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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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My roommate was arrested 18 days ago for two misdemeanors (Calling

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My roommate was arrested 18 days ago for two misdemeanors (Calling police for a bomb hoax, possession of a concealed weapon). He got out on bail ($2500) within the next 2-3 days, however he never told me he was arrested at that time. Since then I have not seen him and have been unable to get in contact with him. I was only able to find out what happened a week later by googling his name, and found the police report and have been able to piece together more details from court records online. My concerns are that I believe he has abandoned the apartment (it has been over 2 weeks since he has returned to the apartment), so I need to find out what my rights are in this situation. If I am entirely liable for the rent of the apartment (as well as utilities), even though there may be a case for the landlord to declare him as delinquent because of the crimes he was arrested for, as per the rules set in the lease agreement. Also what would happen to all of his possessions in the apartment, if he abandons it.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: If I am entirely liable for the rent of the apartment (as well as utilities)
A: You would only be personally liable for the entire rent and utilities if you agreed to be liable for them. In most cases, both roommates are personally liable for the entire rent and utilities as to the landlord and utility companies, and then they have an agreement with each other (either implied or express) that they will each pay half. In such a situation, if one roommate does not pay his half of rent and utilities, then the landlord or utility company may go after the other roommate for the missing portion. You will need to review your lease and/or any terms from the utility companies in order to be certain of your situation, but I'm sorry to say that I'd be quite surprised if you were not liable for everything that has you name on it.

Q: Also what would happen to all of his possessions in the apartment, if he abandons it.
A: If your roommate abandons his personal property, then such property can lawfully be taken by anybody. Accordingly, you, the landlord, or anybody else with access to such property could theoretically claim it as yours and keep it. I'll point out, however, that I doubt that you have a reasonable basis after just 18 days to assume that your roommate has abandoned his possessions. You would need to establish your roommate's intent to abandon such possessions, and unless he expressly stated that he has abandoned them, then I do not believe that it can be presumed after 18 days. At this point he is still a tenant and still resides there, so there would be no reason for him to remove such possessions. If you two are evicted, and he never retrieves the possessions, then you may have an argument that he has abandoned them.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1.The lease agreement states that a resident may be found in default if:


You or any occupant is arrested, convicted, or given deferred adjudication for a criminal offense involving actual or potential physical harm to a person.


My roommate was arrested for calling in a fake bomb at a local mall and carrying of a concealed weapon (the charges were FALSE REPORT/SUMMON TO LAW ENF and CONCEALED WEAPON: CARRY) which are both class 1 Misdemeanors.


Would it be possible for him to be found in default and thus evicted, under these circumstances?


 


2.Under what circumstances would he be considered to have abandoned the apartment? My lease agreement states the apartment can only be defined abandoned if no one is living there or rent is not paid after X number of days.

Hi again.

Q: Would it be possible for him to be found in default and thus evicted, under these circumstances?
A: Yes, he could be evicted for that based upon what the lease states. However, bear in mind that you'd still remain liable for the full rent.

Q: So far as the lease is concerned, there would be no abandonment so long as you reside there and pay rent. If you stop paying rent, or if you move out as well, then that will be an abandonment and the landlord would likely evict you both.
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