What rights do I have to a specifice bedroom in my rental?

My roommate and I share a 2 bedroom apartment and have 2 separate leases. The leases state that we each share half of the apartment. Since she moved in 3 months ago, she has acted hostile and aggressive towards our living situation. I have decided to find a sublet for the remaining 7 months of my lease. My roommate told me that she would move into my bedroom (which is larger) and she told me that the lease doesn’t label which room goes to which person. I have been living in that room for a1 1/2 years and in the apartment total 2 1/2 years. She just moved in 3 months ago with the verbal agreement that the bedroom she’s living in is hers. If she moves my furniture out of my room is that trespassing? What protection do I have?

Asked on November 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the lease does not assign one bedroom to each person, then who has which bedroom depends on any oral (verbal) agreements between the two roommates. However, while an oral agreement is enforceable, it can be very difficult to prove what it was, if the two parties disagree--for example, say that you say that that the agreement was you each have the bedrooms you have, while she says it was that the roommate who's there longer gets the larger one, which would mean that if you sublet, the subtenant, who would be the most recent roommate, gets the smallest bedroom. Either interpretaton is consistent with the facts and plausible.

At the end of the day, if you and she cannot agree and resolve this amicably, your only recourse would be to go to court and try to prove that your interpretation is the correct one, which the two of you had agreed to. That is not likely to be worthwhile.

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