What can I do if my roommate locked me out and would not allow me to retrieve my things?

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What can I do if my roommate locked me out and would not allow me to retrieve my things?

Last month, I briefly lived with someone, on a verbal agreement and no set rent amount. I was not on the lease, but the landlord was aware and I was given a key to occupy the premises along with my own room. I was also asked to do work there, which consisted of door repair, kitchen painting and patching of holes. During the time spent there I paid $90. At the end of last month, I left for the weekend and upon returning to retrieve my things, I was locked out of the house. Since then, she has not returned messages, and I have been inconvenienced. What are my options?

Asked on August 8, 2011 California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you describe, you are a guest of the unit you were living in as opposed to a sub-tenant of the host because: 1. you are not named on the master lease with the landlord, 2. you have a verbal agreement with your roommate to stay, 3. there is no set rent, 4. you have paid $90.00 to live there and have done some miscellaneous repairs, 5. the landlord knew you were living there.

Since the landlord knows that you were living in the unit. Your roommate's locking you out of the place suggests that your continued presence as a "guest" is over. This seems allowable.

You need to retrieve your belongings and move on. I would ask the landlord to open up the unit so you can retrieve your belongings and move out. If the landlord refuses you entry, you need to ask the former host for access so you can pick up your belongings and move out. Hopefully she will allow this.

If she refuses, your option is to file an action in the superior court for an order that you be allowed to retrieve your belongings from her and move out.

Good luck.


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