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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6

    Exclamation Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    State: MI

    I had a roommate that gave 30 days notice (though verbally and not in writing as lease states) on December 17. I prorated his rent for January and he had utilities in arrearage as well as current utilities. By January 17 I had still not received rent. He changed his cell phone number and gave no forwarding address. My only way to contact him was through MySpace (obviously not legally permissible). He told me several times he would be by to pay monies owed, drop off keys, and get the remainder of his personal belongings. He has done none of the above. The personal belongings include a bed and a few bags worth of smaller items that I rounded up. He called demanding I let him come by to pick up the items (without paying me rent) about a week ago (he must have come by and realized I had changed the lock). I told him I wouldnt' be there (was heading out to church and dinner) and that I would be more comfortable with him coming by when he has the money so that all parties can get what they need. He threatended to "call the cops" but I have yet to see them. I guess I have a couple of questions:

    1) If he demands his belongings and hasn't paid me do I have to turn them over to him and basically consider all money owed to me a loss? (Keep in mind I don't have a forwarding address, he changed his phone number, and he blocked caller ID when calling me).

    2) Can I require at the very least a real address so that I could deal through small claims court if I wanted to (which I really DO NOT want to deal with)?

    3) What are Michigan laws in general relating to personal property and can I legally word my future leases to state that items for example left behind after 15 days are abandoned, after 30 can be discarded or sold to recover costs, and that I can charge storage fees and require that along with any rent and damages to be paid before turning over personal property to the tenant?


    Thanks!
    Marianne

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Are you the landlord?

    Did you have a written lease?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Quote Quoting seniorjudge
    View Post
    Are you the landlord?

    Did you have a written lease?
    Yes I am
    and
    Yes I do


    Marianne

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Does the written lease cover what happens to abandoned personal property?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Quote Quoting seniorjudge
    View Post
    Does the written lease cover what happens to abandoned personal property?
    No, which is why I asked questions 1 and 3 as I did. It states I may enter the premesis (in this case his room) if he's abandoned, but does not state what to do with personal property. I'd like to know what to do in this case (what is provisioned by law in MI) and then what I'm allowed to say in future cases for new leases to help avoid this problem (or at least have something to point to and say you signed here on it).

    Currently only have this regarding any kind of abandonment:

    14. Re-entry of Premises following Abandonment. If Resident removes all or substantially all of Residentís property from the Premises or if Resident otherwise abandons the Premises, Owner may immediately re-enter and take possession of the Premises without abatement of Rent or other obligations of Resident under this Agreement. Any such re-entry shall not constitute a termination of this Agreement or waiver of any of Ownerís rights hereunder.

    Would like to say something to the effect of:

    . Abandonment of Personal Property. Personal property left behind by vacating Resident(s) and not claimed within 15 days of end of tenancy will be considered abandoned. Owner will make a diligent effort to contact Resident(s) before disposing of any property. Resident(s) agrees to reimburse Owner for reasonable storage and moving charges, rent and utilities in arrearage, and damages upon receipt of property. Owner may retain possession of abandoned personal property until storage charges, rent and utility charges in arrearage, and damages are paid in full. Items abandoned for longer than 30 days are considered as permanently abandoned. Owner may permanently discard items or sell items to recover costs of rent or utilities in arrearage, damages, or storage fees.

    but I don't know if that is all legally ok in MI. I also need to know how to handle the current situation. Keep in mind I'm not a full time landlord, I just bought my first home and have 2 rooms rented to offset the cost, so I'm not a seasoned pro.

    Thanks,
    Marianne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Sue him in small claims court for the money he owes you.

    Then let the judge decide it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Quote Quoting seniorjudge
    View Post
    Sue him in small claims court for the money he owes you.

    Then let the judge decide it.

    I guess that does not really help. As I mentioned he left with no forwarding address (required to sue), changed his phone number (no way to contact). So can anyone please help givent his situation regarding the 3 things I asked in the original post?

    Thanks,
    Marianne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,438

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Quote Quoting basschica
    View Post
    I guess that does not really help. As I mentioned he left with no forwarding address (required to sue), changed his phone number (no way to contact). So can anyone please help givent his situation regarding the 3 things I asked in the original post?

    Thanks,
    Marianne
    Marianne, you cannot do ANYTHING if you cannot find him!

    BUT you can sue him even if you do not know where he is.

    It is called service by publication.

    There will be a notice in the newspaper and the legal fiction is that he reads the paper's legal notices every day and saw it....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    71,834

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    He's entitled to his property. You're entitled to your rent. One is not conditioned on the other.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Abandonment of personal Items by ex-roommate

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    He's entitled to his property. You're entitled to your rent. One is not conditioned on the other.
    If I request that he give me the forwarding address when he comes for the items am I entitled to have that information or can he deny that? The lease states it is to be given to me within 4 days of vacating, which I know relieves me sending a list of damages if I don't have it, but in this case I just want it even though it's later so that I may file with small claims court.

    Additionally, can anyone please help with the number 3 question I originally asked as to what I can legally say in my leases for future roommates in regards to personal items (in the state of MI)? I want to word it to my best advantage, but if the law trumps anything I'm looking at saying it would be pointless unless the person also doesn't know the law and believes me when I point it out later. I want to be able to get rid of personal items in a reasonable amount of time and not have a bunch of old stuff taking up space in my garage indefinitely and also so that I can require them to pay me for what is owed so that both parties get what they need. I've tried looking at the MI legislature site, but I am not finding what I need. Thanks.

    Marianne

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