I want to retrieve my personal belongings tomorrow am. with the assistance of the local sheriff. Can I do this? I'm willing to give her the $50 or prorated 4 days of the $90. Can I do this?
If there was a written lease agreement in place, then the terms of this agreement would control. While verbal agreements are enforceable in California, they're much harder to prove. Typically, the Sheriffs won't get involved unless it is the result of a judgment or writ. I recommend contacting a local real estate attorney who can better review your situation and advise as to your rights.
Assuming the facts you set forth, you have the right to retrieve your personal belongings. If the owner has not given you a notice of abandonment, and that notice has not expired, she has no right to use self help. The Sheriff may or may not want to help you. However, the best thing to do is to write to this landlord and explain that you are claiming your possessions. If she refuses, she will be liable under a theory of "conversion." Nor can she lock you out. That is "forcible detainer" and you can sue her under a five day summons in the same jurisdiction as a landlord sues for Unlawful Detainer. Again, for the money at issue, a letter and a calm conversation should be sufficient. If that does not work, you should go to legal aid and see if they can help you.
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