Q: my Landlord threw away my stuff while I’m still paying rent , what do I do.
My apartment unit comes with additional storage in the attic of the building . Most of the other tenants do not utilize this storage, so most of the storage units are empty. Only a few of the storage units are actually labeled by apartment number, but when I went to put my belongings into storage, the unit that was labeled for my apartment had someone else’s stuff in it. Since most of the units are unlabeled and empty, I just picked an empty unit and put a padlock on the door with my stuff in the unit. Today , I found that the padlock on my unit had been cut, and all of my stuff was missing. When I called the maintenance staff, they knew what I was talking about , but they would not admit to doing anything , they just referred me to the property manager who has yet to respond to me. I don’t know what to do in this situation, do I have any legal rights ?
A: Yes, but more facts are needed to assess your situation properly. For example, did you notify your landlord that you were using a storage unit that was not labeled for your apartment unit? I’m assuming you did not. If the landlord thought the property belonged to another tenant who vacated their apartment, then the landlord would typically have needed to follow the statutory procedures for property abandoned or unclaimed by a tenant following the tenant’s vacating the rental unit, which include providing a written notice to the tenant, before the landlord sold or disposed of the property. See generally 14 M.R.S. § 6013. As an initial step, you should try to find out if your landlord or the property manager provided the required statutory notice to anyone.
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