California Renter’s Insurance Claim denial Ryan Perry asked 1 year ago
California Renter’s Insurance Claim denial

Edit: I don’t know what happened to my property. I was told it would be sold at public auction and the proceeds would be put in my name with the County Treasurer within 30 days. It has been over 60 days and the County Treasurer hasn’t received anything. I have seen the apartment listed online with new pictures and my property has been removed, carried away somewhere unknown to me—————

I have a renter’s insurance policy with AAA which covers my personal property. $100,000 in property, $20,000 in loss of use, and $10,000 in building additions.

At the start of 2022 I applied for the Covid-19 rent relief grant. I was approved and my landlord received payment. Section 50897.1(2)(b) of the Health and Safety Code requires a full release of all claims of non payment, including unlawful detainer, upon acceptance of funding.

My property manager filed an unlawful detainer in April, claiming only rent due from April to avoid the Covid-19 recovery period legal protections. My property manager won the eviction and I was locked out on September 20th. I was given a Notice of Right to Reclaim my property before October 10th.

I made many attempts to gather my property, including going to the premises on Oct 6th and Oct 7th with the County Sheriffs (and filing police reports). Although the storage fees had been paid, I was refused access in violation of CIV § 1987 (a).

On October 12th I became aware my property manager had accepted payment for rent due from January – September, but had not released all claims of nonpayment in violation of 50897.1(2)(b) of the Health and Safety code.

I had requested access after Oct 10th and I was told I would not be given access. I was told my property would be sold at public auction instead. This is a violation of CIV § 1987(b).

I filed a claim with my renter’s insurance on Oct 12th for a complete loss due to theft. Very shortly after, on Oct 14th my claim was denied and the reason given was that it did not fit the policy’s definition of theft. This is the policy’s definition:

“Theft – means the unlawful taking and carrying away of property from another person with the intent to deprive the other person of that property. Theft includes attempted theft and loss of property from a known location when it is likely that the property has been stolen.”

Was this a proper decision, or do the violations of law described above make the taking and carrying away of my property to sell at auction an unlawful act?

1 Answers
Joel Gumbiner Joel Gumbiner Expert answered 1 year ago

Hi Ryan,

This question is difficult to answer without seeing the denial letter and the policy. Unfortunately you’re probably not covered for this loss. Nothing was “carried away” (part of the definition). Also, if the landlord had a legal right to the property, it wasn’t stolen. If the landlord did not have a legal right to the property, then you have an action against the landlord for conversion and should pursue it. Also, there are is usually an exclusion in the policy for property “entrusted to others” and this situation may fall under that exclusion since the property was put into the landlord’s property in the first place. From an insurance standpoint, it just doesn’t feel like a “theft” to me and I doubt anything could be done to change the insurer’s mind. Everyone knows where the property is and where it is going—just a matter of whether the landlord has a right to do what he/she is doing. Sorry not to have better news for you.