If I had a roommate move out and leave her belongings what do I do?

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If I had a roommate move out and leave her belongings what do I do?

I work 10-14 hour days, leave early in the morning and get home late at 10 pm. I gave her a time and date best for me due to my work schedule. I told her that and she’s threatening to call the cops. Also, before she gets her things I want her to pay for the damages like the broken door and blinds because she is not on the lease with me so I’m going to be held responsible for it. So I’m holding her things can I do this?

Asked on June 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You may *not* hold her belongings as collateral for any debts you believe she owes you, unless and only to the extent that there was an agreement that her property is collateral for her obligations. Without such an agreement (and you'd need to be able to prove it in court, if push came to shove), you have no right to hold her belongings.

2) You can set a reasonable time for her to pick up her belongings, and if the proposed time is reasonable, she has to abide by it. However, requiring someone to come by at 10 pm (or later) is likely not reasonable. You may need to give her some alternatives--take off time from work; let her pick them up on a weekend; give a neighbor or friend or the super a key to let her in; etc.

3) If she damaged property for which you are legally and financially responsible, you would have grounds to sue her for compensation, including likely in small claims court (to keep your costs down).


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