If my roommate moved out and left some of her stuff, legally what can I do with it?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2011

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If my roommate moved out and left some of her stuff, legally what can I do with it?

My roommate wrote a letter to the apartment management company stating that she would be moving out and signed her share of the deposit over. She moved most of her things out and turned in her keys. She left some large items behind and I need them out soon so I can set up a home office to work from home. I have attempted calling her but she’s changed her number, I’ve emailed with no response and I have gone through a mutual friend to get a message to her. How long should I wait before I throw out/sell her stuff?

Asked on February 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the roommate was not renting from you--i.e. you were not her "landlord"--but rather you were both tenants, this is an issue for your landlord. Tell the landlord that the roommate left property behind and you want it out; the landlord needs to store it for a certain amount of time, but then can dispose of it. When you contact the landlord, copy the roommate and copy her some way you can prove delivery (e.g. email; cert. mail, return receipt requested--preferably, send it more than one way). In the letter state that you will not pay to store (which is what you're doing; your rent is storing her property) the former roommate's belongings and the landlord must remove them. Under the law, it's the landlord, not other roommates, who has the resposibility to deal with property left behind.

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