What am I supposed to do if a lodger who has moved out doesn’t pick up their things and/or paytheir back rent?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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What am I supposed to do if a lodger who has moved out doesn’t pick up their things and/or paytheir back rent?

My husband and I own our house and we have had a roommate renting a room from us for close to 3 years. We had a signed contract that agreed to 1 month notice of moving out. Our lodger hasn’t paid rent for last month and then only gave 2 weeks notice of moving out. The lodger moved out most of her things within a few days and hasn’t been back to get the rest. She said she would have everything emptied today, so I am still waiting. We have told her we are changing our locks tomorrow.

Asked on August 2, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Read the written agreement you have with the lodger for the room in your home that was occupied. Its terms and conditions typically control the obligations between the landord and the tenantm(lodger) to each other unless it conflicts with your state's laws on the subject.

If the agreement required 30 days written notice to move and only two week's notice was given, then the lodger owes you rent for two weeks of the month partially occupied and the rent for the prior month that is unpaid.

As to the left behind articles, most states require written notice to the former tenant (lodger) to oick up the items within a certain period of time. If not, depending upon the estimated value of the left behind items, the landlord can discard them as he or she deems fit or auction them off.

Rather doing auctioning the abandoned items, you might consider giving the former lodger notice that the items are being taken to off site storage and placed in her name at a stated location. If she does not pay the monthly rental, the off site storage company will auction off the items to pay the unpaid bill.

If the former lodger refuses to pay past rent, your option is to sue her in small claims court.



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