Can my landlord toss my stuff?
November 20, 2009 8:43 AM   Subscribe

Can my landlord throw out my stuff in a storage unit?

So my apartments management company decided to clear out and reassign the storage areas so that they corresponded to the right apartment (ie Storage Area 1 goes with Apt 1, etc)

There was a note pinned to our doors on a Thursday stating their intentions to clean out the storage area so that they could reassign them. The note said....anything not removed by Monday will be thrown in the trash.

The previous month they did the same thing with the garages. They wanted to reassign the garages and also put new garage doors on. The note they left the tenants said that all of our stuff had to be out by such and such date, and to please remove our cars so that the workers can put the garage doors on. The note said that any stuff not removed would be thrown in the trash and any cars not removed would be towed.

Besides being highly obnoxious (in my opinion at least)...is that legal? Can they just declare martial law on your stuff like that? What if I was out of town for those days and came back and found my junk missing? This is in the state of Minnesota if it matters.

I didn't have anything thrown away but one of my neighbors did. Does he have any recourse?

This is a fairly large management company with several (dozens I think) buildings in the metro area I live in. I would assume that they would have a good handle on what they can and can't do but this just seems iffy to me.
posted by ian1977 to Law & Government (11 answers total)
 
Have you checked your lease papers for any clauses or terms related to the handling of the storage units?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 AM on November 20, 2009


It seems to me that the tenancy on the storage units and parking garages would be the same as the tenancy on the apartment. 30 days if it is a month to month? So they shouldn't be throwing anything away without 30 days notice.

I know that roadworkers can post no-parking signs and tow with just a few days notice. But removing and throwing away your stuff? No way can that be legal.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:49 AM on November 20, 2009


Have you checked your lease papers for any clauses or terms related to the handling of the storage units?

Nothing in particular other than a sentence stating that I rented garage #4 for an additional $30/month. No terms or clauses though.
posted by ian1977 at 8:50 AM on November 20, 2009


More than likely that is just an idle threat to get people to move their stuff and in most cases (although my Google-fu does not turn something specific to this effect up), I would think that what is included in your rental agreement is considered an extension of your apartment (or what have you), including your storage unit and parking space; since they could in no way enter your apartment and throw out your stuff, nor can they do that to storage spaces/parking spaces.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2009


if the storage space and/or garage is in the lease (like yours) then it's governed by the same rules. the management company has violated the lease.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:56 AM on November 20, 2009


More than likely that is just an idle threat to get people to move their stuff and in most cases

That's what I assumed but my neighbor actually does have some stuff missing. Several boxes that he had labeled "Apartment #5" or something like that.
posted by ian1977 at 8:58 AM on November 20, 2009


SLC Mom, that's quite a bit of intuition-based armchair lawyering for not knowing the contents of the poster's lease or where the poster lives.

Take a good look at what your lease says re: eviction and whether it says anything else about storage units or spaces other than the interior of your apartment. Then check your city code, then your state statues, for provisions relating to eviction, especially as applied to out-buildings, garages, etc., since the provisions governing apartments may not apply equally. It's tough to answer questions like this without knowing what contract governs the issue (your lease) and what laws govern the issue (your state/county/municipality).
posted by craven_morhead at 9:07 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does he have any recourse?
He could just make an insurance claim clearly explaining that the landlord is the reason for the loss - then let the insurance lawyers and the management company fight it out (assuming you do have insurance).
posted by Lanark at 11:18 AM on November 20, 2009


I found the MN Landlord Tenant statutes.

In the case of abandoned property....apparently landlords have to hang on to your stuff for 60 days and all these rules for how they actually get rid of it. The verbage for that seems kind of centered around abandoned apartments but it doesnt specifically NOT apply to storage units and garages and the like as far as I can tell. If anything, you would think that the rules would be MORE strict for throwing out your crap while you still live there!

504.24
Property Abandonment
If a tenant abandons rented premises the landlord may take possession of the tenant's personal property remaining on the premises, and shall store and care for the property. The landlord has a claim against the tenant for reasonable costs and expenses incurred in removing the tenant's property and in storing and caring for the property. The landlord may sell or otherwise dispose of the property 60 days after the landlord receives actual notice of the abandonment or 60 days after it reasonable appears to the landlord that the tenant has abandoned the premises whichever occurs last and may apply a reasonable amount of the proceeds of the sale to the removal, care, and storage costs and expenses or to any claims authorized pursuant to section 504.20, subdivision 3, clauses (a) and (b). Any remaining proceeds of the sale shall be paid to the tenant upon written demand. Prior to the sale the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to notify the tenant of the sale at least 14 days prior to the sale, by personal service in writing or sending written notification of the sale by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the tenant's last known address or usual place of abode, if known by the landlord, and by posting notice of the sale in a conspicuous place on the premises for at least two weeks.

posted by ian1977 at 11:21 AM on November 20, 2009


If anything, you would think that the rules would be MORE strict for throwing out your crap while you still live there!

I think your friend has grounds to seek reimbursement from the landlord.

That's just armchair lawyering, but y'know, there is a certain amount of common sense that actually might factor in here.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:17 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The deadtree phone book will have a number for Legal Aid of some sort. They have lots of expertise on tenants' rights. Disposing of someone's property when it was appropriately stored and labeled, with inadequate notice, sounds pretty darn wrong to me.
posted by theora55 at 2:14 PM on November 20, 2009


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