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Landlord entered and packed my belongings prior to lease end

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Landlord entered and packed my belongings prior to lease end

Postby sunnyside » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:49 am

Hi,
My apartment lease expires at the end of September. I am in the process of moving my belongings to my new apartment slowly as I already have another place to live. This past weekend I went to pick up some larger items (TV, bed) since I had help available. I forgot my apartment keys so I obtained my spare from the building. After I was done moving I left my keys with the front desk as I was told to. This was on Sunday.

I had not been back to the apartment since then. Yesterday I received a message from my brother that my building management company had called and left a message that I needed to vacate the apartment. I was very confused as to what that meant. I had not received any phone calls or emails from my management company.

I spent all morning trying to reach someone at the management company. When I finally got in touch with someone they didn't know what I was talking about. I though there must have been a mistake but I called my super just to make sure everything was ok.

I was finally able to get in touch with my super at 6pm. I was shocked to learn that after I returned my spare keys on Sunday the person at the front desk thought I had moved out! No one ever contacted me to confirm if this was true. Meanwhile, my lease doesn't even expire for over another month. I was even more appalled to learn that the following day (on Monday) building management had entered my apartment and noticed there was still furniture and many personal belongings present. Despite this, they still assumed I had moved out (without contacting me) and went ahead and put all my personal belongings in trash bags. They then changed the locks on my door. Thursday is the first time anyone tried to reach me and they didn't even call me, they called my brother who I guess is listed as an emergency contact.

After speaking with the super, they realized it was a mistake and gave me back access to my apartment. When I went back to my apartment, all my personal belongings were taken out of their drawers in my dresser and out of my closets and thrown in trash bags! I feel so personally violated--that strangers went through my belonging without permission.

What legal action can I take for this? Not only did the super and property manager enter my apartment without my permission, they went through my personal belongings! I have yet to speak to building management about the situation and am wondering if I should speak to a lawyer before I do! Your help would be appreciated!!

MS
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:34 am

It's called illegal eviction. See the info in the forum's reference section. They've undone it partially, but as you say you feel violated. Plus who is to say that nothing was taken in the process. That's the first thing to determine is if anything is missing.

First, make a police report for trespass and theft. Second, speak to a tenant lawyer as you might have a cause for action. And do this before speaking to the LL. At a minimum, you should be able to get a few months free rent as compensation.
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Postby Cranky Tenant » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Hope you took photos. If not, if there's still any indication of what they did, you should take photos immediately.
I'm a cranky tenant NOT a cranky lawyer.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:31 pm

Taking photos of one's apartment interior every so often is essential in these days of digital photography. Before, film and processing got to be expensive, but now it's dirt cheap.

Not only in case of LL shenanigans, but if you have renters insurance (which any tenant should), photos can document what you own and the condition.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:42 pm

Hi All
I agree with all prior advisement. Also suggest you make a detailed log of name/title of who you turned in the spare keys to that Sun, as well as who exactly entered the apt. See if there are any neighbors that can confirm the who's and are willing to sign a statement to such. Try if you can find out how, when, & who notified mgmt & who accepted the false info and if it was it passed furthur to whom. Lastly who made the decision to enter based on what. Don't be surprised, insulted, or stopped in legal persuit, if it's made to sound as if you abandoned the apt.
Log your items as well not only for missing but to remember what's in each bag should you need that info.
Get the tumbler changed if you have not already done so, & keep any docs related to such. Don't ask or inform bld/mgmt your changing the lock. If by some chance they have the gall to ask for a key tell them to stuff it. I doubt they will bother though. Say nothing to any bld reps that may come around just go about you transition. Also you do not nor should you allow them access until the customary inspection prior to leaving.
Don't forget to have a witness & filmed walk through apt. inspection and the return of the keys (again to whom) when your lease ends. With the gross error of moving early there is no telling what the mgmt will accuse you of to discredit you & attempt to recoop anything they may stand to lose should you sue.
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Postby ronin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:55 pm

This is pretty obnoxious. They saw all the person belongings and still "assumed" you had abandoned the apartment? Not very likely. You definitely should proceed with an attorney if at all possible. If not you can still do small claims court. But the attorney will most likely get you a better settlement.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:57 pm

Hi All
Ronin agree with a capital O. Call me crazy but when I see stuff like this it makes me wonder if LL's are doing every seedy thing to make a buck. Just imagine an attempt to bill for the service.... remember stupid is as stupid does :roll:
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