I live in a condo with a few other families. We share the basement area. Recently, the newest family moved my belongings to another part of the basement, without speaking to me about it, and I am very upset. Does Jewish law permit my neighbor to move my things without my knowledge and agreement? What do you suggest I do?
According to the laws of neighbors, if all neighbors share equally in the basement, no one owner/tenant has any more rights to the communal basement than anyone else. It would require a meeting of all the families to delineate exactly which part of the basement belongs to which family. However, unless the basement has been apportioned in a completely disproportionate fashion, I think that it is forbidden for one of the families to move the possessions of another without permission because of the mitzvah of “love your neighbor”. I do not think that that means that you should now go and move your belongings to their original location. I think that you should approach the person who moved your things and tell him very respectfully that you were a little taken aback by the fact that he moved them without asking your permission and would he mind very much letting you restoring them to their original place. You might want to ask him if you can help him find a place for his things in the basement as I would hope that such an offer would foster good neighborly relations, which is almost always a good thing to do!