Failing to return a leased sofa could get you charged with a crime

We see these commercials on television all the time.  Many places offer to allow you to rent ordinary house hold items for a monthly fee.  Some of these items include bed room sets, washer driers, televisions and computers.  However, renter beware, if your lease runs out don’t sell the product or try to keep the item.  If the items are not returned at the end of the lease, the rental agency can bring a civil suit and apply for criminal charges. 

 Essentially, a person that doesn’t returned lease property can be charged under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 87; larceny of leased or rental property.  Under Massachusetts law one of the ways a person can be charged is if the person fails to returned lease property within 10 days after the expiration of the lease or rental agreement. 

 The potential penalties for being convicted are up to a $1,000 fine and imprisonment for up to one year.  Also, a person who is convicted must pay restitution for any financial loss in addition to any jail time or court fine.  Under the law, even if a person serves a year in jail, the person is still responsible to pay any restitution to the rental company. 

In economic times like these many people are losing their jobs and ability to pay for things around the house.  It is very important that you return the items that you have leased from a company.  Many rental companies preferring applying for criminal charges in lieu of bringing civil complaints because these companies don’t want to spend the money on civil cases.  So in case you wanted to sell your leased property, just remember you can spend up to a year in jail. 

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For More information:

Massachusetts General Laws CHAPTER 266. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY 

Telegram and Gazette reporting on people being charged for larceny of leased or rental property

For more information: visit or contact me at 508-808-8902

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