Can I be evicted after roommate/ex-boyfriend commits suicide? Home is owned by his mother.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be evicted after roommate/ex-boyfriend commits suicide? Home is owned by his mother.

I moved in my ex’s home about 3 months ago. We never had an agreement on rent or anything. He was just helping me out after a divorce. Unknown to me, he had told his mom that we were trying to work things out. In reality, that was never going to happen and I expressed that adamantly sometimes on a daily basis. About 2 weeks ago, he began drinking liquor and he started getting belligerent. I decided to leave the home for the night to let him cool down and went to play pool at a local pool hall with friends. While I was gone, he shot and killed himself. Now his family blames me for his death and will not let me have my belongings from the home. They have padlocked the door and threatened to kill me if I attempted to retrieve my things. She is also now attempting to sue me for back rent. We never even spoke while I was living there and there was no such agreement made between her and I. Can she legally do that if I was a guest of her son? I have contacted the county police and they will not help at all. They say it is up to his mom to allow me to get my things. She says I may get my clothes and feminine products but nothing else. I own my own business and everything I have for it is in my desk. I also had some misc. things that I brought when I moved in as well. She says if I want any of that stuff I will have to take her to court. Is this legal or is it a unlawful eviction? I don’t want to stay there. I am happy to leave and never speak to them again, however I want my things. My children’s pictures and everything I own to my name is in that house. I am afraid that they will either go through everything and pick out what they want or throw it all away or possibly both. What can I do? The police isnt helping at all. I don’t know what to do.

Asked on August 24, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They have the right to remove you, since (unless he willed the house to you), the house will be going to them: e.g. they will inherit and/or are executing/administrating his estate and therefore have the right to his home. You, on the other hand, have no right to be there anymore; they could tell you that you must leave and if they do, you must. In short, it's not  your house, even if you lived there; and now that the person who let you live there has passed, you have no rights to occupy it.
However, she cannot take *any* of your belongings or deny you access to them--if she does, that is theft. You can file a legal action against her requiring her to let you have and remove ALL your belongings; this can be done on an "emergent," or "urgent," basis to get into court within a few days or week or so and get a court order requiring her to let you have your possessions. If she does not, she will be liable for the value of anything she damaged, destroyed, discarded, gave away, etc. You can get instructions on doing this from the county clerk's office.
She cannot charge you rent after the fact, if there was no agreement at the time that you would pay it--i.e. if you boyfriend had let you stay there for free, she cannot retroactively make you pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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