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Bill, Unfortunately, the old roommate continues to

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Hello Bill, Unfortunately, the old...
Hello Bill, Unfortunately, the old roommate continues to escalate this matter. She is now claiming that I stole/she left behind over $8,000 worth of belongings and claims she notices new items are missing each day since the move out. Since I had a new
roommate moving in at the same time she was moving out (beyond the deadline that we agreed to in order for me to not pursue legal action and beyond her having officially terminated her tenancy in the apartment), it was a little hectic and I did just realize
she left a few items behind - initially, I thought they may have belonged to the new roommate since she was moving in at the same time. The items left behind might total to a couple hundred dollars, at most. I would like to give her these items back but fear
it will build her case (since she is already claiming way beyond what was actually left behind) if she were to pursue a claim. Any suggestions for handling this matter? Thank you, Madeline
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 20 hours by:
7/9/2015
Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Attorney replied 3 years ago
CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10,244
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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Dear Customer,You need to return her belongings to her (or make them available for her to pick up). You do not want to hold onto her belongings. You can itemize them for both of your records (this is probably a good idea), and I would recommend going through your belongings again to make sure that you don't have anything on the list that she is claiming that you still have, but short of that there really isn't anything further that you are legally required to do.If you want to try resolving this dispute short of litigation, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi,Thank you. At this point, I'm not comfortable contacting her to return the belongings given that she's claiming much more is missing. I contacted the local bar and am waiting on a response..How soon after someone files a claim should I expect to receive the court hearing in the mail?Thank you,Madleine
Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Attorney replied 3 years ago
Dear Customer, contacting the bar to ask for referrals to local mediators is not "filing a claim" - you are simply getting local resources to help you resolve your dispute. You are currently holding your ex-roommate's property without permission. If your roommate decides to sue you, the time for a process server to actually deliver a summons and complaint varies greatly depending on how diligently they work to actually make the service.
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hello,I understand that contacting a local mediator is solely for the purpose of mediating the matter and has nothing to do with filing a claim - I would like to return her belongs but am afraid since she is claiming 8K worth of belongings to be missing which is absolutely not the case (maybe a couple hundred). Also, since the police already came to my house (at the time not realizing these few items were left behind), could they go after me for conversion even though I was not aware? I really want to do the best thing and return her belongings but also need to protect myself.If my roommate filed a claim today, would it take 2 weeks? 8 weeks? I understand it's approximate but am wondering how long I should anticipate this situation hanging over my head.Thank you,Madeline
Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Attorney replied 3 years ago
The statute of limitations for conversion is 3 years (damage to personal property).See: http://research.lawyers.com/massachusetts/massachusetts-statutes-of-limitations.html
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