Landlord Took Personal Property-Texas
Imagine coming home and finding your baby, a beautiful 60" Samsung LED TV, missing. Horrified, you pick up the phone to call the police to inform them of the burglary. Then you spot a piece of paper taped to the inside of your door.
It's true, the Texas rental agreement allows your landlord to enter your apartment for the purpose of removing items of value from your apartment. These items can be confiscated in an effort to get you to pay past due rental balances. Most landlords and property managers rarely go this route but under certain circumstances they might feel it necessary.
Some of your belongings are protected from seizure, however. They may not take certain furniture such as your bed, sofa, and dining room table and chairs. Your dishes and other kitchen necessities are also off limits. Your clothes, personal care products, medicine, and other medical equipment are also unable to be taken.
What they can take are items deemed unnecessary to live like TV's, stereos, gaming systems, computers (unless they are required for work,) and home decor. Under most circumstances these items will be stored and the renter is required to pay the associated storage fees. In extreme cases these items may be sold for a nominal fee, and the money applied to the bill you owe. The landlord is not required to get fair market value for your things but they are required to deliver to you, by way of check, any amount made from the sale of your belongings over the amount of debt owed.
In order for your landlord to sell your items either after writ of possession or exercising their contractual lien, they must notify you both by certified and regular mail. The sale of property must be no sooner than 30 days from the date of mailing, and they must provide you with the time and address of the sale. They must also provide you with contact information for the person responsible for the sale.
Regardless of the debts you owe, they may only require you to pay past due rental balances and the feels associated with packing and storing your belongings to get your personal effects back. They may not require that you pay your entire balance including late fees, damages, and utilities prior to returning your things. Failure of a landlord or property manager to follow the proper procedure for contractual lein which results in the loss or sale of your personal belongings will almost always give you cause to file suit against them and receive financial compensation.
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