Can I legally remove or sell my roommate’s remaining belongings since she left?

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Can I legally remove or sell my roommate’s remaining belongings since she left?

My roommate’s name is not on the lease, but she has been living here for almost 2 months, and she hasn’t paid me any rent, yet. I had asked her to leave last month when I realized she wasn’t planning on helping with rent. Two weeks ago she just left, and hasn’t been back (except to grab some clothes while I wasn’t here) since. All of her things are still here and it is making it impossible for anybody else to move in. I cannot afford this apartment without the help of a roommate.

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I think you might want to start by asking the landlord to change the locks at your expense, since the person still has your key.

Beyond that, you should get a local attorney's advice based on all of the facts;  this subject is one that varies a fair amount from one state to another, and I don't practice in Texas.  One palce to find a lawyer in your area is our website, http://attorneypages.com

In some states, you would be able to put her belongings in a storage unit, pay the first month's rent, and then send her a certified letter telling her where the property is, and that after the month is up it's all her problem.


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