Can a Landlord Sue me for Rent after He Locked me Out and Sold my Things
In today’s episode, we discuss the question of whether a landlord can sue his ex-tenant after locking them out of the property and selling the tenants things. We also look at what rights the tenant has regarding the law.
I am a business owner that has been sued by my former landlord of my shop. When I moved into the property six years ago, we signed a lease agreement that was to last for three years or until either of us gave a two-month termination notice. However, business became tough since 2018 and I started falling behind in rental payments. In 2019 we agreed that I would do some work for the landlord for and I completed the work and invoiced them. The landlord, however, never paid but kept demanding rental arrears. Eventually in 2020 when COVID pandemic started, I could not continue paying rent for the property.
In mid-April, I wrote a notice telling them I was terminating the lease from 1st of April 2020 and moved out some of my things. I asked them to meet me at the end of the month to do the handover. The landlord however wrote back and refused to accept my notice. Instead, he wrote to the property manager and instructed them not to allow me to remove any items from the office. In fact, I visited the office a few weeks later to remove a few things I needed for a business presentation, and the security completely refused to let me remove them.
On August 25, the landlord through the lawyer told me that we meet at the office to do a handover but since they refused to let me leave with my things, I declined. I, however, came to learn that on August 14, the landlord had already instructed auctioneers to sell my things which the auctioneers claim they did by public auction on October 3 although I never got any notice or indication. They also sold the items for a very low value compared to their actual value. The landlord is now suing me for the unpaid rent arrears plus 7% interest per month, which is based on a term in the expired lease agreement that said they could charge this interest. However, this interest has never been demanded in the past. The total amount is coming to 350k, although the actual arrears were about 150k.
However, the landlord owes me 100k for the work I did for them, which has never been paid. In addition, I need to be compensated for all the things the auctioneer sold because they refused me to remove them.
I don’t believe I owe any money, in fact, I feel I am owed because I lost so much business when I couldn’t get my things. What can I do?
Research by Barasa Wanjala (firstname.lastname@example.org)