May a landlord take a tenant’s property to cover delinquent rent? In this post we introduced the concept of landlord liens. One is the residential landlord’s lien.
“A landlord of a single or multifamily residence has a lien for unpaid rent that is due. The lien attaches to nonexempt property that is in the residence or that the tenant has stored in a storage room.” However, the lien does not attach to fifteen categories of property including clothes, tools of a trade/profession, family pictures, food, and medicines, among other things.
“The landlord or the landlord’s agent may not seize exempt property and may seize nonexempt property only if it is authorized by a written lease and can be accomplished without a breach of the peace.” Upon seizing the property, the landlord must leave a particular type of notice in a conspicuous place inside the dwelling.
The landlord may not sell the property unless doing so is specifically authorized by the lease. Once again, advance notice to the tenant is required before the sale.
“The tenant may redeem the property at any time before the property is sold by paying to the landlord or the landlord’s agent all delinquent rents and, if authorized in the written lease, all reasonable packing, moving, storage, and sale costs.”
A landlord who fails to comply with applicable law may have to pay money damages to the tenant and the tenant’s legal fees.
In our Law 101 posts, we define terms, phrases, or concepts with the goal of conveying core information in order to set the stage for more complex discussions.