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Locked out; denied access to possessions

On Lawyer & Legal » Real Estate & Property Law

21,173 words with 14 Comments; publish: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 22:04:00 GMT; (800125.00, « »)

I live in Indiana and have been living on a month-to-month rental basis. I notified my landlord on 10/24 that I would be moving out by the middle of November. (They live out of state.) They arrived from KY on 11/29 to find that I was not yet moved out of my home (due to serious family illness). They have been staying at the home ever since, have changed the locks, deny me access to my personal possessions and are using MY furniture!

What should I do? I have filed a claim in Small Claims Court, but expect the landlords to seek a continuance. Will it be necessary to hire an attorney to file a replevin (sp) suit?

Any help is greatly appreciated, as I hate trying to explain to my 4-year-old daughter why she cannot have all of her toys back.

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  • 14 Comments
    • call the police again and again and again**......do you have any cameras take pictures lots of them

      call 911 it doesnt matter they will tape record all connversations and you want to be on the tape yelling at the police to stop this criminal activity...

      #1; Tue, 11 Dec 2001 23:04:00 GMT
    • I was at my mother's house (adjoining property to the rental) having dinner; the police arrived and informed me that my landlords were at my house. They told me not to go over there because they were irate. Two hours later, I made an attempt to have a discussion with the landlords and they called the police, wanting them to arrest ME for criminal trespass. I have sat on my mother's porch and watched these people take down my curtains and could see them through the windows sitting in my chairs and going through my personal effects.

      Is there any recourse for a tenant in this situation? Granted, I was a carry-over tenant (or tenant at sufferance), but they didn't even bother to phone me to ask if I had actually gotten moved out. The only thing they mentioned to the police as far as their objective was that they would have to "pray for guidance and would make a decision." Hmpf... not exactly rational folks. My ultimate fear is that all my personal belongings and my child's clothing and toys will be destroyed.

      Unfortunately, I don't have $1,000 to retain an attorney for the replevin suit; hence, my posts here.

      #2; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 22:49:00 GMT
    • That is a fabulous idea. If the court decides to continue the hearing, or they actually allow these people to keep my possessions, I will IMMEDIATELY contact the local media.

      You are a gem. Thank you so much.

      The sad part is... even if there is media coverage, that doesn't mean I'll get my belongings back. There are many things they have control of that cannot be replaced: antique dolls of my daughters, family heirlooms, china my now-deceased grandfather gave me.... etc.

      Ah, the wheels of justice turn so slowly. I'll be certain to post an update as this situation progresses.

      Here's a Christmas hug for you from me and my toddler.

      #3; Tue, 11 Dec 2001 00:00:00 GMT
    • Jeez! Okay, I turn the corner to my mother's to find my landlords are loading everything that they've been holding of mine into a pickup truck. My 4-year-old daughter is crying, has been asking the man why he is taking her toys and her mommy's clothes. She tells him he is mean and evil. (out of the mouths of babes) Anyway, I phone the police, they show up and yell at ME! The landlords filed a response to my claim and were supposed to wait until the hearing on Thursday for the judge to decide what to do/who should be in possession, etc.

      NOW... apparently they are going to be filing a counterclaim (which the court could not provide a copy of) and will be moving the case to the plenary docket because these freaks CLAIM that I owe them in excess of $3000 in damages. I maintained an immaculate home - totally free of ANY damage whatsoever. In their defense, I carried my tenancy over by 12 days and I should owe them prorated rent for those days - nothing else. I believe I'm in for the royal screwing of a lifetime here if I don't come up with big bucks for a good attorney.

      What info do you have that might give me insight into a replevin suit? I have a feeling that I am going to be spending big, big dollars to come up with nothing... or perhaps have to pay the landlords (at this point, I think I would prefer to spend time in jail - a first - in lieu of them getting any money from me. Especially since that, apparently, is their ultimate goal.

      #4; Tue, 11 Dec 2001 22:57:00 GMT
    • Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency

      12/10/2001 11:24:21 PM EST

      IC 32-7-9

      Chapter 9. Emergency Possessory Orders

      IC 32-7-9-1

      Sec. 1. The definitions in IC 32-7-5 and IC 32-7-8 apply throughout this chapter.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-2

      Sec. 2. The small claims docket of a court has jurisdiction to grant an emergency possessory order under this chapter.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-3

      Sec. 3. The following may file a petition for an emergency possessory order under this chapter:

      (1) A tenant, if the landlord has violated IC 32-7-8-7.

      (2) A landlord, if the tenant has committed, or threatens to commit, waste to the rental unit.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-4

      Sec. 4. A petition for an order under this chapter must satisfy the following:

      (1) Include an allegation specifying both of the following:

      (A) The violation, act, or omission caused or threatened by a landlord or tenant.

      (B) The nature of the specific immediate and serious injury, loss, or damage that the landlord or tenant has suffered or

      will suffer if the violation, act, or omission is not enjoined.

      (2) Be sworn to by the petitioner.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-5

      Sec. 5. If a tenant or a landlord petitions the court to issue an order under this chapter, the court shall immediately do the

      following:

      (1) Review the petition.

      (2) Schedule an emergency hearing for not later than three (3) business days after the petition is filed.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-6

      Sec. 6. (a) At the emergency hearing, if the court finds:

      (1) probable cause to believe that the landlord has violated or threatened to violate IC 32-7-8-7; and

      (2) that the tenant will suffer immediate and serious injury, loss, or damage;

      the court shall issue an emergency order under subsection (b).

      (b) If the court makes a finding under subsection (a), the court shall order the landlord to do either or both of the following:

      (1) Return possession of the dwelling unit to the tenant if the

      tenant has been deprived of possession of the dwelling unit.

      (2) Refrain from violating IC 32-7-8-7.

      (c) The court may make other orders that the court considers just under the circumstances, including setting a subsequent

      hearing at the request of a party to adjudicate related claims between the parties.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-7

      Sec. 7. (a) For purposes of this section, "waste" does not include failure to pay rent.

      (b) At the emergency hearing, if the court finds:

      (1) probable cause to believe that the tenant has committed or threatens to commit waste to the rental unit; and

      (2) that the landlord has suffered or will suffer immediate and serious injury, loss, or damage;

      the court shall issue an order under subsection (c).

      (c) If the court makes a finding under subsection (b), the court shall order the tenant to do either or both of the following:

      (1) Return possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord.

      (2) Refrain from committing waste to the dwelling unit.

      (d) The court may make other orders that the court considers just under the circumstances, including setting a subsequent

      hearing at the request of a party to adjudicate related claims between the parties.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2. Amended by P.L.14-2000, SEC.65.

      IC 32-7-9-8

      Sec. 8. (a) When a petition is filed under this chapter, the clerk shall issue to the respondent a summons to appear at a

      hearing that:

      (1) gives notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing; and

      (2) informs the respondent that the respondent must appear before the court to answer the petition.

      (b) The clerk shall serve the respondent with the summons to appear in accordance with Rule 4.1 of the Rules of Trial

      Procedure.

      (c) The court shall not grant a continuance of the emergency hearing except upon clear and convincing evidence that manifest

      injustice would result if a continuance were not granted.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2.

      IC 32-7-9-9

      YAMD.2000

      Sec. 9. If the court sets a subsequent hearing under section 6(c) or 7(d) of this chapter, the court may do the following at the

      subsequent hearing:

      (1) Determine damages.

      (2) Order return of a tenant's withheld property.

      (3) Make other orders the court considers just under the circumstances.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2. Amended by P.L.14-2000, SEC.66.

      IC 32-7-9-10

      Sec. 10. The adjudication of an emergency possessory claim under section 6(b) or 7(c) of this chapter does not bar a

      subsequent claim a party may have against the other party arising out of the landlord and tenant relationship unless that claim has

      been adjudicated under section 9 of this chapter.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.2. Amended by P.L.14-2000, SEC.67.

      #5; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:34:00 GMT
    • Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency

      12/10/2001 11:21:41 PM EST

      IC 32-7-6

      Chapter 6. Moving and Storage of Tenant's Personal Property

      IC 32-7-6-1

      Sec. 1. (a) If a landlord is awarded possession of a dwelling unit by a court under IC 32-6-1.5, the landlord may seek an

      order from the court allowing removal of a tenant's personal property.

      (b) If the tenant fails to remove the tenant's personal property before the date specified in the court's order issued under

      subsection (a), the landlord may remove the tenant's personal property in accordance with the order and deliver the personal

      property to a warehouseman under section 2 of this chapter.

      As added by P.L.130-1995, SEC.4.

      IC 32-7-6-2

      Sec. 2. (a) As used in this chapter, "exempt property" means personal property that is any of the following:

      (1) Medically necessary for an individual.

      (2) Used by a tenant for the tenant's trade or business.

      (3) Any of the following as necessary for the tenant or a member of the tenant's household:

      (A) A week's supply of seasonably necessary clothing.

      (B) Blankets.

      (C) Items necessary for the care and schooling of a minor child.

      (b) If a tenant has failed to remove the tenant's personal property under section 1 of this chapter, a landlord may deliver the

      personal property to a warehouseman if notice of both of the following has been personally served on the tenant at the last

      known address of the tenant:

      (1) An order for removal of personal property issued under section 1 of this chapter.

      (2) The identity and location of the warehouseman.

      (c) At the demand of the owner of the exempt property, the warehouseman shall release the exempt property to the owner,

      without requiring payment from the owner at the time of delivery.

      (d) A waiver of the provisions of subsections (a) or (c) by contract or otherwise is void.

      As added by P.L.130-1995, SEC.4.

      IC 32-7-6-3

      Sec. 3. (a) A warehouseman that receives property under this chapter holds a lien on all of that property that is not exempt

      property to the extent of the expenses for any of the following incurred by the warehouseman with respect to all of the property,

      whether exempt or not exempt:

      (1) Storage.

      (2) Transportation.

      (3) Insurance.

      (4) Labor.

      (5) Present or future charges related to the property.

      (6) Expenses necessary for preservation of the property.

      (7) Expenses reasonably incurred in the lawful sale of the property.

      (b) A tenant may claim the tenant's property at any time until the sale of the property under section 4 of this chapter by paying

      the warehouseman the expenses described in this section.

      As added by P.L.130-1995, SEC.4.

      IC 32-7-6-4

      Sec. 4. If a tenant does not claim the tenant's property within ninety (90) days after receiving notice under section 2 of this

      chapter, a warehouseman may sell under IC 26-1-7-210(2) property received under this chapter.

      As added by P.L.130-1995, SEC.4.

      #6; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:32:00 GMT
    • You said "Granted, I was a carry-over tenant (or tenant at sufferance), but they didn't even bother to phone me to ask if I had actually gotten moved out. "

      Might I point out that you didn't bother to phone them to tell them of your difficulties moving out. I believe you owed them a phone call, not the other way around.

      I can understand why they are mad, can't you? They most likely felt betrayed, lied to and taken advantage of. You have no idea how many plans of theirs you may have messed up, and what difficulties you caused. You tried to pull a fast one on them, and got caught. How they handled the situation is wrong, but whatever the legal outcome, you need to accept responsibility for your part in this mess. As they say, if you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.

      #7; Fri, 14 Dec 2001 10:05:00 GMT
    • Take lots of pictures have them dated by the photo company...to show a judge in court......

      I would call the police on them again, until you get an answer....i would demand to file trespass charges against the landlord.

      Speak to a supervisor not just a rookie cop.

      They have NO court order to lock you out they have nothing signed so what they did is a criminal offese.

      #8; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:29:00 GMT
    • Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency

      12/10/2001 11:23:16 PM EST

      IC 32-7-8

      Chapter 8. Rental Agreements; Rights of Access to a Dwelling Unit and Tenant's Property

      IC 32-7-8-1

      Sec. 1. (a) This chapter applies only to a rental agreement entered into or renewed after June 30, 1999.

      (b) This chapter applies to a landlord or tenant only if the rental agreement was entered into or renewed after June 30, 1999.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-2

      Sec. 2. (a) For purposes of this section, "tenant" includes a former tenant.

      (b) A waiver of this chapter by a landlord or tenant, by contract or otherwise, is void.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-3

      Sec. 3. The definitions in IC 32-7-5 apply throughout this chapter.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-4

      Sec. 4. (a) As used in this chapter, "dwelling unit" means a structure or part of a structure that is used as a home, residence,

      or sleeping unit.

      (b) The term includes an apartment unit, a boarding house unit, a rooming house unit, a manufactured home (as defined in

      IC 22-12-1-16) or mobile structure (as defined in IC 22-12-1-17) used as a dwelling unit and the manufactured home's or

      mobile structure's space, and a single or two (2) family dwelling.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-5

      Sec. 5. Unless otherwise provided by a written rental agreement between a landlord and tenant, a landlord shall give the

      tenant at least thirty (30) days written notice before modifying the rental agreement.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-6

      Sec. 6. Except as provided in IC 16-41-27-29, IC 32-7-5, or IC 32-7-6, a landlord may not:

      (1) take possession of;

      (2) remove from a tenant's dwelling unit;

      (3) deny a tenant access to; or

      (4) dispose of;

      a tenant's personal property in order to enforce an obligation of the tenant to the landlord under a rental agreement. The

      landlord and tenant may agree in a writing separate from the rental agreement that the landlord may hold property voluntarily

      tendered by the tenant as security in exchange for forbearance from an action to evict.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      IC 32-7-8-7

      Sec. 7. (a) This section does not apply if the dwelling unit has been abandoned.

      (b) For purposes of this section, a dwelling unit is considered abandoned if:

      (1) the tenants have failed to pay, or have failed to offer to pay, rent due under the rental agreement; and

      (2) the circumstances are such that a reasonable person would conclude that the tenants have surrendered possession of

      the dwelling unit.

      An oral or written rental agreement may not define abandonment differently than is provided by this subsection.

      (c) Except as authorized by judicial order, a landlord may not deny or interfere with a tenant's access to or possession of the

      tenant's dwelling unit by commission of any act, including any of the following:

      (1) Changing the locks or adding a device to exclude the tenant from the dwelling unit.

      (2) Removing the doors, windows, fixtures, or appliances from the dwelling unit.

      (3) Interrupting, reducing, shutting off, or causing termination of electricity, gas, water, or other essential services to the

      tenant unless the interruption, shutting off, or termination results from an emergency, good faith repairs, or necessary

      construction. This subdivision does not require a landlord to pay for services described in this subdivision if the landlord has not

      agreed, by an oral or written rental agreement, to do so.

      (d) A tenant may not interrupt, reduce, shut off, or cause termination of electricity, gas, water, or other essential services to

      the dwelling unit if the interruption, reduction, shutting off, or termination of the service will result in serious damage to the rental

      unit.

      As added by P.L.180-1999, SEC.1.

      #9; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:33:00 GMT
    • If I continue to call the police, what, exactly am I calling them for? Won't that be harrassing them? What should I take pictures of? The police warned me not to harass these freaks or trespass on their yard. The yards are small city lots, only about 50x50, so there's not much room to roam. Heck, if you were to stumble back about 8 inches while getting out of your car, you would run into their yard. AND... they already forewarned they would call the police on US if that happened. When I call the police, the landlords always manage to get the officers to their yard first.
      #10; Tue, 11 Dec 2001 23:08:00 GMT
    • CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY, AND GO OVER THERE AND DEMAND TO SEE THE COURT ORDER EVICTING YOU.

      They wont have it so you are entitled by law to get your stuff....

      File criminal charges against the landlord if you can.

      #11; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 22:38:00 GMT
    • Thank you so much for taking the time to locate this info. I had already found it on the 'net and printed it. HOWEVER... when I filed my claim in court, the initial hearing date was scheduled for January 7th. I was so upset that I called the court office the next day and asked for the judge to reconsider the hearing date and they, subsequently, scheduled it for Dec 13 (I filed on Dec 4). Although it would seem the law is clearly in my favor, the fact is... these people have ALREADY locked me out, denied me my winter clothing (it's now getting winterish in Indy). The damage is done. My nerves are shot, my child is confused about why someone would steal her toys.

      So, what should I do if my judge actually allows these folks an opportunity to have the hearing continued? I don't know if my heart and mind can take it. I actually have Xmas presents in that house purchased for my family and friends. In my opinion, the longer these people are that close to my belongings, the less chance I have of getting them back - intact. There are many valuable things - antiques, heirlooms, etc. that are in that house. The police will not get involved because, "it is a civil matter to be taken up with the court."

      I'm screwed. The people are self-proclaimed ministers, preach their ways, lift their hands to God, but yet behave in this manner. Any true Christian would not treat another person in such a rude and spiteful manner. They even called the police because children were playing and came into their yard.

      All that aside... I appreciate the info. You did include some info which I had failed to print!

      I can only hope that our judge will do the right thing and allow me to regain my property back. It's really too bad that these people should NOT be punished for their wrongdoings... without it costing ME an arm and a leg.

      Thanks again.

      #12; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:48:00 GMT
    • taike pictures of them with your stuff in their car......

      you'll need it to show the judge

      and call the police anyway......

      #13; Wed, 12 Dec 2001 00:18:00 GMT
    • How about calling the local newspapers or the local tv stations ......

      they always have reporters to help people in getting help. Maybe they can find you a pro bono lawyer.

      #14; Mon, 10 Dec 2001 23:54:00 GMT