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Evicted Tenant's Property Not Responsibility of Landlord
Description Landlord had delinquent tenant evicted from apartment. Sheriff placed personal effects out in front of apartment, where they were stolen and vandalized. Court held that landlord had no bailment of that property or other duty to tenant once court ordered eviction.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Bailment, Eviction, Landlord
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Khan, a student at the University of Iowa, rented an apartment but failed to pay rent. Landlord served him with a notice to quit. When Khan failed to vacate, landlord filed a forcible entry and detainer action. Khan did not appear and was held to be in default. Court ordered landlord be put in possession. Sheriff appeared at the apartment to execute the writ of possession. Since Khan was out of town, the sheriff put his property outside in front of the apartment. When Khan returned, his stuff had been stolen or vandalized. Khan sued the landlord for negligence for allowing his property to be damaged or stolen. District court dismissed. Khan appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The landlord had the right to remove the personal property left by a tenant who abandoned the property. Under the statute that allows forcible entry and detainer, the landlord properly regained possession of the premises when the sheriff executed the writ. The landlord followed the requirements of the Iowa statute. A judicial officer carried out the eviction order of the court. At that point, any duty the landlord had toward the tenant ended. No bailment over the personal property of the tenant was created. There was no duty to store or care for the tenant's personal property once removed by the sheriff.
Citation Khan v. Heritage Property Management, ---N.W.2d--- (1998 WL 690122, Ct. App., Iowa)
584 N.W.2d 725 (Ct. App., Iowa, 1998)

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