If your landlord has taken your personal property, call law enforcement (the police). Tell the officer that you want to file a police report. Ask for a copy of the police report.
If your landlord entered your home to take your personal property, your landlord may have committed trespass or burglary, which are criminal acts. Entry without permission and without right under Vermont’s access statute may be “unlawful trespass,” a violation of criminal statute 13 V.S.A. § 3705(d). A person is guilty of burglary if they enter any building or structure knowing they are not licensed or privileged to do so, with the intent to commit a grand or petit larceny. 13 V.S.A. § 1201. Grand larceny is theft of money or personal property valued at more than $900. 13 V.S.A. § 2501. Petit larceny is theft of money or personal property valued at less than $900. 13 V.S.A. § 2502.
Even if your landlord only takes away your personal property temporarily, it is still a crime. Under 13 V.S.A. § 3833, “[a] person who, without the consent of the owner, takes and carries away or causes to be taken and carried away any tangible personal property with the intent of depriving the owner temporarily of the lawful possession of his or her property shall be fined not more than $100.00.”
Your landlord may decide to return your personal property after you contact law enforcement. Law enforcement may decide to refer your report for prosecution. Even if your landlord is not prosecuted, you may have a legal reason to sue your landlord. Go on to Step 3.
If your landlord deprived you of access to your personal property, tell law enforcement about the situation and how you intend to regain access to your property. For instance, if your personal property is in a shed and the landlord has padlocked the shed, tell law enforcement that you have current possessory interest in the shed by the terms of your rental agreement, that your landlord has padlocked the shed without your permission, and that you are going to regain access by cutting the padlock. Once you have regained access to the shed, send written notice to your landlord of what you did and that you notified the police prior to doing so.