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  1. #1

    Default Can Your Roomate Hold Your Property Until You Sign a Roommate Release Form

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: California, San Bernardino

    I used to share an apartment with somebody. He and I got into an argument, and one day I came home to find he'd had the lock on the front door changed. He wouldn't give me my stuff until I signed a roommate release form and threatened to call the police if I argued with him and said other ugly things. Well, I didn't want to live with this guy anymore, so I signed. And he couldn't find another roommate and ended up on the hook for the entire rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, etc., so he shot himself in the foot. I never even thought about coming back.

    But isn't holding people's stuff hostage like this illegal? This was back in January.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,031

    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    But isn't holding people's stuff hostage like this illegal?
    Yes.

    And you would have had recourse through the courts for the return of your property or compensation for it. But that would have taken weeks or months.

    Lesson for the future:

    No more roommates. Roommate arrangements almost invariably go bad.

    Same goes for living with girlfriends, or boyfriends.

    Rent what you can afford, even it it's a two by nothing efficiency.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    I'd like to sue him. Would there be any point in that?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    1,023

    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    Sue for what? What are your damages? You said you didn't want to live with him anymore, you got your stuff back, he got stuck with the full rent, utilities, etc. and got so depressed he shot himself in the foot.

    Sounds like you got the best end of the deal on this one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    Quote Quoting carouselambra
    View Post
    I'd like to sue him. Would there be any point in that?
    Summarizing Gail's comment:

    No.

    No point at all.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    Quote Quoting gail in georgia
    View Post
    Sue for what? What are your damages? You said you didn't want to live with him anymore, you got your stuff back, he got stuck with the full rent, utilities, etc. and got so depressed he shot himself in the foot.
    I didn't mean he literally shot himself in the foot. That's an expression. But he made himself liable for all the expenses connected to the apartment, antagonized me with his behaviors, and couldn't find anybody else to share expenses. I saw an electric fan in his bedroom window, which faces the street, when the weather warmed up, so I think he's having trouble paying the electric bill, which was only about $70 a month when I was living there and we were running the air conditioner.

    Since he acted illegally by holding my stuff hostage, I wanted to slap his wrist for that (not literally slap his wrist ), but I don't know if I want to go to the trouble and expense. You and adjusterjack might be right: this might be punishment enough.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18,031

    Default Re: Can Your Ex-Roommate Hold Your Stuff Hostage to Get You to Sign a Roommate Releas

    and got so depressed he shot himself in the foot.
    I didn't mean he literally shot himself in the foot.
    I think Gail was kidding.

    Be satisfied that he was tried and convicted in the Court of Karma.

    Let it go.

    And remember, no more roommates.

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