Can I legally take possession and sell my deserting roommate’s possessions?

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2011

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Can I legally take possession and sell my deserting roommate’s possessions?

I’m on a lease with 3 people including myself; 1 of my room mates took some things and left 2 months ago and has not contacted us since after he discovered the rent was too expensive. Me and the remaining roommate and I are now stuck paying the full rent. He left some items in his room that could really help us out if we are allowed to sell them such as a bed and stereo.

Asked on June 8, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, no no.  Please do not touch his things. I know that it is very tempting and that you are really annoyed at the entire situation but you have no legal right to the items.  And if you do do something to them then he can come back and claim theft or conversion under the law (both criminal and civil offenses would apply here).I would make an effort to contact him as soon as you can.  I would also speak with an attorney that specializes in landlord tenant law and see if there is a way to have the landlord start an eviction proceeding against him so that he is of the lease and you can have the sheriff levy the property.  A lease with the two of you only would be your basis for the bargain.  Good luck.

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