If a roommate has not paid rent in the past 30 days and has still not gotten their things, are they technically mine?

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If a roommate has not paid rent in the past 30 days and has still not gotten their things, are they technically mine?

My roommate has not been in the apartment all summer but is still on the lease until tomorrow. She hasn’t paid rent in a month. If she does not get her things are they technically mine now?

Asked on July 31, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not technically yours. They are actually never yours and please do NOT do anything with them.  Is your roommate also on the lease or are you subletting her a room in your apartment?  If she is on the lease then you have no rights as against her only over and against her.  Let me explain.  If the landlord sues you and she for the past due rent you have a right to sue her in a third party action.  If you paid the whole rent you then have a direct action against her.  But if you do anything with or to her things then you could be sued for conversion.  Good luck.

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not technically yours. They are actually never yours and please do NOT do anything with them.  Is your roommate also on the lease or are you subletting her a room in your apartment?  If she is on the lease then you have no rights as against her only over and against her.  Let me explain.  If the landlord sues you and she for the past due rent you have a right to sue her in a third party action.  If you paid the whole rent you then have a direct action against her.  But if you do anything with or to her things then you could be sued for conversion.  Good luck.


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