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Shyloh

Personal Property Sold From "Friends" Storage Shed

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My husband and I stored most of our belongings in our friends storage shed approx 2yrs ago. The agreement was if we cleaned it out and repaired the broken door and holes in the roof (which we did) we could use it for as long as needed. We initially had a lock on the shed which had 2 keys, 1 for us & 1 for them, until about 2 months after we stored there we returned to get some stuff out and noticed items were missing. So we confronted them and they said the shed had been broken into (which obviously was a lie due to what was taken and no visible damage). So we bought a Medco lock to replace the original. We visited often and for the past year & 8 months everything has been fine (not 1 word mentioned about us storing our stuff). Then this past week we are driving by after seeing a yard sale sign posted and when we pulled up we see many of our belongings in the yard sale!! They refused to come outside and talk to us so we got the items out of the yard immediately and arranged for a uhaul and storage unit that same day to move what we had left. What can I do about the items that they sold or stole from us? The local PD said this is a civil issue and I have an itemized list used for my renters insurance so I am certain of all that's missing. 

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Will your renter’s insurance cover the loss?  Did you have a written agreement with your friends that memorialized the terms of your agreement?  You could file suit against them in small claims court. When it comes to a he said-she said matter, it will probably boil down to which party is more credible. You should be aware that even if you prevail, you will not recover what you believe the items are worth because of—among other things—depreciation. 

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We unfortunately do not have a written agreement but we do have a witness...will that help? And we no longer have renters insurance since we technically weren't renting anywhere. I understand depreciation but I've read that there's a possibility of seeking punitive damages as well?? Honestly many items were sentimental and irreplaceable like a cedar chest full of items my deceased mother kept since I was born like her wedding dress & mine, my grandfather's flag from his military funeral, a China cabinet with the dishes my great grandparents got for a wedding present etc. These items being taken have caused me a great deal of emotional stress, anger and sadness & I feel that they should be held accountable for that!!

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Unfortunately, Virginia does not allow the award of damages for sentimental value or emotional distress arising out of damage or loss of personal property. Kondaurov v. Kerdasha, 629 S.E.2d 181 (2006) 

 

I might mention that, having recently gone through the process of downsizing and purging, I discovered the value of cedar chests*, china cabinets, china, knick-knacks, etc, is practically nil.  

 

 

*In fact, it is illegal to sell antique Lane hope chests because of the danger of children locking themselves in and suffocating.

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So basically everything I've wprked my whole life for, my parents and grandparents worked hard for and left to me can just be taken and sold like that and the most ill see as far as compensation is not even worth mentioning? How is that right legally??

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1 hour ago, Shyloh said:

So basically everything I've wprked my whole life for, my parents and grandparents worked hard for and left to me can just be taken and sold like that and the most ill see as far as compensation is not even worth mentioning? How is that right legally??

 

Nobody said it was right legally.  You have the right to seek relief in the appropriate civil court.  The police are not going to do your job for you.

 

Regarding the loss of the property you and your parents and your grandparents worked for all their life:  I suspect you will think this is harsh, but the reality is that the things they left probably have little or no current value.  Go to a yard sale or thrift store and you will find tons of dishes, silverware, fabrics, knick-knacks and other things someone thought was priceless and/or valuable sitting on shelves collecting dust.

 

In my family, some members built collections of Hummels and Royal Daltons and Lladros, believing they would supply income or value in the future.  But times have changed.  These things now sell for less than they cost originally.

 

I am getting old, mid seventies now, and I now realize that life is not about collecting things.  Life is about living life!

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In court you would be at best able to recover the replacement or sale value of the items. There is no way to put a $ value on sentiment or memories, so the law does not even try. It is a tough lesson to learn but a friend's shed is not a great place for irreplaceable items, especially if you had knowledge 2 years ago that items were not secure there. I'd also obviously be reconsidering my friendship with these people.

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Yes it does seem harsh, but not so much the value as that its ok for someone to just sell my belongings with no consequence. And isn't selling stolen goods a crime?? I am not following what you mean by "the police are not going to do your job for you"? I am just trying to understand when your allowed to sell other people's stuff and when its illegal, and what exactly I could have done differently to avoid this? Its apparent that a written agreement would have only mattered as far as proof they allowed us to store our stuff but ultimately I would still not be able to get anywhere near the price paid for the items but this yard sale price my "junk" is estimated to be worth. Sorry, its frustrating to hear that a 60yr old solid wood 5pc dinning set with marble top buffet and slate top sideboard, oriental rugs, leather couches, and my 1 year old wedding dress are found at any yard sale so considered worthless. And its not like I left the stuff and never went back, we visited there often and spoke with this couple on a weekly if not a more frequent basis. And yes we should have moved our belongings the first time, but once we changed the locks and talked to them about it we felt the matter was under control. Lesson learned, never store anything that matters, and if anyone leaves anything at my place feel free to just sell it...right?

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10 hours ago, Shyloh said:

Yes it does seem harsh, but not so much the value as that its ok for someone to just sell my belongings with no consequence.

 

Nobody said it was OK and nobody said there was no consequence. It's already been mentioned that you can sue for the used value of the items. That's the consequence.

 

10 hours ago, Shyloh said:

And isn't selling stolen goods a crime??

 

They didn't steal anything. You left your stuff on their property. At worst it is breach of a bailment agreement which is a civil matter and not a criminal matter.

 

10 hours ago, Shyloh said:

what exactly I could have done differently to avoid this?

 

You could have, and should have,  rented your own storage unit when some of the items originally turned up missing and you knew they were lying. But, no, you had to continue leaving stuff there. That's kind of on you.

 

10 hours ago, Shyloh said:

and if anyone leaves anything at my place feel free to just sell it...right?

 

Sure. Two wrongs make a right. Right? Live by that rule why don't you.

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