Across the country, millions of people have moved in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Whether by choice or necessity, moves have been speedy. How can property left behind in haste now be reclaimed?
On The Move
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center:
Millions of Americans relocated this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak, moving out of college dorms that abruptly closed, communities they perceive as unsafe or housing they can no longer afford. Overall, around one-in-five US adults (22%) say they either changed their residence due to the pandemic or know someone who did….
Reasons for moving include saving money, gaining space and desire to be with family or friends. It’s become common to see neighbors cramming their belongings into the car, or a moving van pull up. In some cases, people have left in a hurry—relying on friends or a professional service to return and pack up.
Reclaiming Valued Possessions
What happened to the beloved rug—a wedding gift from a relation— forgotten in the rush? The recently purchased air conditioner—can the landlord really keep it? Who got the expensive mountain bike left behind in the storage room? Maybe a return of the exercise equipment would make life better?
A practical first step in reclaiming your property is asking for it! Try this approach suggested by Southeastern Ohio Legal Services:
If someone has kept your property, you should send him or her a letter asking the property to be returned to you. Give the person a specific date as a deadline to return the property. Keep a copy of the letter you send. If the person does not return the property, you can file a replevin action.
Understanding Replevin—and Replevin Bonds
If you believe someone is keeping property that belongs to you—and you want the property returned—replevin may be a useful legal action. Replevin engages a court in determining the rightful owner of the property. When using replevin, generally, you will be required to post a replevin bond. Doing so enables you to possess the property until the court case is resolved. A replevin bond is a type of surety bond. You can obtain a replevin bond easily and instantly from Colonial Surety Company.
It is important to understand that replevin action is used for the return of actual property—not financial restitution. FindLaw offers this overview of replevin and replevin bonds:
Replevin, also known as “claim and delivery,” is an action to recover personal property that was wrongfully taken or detained. Unlike other forms of legal recovery, replevin seeks the return of the actual thing itself, as opposed to money damages (the more commonly sought after remedy).
Most states allow a person to recover the personal property before a judgment is rendered by the court by first filing a cash deposit or bond with the court to ensure the return of the property to the party in the event he loses.
Obtaining A Replevin Bond
When a court requires a replevin bond, it is important to obtain it quickly. Doing so allows “the plaintiff” (you), to possess the property in question while the case is being resolved. The court will set the amount of the bond based on the value of the property being disputed. Be aware that if the other party (“the defendant”) wins the case, you will need to return the property. If you do not, the defendant can file a claim against your bond.
Colonial Surety Company makes obtaining a replevin bond quick and easy. Licensed in all 50 states and US Territories, our innovative online and direct process means you can print your court-required bond instantly.