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Abandonment of Property Roomate

Discussion in 'Roomate & Joint Leases' started by Sheri456, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Sheri456

    Sheri456 Law Topic Starter Guest

    I signed a 1 year lease for an apartment with my boyfriend last January 2015. He has been coming and going since then. When he has a hissy fit, he leaves without notice, and doesn't pay his rent. Then he comes back about a few weeks later and ends up paying. I stupidly take him back. He left again a few days ago, and our lease is up in 2 weeks. We already gave our 30 day notice, and of course I plan on moving. What about his belongings? He has made no attempt to get his stuff. The landlord says that if I leave it in the apartment, we will both be responsible, and we will be charged a storage fee equivalent to our monthly rent of $2,600/month. If he leaves it there by the move-out date, is that considered abandonment of property. Do I have a right to take the stuff out of the house, since I will be responsible if I left it there? He is not communicating with me what so ever.
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Is he a signatory to the lease?

    If he is, you and he are jointly and severally liable for all damages owing to the landlord.

    That means he's a co-tenant.

    That means your landlord is the Bailee for his property (Explained below).

    If he's NOT on the lease, you're his Bailee (Explained below).

    If he isn't on YOUR lease, he's potentially a guest in that he seems to come and go.

    Either way, his property is the object of a bailment.

    Bailment describes a legal relationship in common law where physical possession of personal property, or a chattel, is transferred from one person (the 'bailor') to another person (the 'bailee') who subsequently has possession of the property.

    You could potentially be the bailee.
    Notwithstanding, he being a tenant of the landlord, or your guest he's someone's bailor.

    You or your landlord are the bailee.
    He's the bailor.

    What are you supposed to do with your roommate's abandoned property under California law?

    Unfortunately, as with most legal issues (and yes, this is a legal issue), there is no simple answer. Your proper course of action depends upon the specific facts involved, as cited hereinabove.

    What is determinative is if you are considered his landlord when the person abandoned the unit and his property.

    In California, a landlord MUST provide written notice to a tenant that has left property in the unit.

    The landlord is also required to give the former tenant a grace period of about 15 days to pick up the property.

    If the landlord fails to follow these requirements, the landlord could be liable for the loss.

    In the case of a roommate, you may or may not be considered your former roommate's landlord. If you are not the landlord, it may be best to contact your landlord and have the property owner deal with the situation.

    If you are the landlord, you may want to look into the specific rules and procedures for returning abandoned property in your California.

    If you're unsure about your responsibilities, or if the former roommate/former guest might sue you over the abandoned property, you may want to consult with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney to figure out your best move.

    Read these links:


    California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

    How to Get Back Possessions You Have Left in a Rental Unit: Legal Guide LT-4 - California Department of Consumer Affairs
    Sheri456 likes this.
  3. Sheri456

    Sheri456 New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Yes, he's on the lease. Which means that the landlord is the Bailee. I already spoke to the landlord who said that if any items are left over, regardless of whose they are, we will both be responsible. I don't want to have to pay $650/week for his belongings, especially not knowing if he's going to pick it up. It's a whole house full of furnishings. I have no way to get in touch with him because his wife, who he was separated from at the time, controls him, and won't allow him to contact me or have any communication with me. I think I will just clear out the place, and if he want's the stuff, he could pay the storage and moving fees.

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