Q: Can a former landlord deny me from retrieving furniture I left there 3 yrs ago that I intended to get back eventually?
I lived in a shared group house 3 years ago. All furnishings were provided by various tenants, none provided by the landlord. I left 4 pieces of living room furniture there when I moved in 2017, telling the other tenants my plan to retrieve the pieces at a later time. I am ready to reclaim them, but none of the tenants who lived there in 2017 are there anymore. They would definitely vouch for me that I own this furniture and that I informed them I would be back to get it in the future. However, I never discussed this plan with the landlord (I never thought he'd need to be involved, it was a tenant-to-tenant agreement regarding shared furnishings). I need to arrange this through him now, and I am afraid he will make the process very difficult. He may ask me to buy it back, accuse me of illegally using the house as a storage facility, ask for some form of proof that I owned the furniture prior to moving in, etc. (former roommates could corroborate). What recourse does he have if any?
A: Start by reading your former lease. It very likely contains a clause that items abandoned in the premises belong to the landlord. Even if it doesn't, you need to explain why landlord was responsible for bailing your property without his knowledge or consent for three years. And then, you need to bring suit within three years of something indefinite here under the Maryland statute of limitations. If the furniture is worth the effort, a lawyer could review all the facts with you and give you better guidance, but I can't imagine that four used pieces of furniture could be worth it. Frankly, I think you owe him rent for the three years he stored your furniture. I'll bet he'd give you the furniture if you paid up.
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