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    sweaver's Avatar
    sweaver Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 02:25 AM
    Locked out
    I live in Maryland, and received a request to vacate a property I rent. I have vacated the property but have left some belongings there, and have not turned the key over to the landlords. I received a notice to appear in court, the date of which has not come. I went to the property to get my belongings and found the landlord had changed the locks. Can they do this before the court hearing?
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
    Uber Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 04:02 AM
    Legally they cannot do that. Cut your losses. Return the keys to them personally, let them know you need your stuff (they must by law let you) and have them sign for receipt of the key... then show up in court on the court date and make sure that it's dropped appropriately - and tell the judge/magistrate what they did. You might be able to get the court to expunge the filing of the eviction altogether.
    Cvillecpm's Avatar
    Cvillecpm Posts: 553, Reputation: 28
    Senior Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 06:56 AM
    Actually YES they can... if you vacated the property and no longer RESIDE there - you ABANDONED the property and the landlord can post the property as ABANDONED wait the required time and then RETAKE possession of the property by changing the locks... you ABANDONED the property and they took the proper steps to secure the property.

    You should have REMOVED all of your items rather than leaving some at the property AND you should have had a forwarding order with the USPS so that the landlord's notice of abandonment was forwarded directly to you so that you would know what is going on...

    You need to appear in court on the appropriate day and indicate that "possession" of the property is no longer an issue since the landlord now has possession.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Jan 16, 2007, 07:05 AM
    Cvillecpm is correct if and when it is apparent you have vacated the property, they are allowed to take possession of it. Normally my renters often "move" out in the middle of the night, when they do, as soon as it is obvious they are gone, ( turn electric or gas off is big sign) then I can take possession of the property.

    There are rules on giving your property back, in general you will have to appear in court for the judge to give a time for it.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Jan 16, 2007, 07:11 AM
    What was the notice to appear in court about. It sounds like this wasn't a "request" to vacate, but the start of an eviction. I would also suspect the court summons is to sue you for back rent.

    If the date by which you were "requested" to vacate has passed then the landlord is entitled to change the locks. Especially if it appears that you took most of your stuff.

    Approach the landlord and make an appt to get the rest of your stuff. Otherwise you will have to wait for the court date to see if the judge will help. Of course, if you owe the landlord money, that won't help your case.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
    Uber Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 07:23 AM
    In my state if there are any personal belongings in the apartment, it CANNOT legally be considered abandoned.
    Cvillecpm's Avatar
    Cvillecpm Posts: 553, Reputation: 28
    Senior Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 07:27 AM
    OP would have to PROVE he did NOT abandon the property rather than the LANDLORD PROVE he did.
    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
    Uber Member

    Jan 16, 2007, 07:30 AM
    Agreed: a landlord can break the law and get away with it if the resident cannot prove that he left personal belongings in the apartment.

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