which it isn't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011

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