Do Evicted Tenants Still Have a Right to Gather Their Belongings After the Date They were Ordered to Vacate?

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“I am the owner/landlord of this property & have a court-order, dated 6/13/08, from the magistrate, Order of Possession/Removal: Wrongful Occupation of Residential Rental Property, giving me back the right to my property as of midnight, 7/11/08. The occupants did not move out, so the locks were changed. The previous tenants & the city police, came by the apartment today while we were trying to clean & bag up things still left inside & actually, harassed me (police) to let them (the tenants) in to get their things, or, as the policeman said, they will sue & I possibly would be liable. My question is, “do these previous tenants have the right to come back & claim their personal belongings, even after the date that was ordered to vacate & should the police be defending the tenants while I’m standing there with a court-ordered “order of Possession/ Removal”?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

As a general rule, when you evict someone you get the right to possession of the real property (the land, and things attached to to the land like buildings) in question. Personal property of the tenant remains the tenant’s property, and if you fail to turn it over to them, you are potentially liable for conversion (that’s fancy lawyer-talk for stealing).

Depending on your local laws, you may be entitled to storage costs or other reimbursement for your trouble, but you do not automatically get your ex-tenants’ stuff just because they no longer live there.

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Author: House Attorney

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