If my roommate is leaving without paying rent, can we keep her belongings as collateral until we are paid?

I live in a 3 bedroom townhouse with 2 other roommates; 1 of my roommates told us she signed the lease with the rental office but it turns out she didn’t. She is now stating she will be moving out in a month, which is 2 months before our lease is up. She will not be paying. Since her belongings and mail are sent to our address, is it legal for me to change the locks and not return her belongings until the rent is paid?

Asked on March 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


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