What to do if an ex-girlfriend’s name still on a lease and her furniture is still in the apartment after2 years?

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What to do if an ex-girlfriend’s name still on a lease and her furniture is still in the apartment after2 years?

I’m moving into my fiance’s apartment this month since my lease is up and we are getting married in May. Problem: some of his ex-girlfriend’s things are still in the apartment and her name is still on the lease. She refuses to get her things out and remove her name from the lease. We’ve told her repeatedly to make arrangements to remove her things from the apartment. She knows I’m moving in. She still refuses, so we told her that her things are going to the Goodwill. Can we legally do that?

Asked on February 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In a word, NO--you can't send her things to good will. IF she was no longer on the lease and did not pick up her belongings after notice and a reasonable opportunity (usually 60 days), then you could treat her belongings as abandoned and do with them as you will.

However, if she's still on the lease, she still has a right to occupy the apartment. Having that right, she may leave her belongings there and is under no obligation to remove them. If you touch them, that would be theft of one kind or another (depending on what you do with them).

Question: *why* is she still on the lease after two years? Was it a multi-year lease that hasn't run out yet? Or if it was a one-year lease, that means it's been renewed one or more times since she allegedly moved out...you may wish to consider why that's been the case and what it means. Also note that since she's still on the lease, she could arguably move in with you...you may wish to sort this out before you move in.


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