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robert collins

Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? MD
My brother rented a house and let me store my piano in his/its basement. Upon his leaving the rental property and squaring up with the landlord (deposit, any penalties, etc.) the landlord told me I couldn't have my piano back. He said he would call the police if I come to the property or file trespassing clharges if I entered the property; I didn't. He said he still had rental and financial issues with my brother, however the landlord did obligate the termination of my brother's lease. He said until he is completely square with my brother, financially, he was going to withhold my piano. It has now been more than a year since he has withheld my piano. I waited this long because my brother asked me not to create a problem for him with his ex-landlord. Also, I am hoping there is some sort of statute of limitations as to how long the landlord can hold some greivance with my brother, if indeed there is any at all.
Is this legal, especially since it was not me that was renting the property? Can he, effectively, hold my piano for "ransom" until he is satisfied with any arrangements between himself and my brother more than a year later?
Finally, I can produce the person I bought the piano from, if there is any issue with proof of ownership.


Frankly, the landlord has NO obligation to you. If the tenant, your brother, left items in the house, it is between the tenant and the landlord, not you. The landlord can dispose of any property left in any manner allowed by law. If he profits from it, he does have to apply that amount to the tenant's balance, if any.


Senior Member
While it is true that the LL is obligated only to tenant, the issue of abandoned property can create a problem regarding the piano. Property left for prolonged periods (usually more than 30 days) can be legally sold or discarded by LL property owner. Legal action is required in order to reclaim the piano, if LL is not agreeable to restore possession. Depending on the value that claim needs to be filed in small claims or civil court.

robert collins

Junior Member
Thank you for your time and responses. I somehow thought, however, that I might have a creditable legal grievance since my brother's landlord prohibited me from retrieving my piano with threats, and also by connecting my piano to the landlord's and my brother's interaction(s) and financial situation. The reasoning and actions by the landlord seemed displaced and wrong (illegal).


Senior Member
The focus should remain on the abandoned property (piano) and rightful ownership, and the legal remedies to recover the property. As far as LL is concerned, the property belongs to the tenant occupant who had possession of the premises, not a third party. Attention towards the LL’s behavior and actions will not assist in recovery of property.

AGAIN… depending on the property value, legal action in either small claims or civil court is required by the property (piano) owner.
The statute of limitation would only be applicable to abandoned property not the LL/tenant issues.

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