Areas of Law / Landlord and Tenant Law

About a year ago a tenant left my home owing a large sum on his telephone bill. He also left some property, including a violin. Can I sell it to set against the money he owes?

The danger with selling other people’s property is that they could turn up again claiming it was worth a fortune. Your tenant could come back for his Stradivarius at any moment! You have no legal right to dispose of someone else’s property, and ideally you would get a court order if you wanted to sell it. But the practical approach would be to sell any goods of minor value and keep the receipt. A landlord has only very limited rights to hold on to tenants’ property; if your tenant reappeared you would be obliged to return his effects if you still had them.

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