What to do if your roommate moves out but does not take all of their belongings?

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What to do if your roommate moves out but does not take all of their belongings?

My roommate was not on the lease, but he lived in the house for 6 months and paid rent for 8 months. After an argument, he moved almost all of his belongings out of the house and stopped paying rent. Even though he was not on the lease, we were at a mutual agreement that he was going to live there for a year. What can I do with the stuff he left behind? I have tried to contact him 5 times, 3 times in writing, to find out when he is getting his stuff but he will not respond. Can I sell it to help cover his rent, or throw it out to make room in the house?

Asked on May 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok, well, there are a whole lot of issues going on here that need to be addressed her.  First, the fact that you sublet the room may be in violation of the lease agreement and local laws.  Sometimes when you seem to be renting out rooms without the parties being on the actual lease agreement you violate local laws dealing with rooming houses.  I know; but they can be enforced.  Do you have a valid sublet agreement?  Is it in writing?  If it is not in writing it may violate the statute of frauds, which is a law that states that certain agreement s have to be in writing to be valid.  Now, if he paid for 8 months and left after 6 but left his stuff, do you know if he had an intention to abandon?  Has it been 8 months yet? I would not touch his stuff unless you have a court order "evicting" him and allowing you to remove it.  That would be "conversion" under the law. I think you should speak with someone. Good luck.


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