Legally what canI do to get rid of my ex-roommate’s furniture?

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Legally what canI do to get rid of my ex-roommate’s furniture?

I am the only signer on my lease; everything is in my name. My roommate moved in for 3 1/2 weeks and then moved out without letting me know. She took only her clothes and left all of her furniture and her dog. Legally what can I do? She hasn’t paid me anything for living with me and I told her that she had to pay $200 to get her stuff back. Is there any possibilty I can get in trouble with the law for that? Also, when is it OK for me to throw her stuff out?

Asked on August 11, 2011 Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of most states, if a roommate or tenant "abandons" property, the landlord is required to send written notice to the owner at that person's last known address advsing that the left behind items need to be picked up by a certain date with a statement as to where they are located, and if not, they will be considered abandoned.

If the items are not picked up by that date, the landlord, or you have the following options:

1. if the items left behind are worth less than $300 or so in your opinion, they can be discarded, sold or given to charity;

2. if worth more than $300, they need to be auctioned off with notice to the owner.

The best way to get rid of the items after proper notice has been sent to the former roommate by you where you keep a copy of the notice for future reference is to have the belongings placed in an offsite storage facility under her name. Give written notice to the former roommate of where the items are and the need for her to pay the storage fees.

If she fails to do so, the storage company will auction off the contents to pay unpaid storage fees. This results in less work for you.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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