What Rights Do I Have After My Girlfriend Illegally Evicted Me From Her Home, and Now Refuses to Give My Belongs Back to Me?

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“What rights do I have after being illegally evicted from my girlfriend’s home in a private gated community in California? While I was out she had her brother tell me I was moving out today or face domestic violence charges, which was completely fabricated in order to get me out for fear of being arrested as it happens all the time people get arrested based only on the partners word. So I left with only the cloths on my back and knowing I had lived there for over a year I thought that I had rights, I was even issued my own resident ID card which still works to open unguarded gates. When I arrived a couple days later at the main gate I was told I could not enter as I was removed from the guest list, I said I was a resident, not a guest and showed my ID with that address on it but was told that if I enter the grounds I would be trespassing! All I want is to get my property and that would require several hours at the home, what recourse do I have?”

[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.]

Well, setting aside for a moment the “eviction,” your personal property remains yours regardless. Whoever is in possession of it, whether your girlfriend or her brother, is obliged to take reasonable care of it and to return it to you (though they may, in some circumstances, be entitled to be reimbursed for storage costs). If they don’t allow you to get your stuff back, that’s “conversion,” or in non-legal speak, theft.

Best thing to do is to politely and in writing demand the return of your property. If they then refuse, you’re in a good position to get the police involved, or to sue in civil court if the police won’t help.

As for the eviction, it depends a lot on the local laws whether you are considered a guest (who can be barred from the premises immediately) or a tenant (who is entitled to notice). I strongly suggest you deal with your personal property first–so they can’t hold it hostage–then, if you have been financially harmed by what they did, consult with a local attorney about whether it qualifies as a “wrongful eviction” in your area, and whether you’re entitled to money damages because of it.

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Author: House Attorney

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