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My landlord took custody of my personal property and has failed to return it.

New York, NY |

This occurred when I had to move suddenly. I was told that my property would be delivered when I got settled. They state the property was delivered. They have no documentation of any delivery. I have documents confirming that they took custody of the property and affidavits confirming that the property was not delivered. We are in settlement talks. The landlord states he should only have to pay the actual cash value (replacement - depreciation). I say that i should be given the replacement value, as, in order to remain whole, I need to replace all of my property. Which of us is right? When a landlord steals or loses a tenants property, are they liable for the replacement cost of that property, or just the actual cash value.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

The answer to this question is not cut and dry. The court would most likely award you the actual current value of the lost items if you can prove their value.

The above constitutes general information only and should not be considered legal advice.

Asker

Posted

So are there circumstances in which they would award the replacement value instead of the actual cash value?

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Posted

Possibly, but you would have to prove some special reason why you would be entitled to replacement value rather than current value, such as the landlord doing something especially egregious in not returning your belongings to you.

Asker

Posted

Like ignoring my inquiry about my belongings for 4 months, then lying about documentation that they had proving it was delivered?

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Bruno Patrick Bianchi

Posted

Possibly. It's up to your particular judge.

Posted

Sue. Perhaps the landlord has insurance coverage for this. If you win you get book value.

The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

Posted

This sounds like a case for the courts. Book value is the remedy

Asker

Posted

What's book value? Is it method of determining actual cash value? Or is it going to give me enough to actually buy and replace all my stuff in a reasonable time.

Posted

Dear New York Tenant:

if you know the actual location of the purloined personal property you may commence an action known as Replevin in the New York City Civil Court for the return of the property if valued at or under $25,000.00.

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325D or 325(d): a shorthand reference to "CPLR 325(d)," the New York statute which allows a court to transfer a matter to a lower court. Pursuant to CPLR 325(d), the Supreme Court may transfer claims to the Civil Court which appear to have a value of no more than $25,000, but which were brought in Supreme Court claiming a greater amount. Once transferred, however, a potential verdict is not limited to the $25,000 maximum of the Civil Court.

">>>replevin: an action brought for the owner of items to recover possession of those items when those items were wrongfully taken or are being wrongfully kept.>>>"

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/civil/definitions.shtml#replevin

Read more at:

http://www.courts.state.ny.us/courts/nyc/civil/general.shtml

In that form of lawsuit, you sue to recover the actual items taken from you instead of the messy litigation in establishing the damage suffered by the loss of the property.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.