What can I do if my roomate, who is not on the lease, decided to leave giving us only 2 days notice and she owes $600 in rent and utilities?

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What can I do if my roomate, who is not on the lease, decided to leave giving us only 2 days notice and she owes $600 in rent and utilities?

I already had her sign written documents saying what she owes and the date we need it by. Can I change the locks so she can’t get in to take her stuff?

Asked on September 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you may NOT change the locks or otherwise keep your roommate from getting her belongings: doing so is potentially a crime, since you have no right to her belongings (i.e, depending on the exact circumstances, it could be a form of theft). What you can do is to sue her, including in small claims court (where filing fees are low, you can act as your own attorney, and cases move fairly quickly) to recover the money.


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