Financial ruin thanks to (possibly dangerous) ex-roommate
July 16, 2011 10:01 PM Subscribe
Renter's nightmare in LA: My friend went on vacation to Europe. Her roommate cashed the rent check and skipped town, friend is now getting evicted. Btw, deadbeat roommate still has the keys, collects guns, and has accused friend of being "out to get him." Advice?
posted by ®@ to law & government (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
While she was gone, roommate cashed her check but did not pay the rent, then apparently skipped town : all his stuff is gone, the leasing office claims that he tries to turn in his key and pay a portion of the rent (less than what was in her check), they wouldn't accept either. In the meantime, he sent her rambling emails accusing her of creating a hostile living environment and stating that he was keeping her share of the rent money to cover his 'moving costs' (among other things).
Leasing office is now enacting eviction proceedings against friend. They refuse to take deadbeat roommate off the lease, or let her out of the lease (this also means the locks can't be changed, since it would lock out a tenet "on the lease"). She's a teacher, and had exactly enough money in her bank account to last until her first paycheck in September. Between the stolen money, paying the delinquent rent + penalty fees this month (including roommate's unpaid pet deposit), and next month's two-person rent, she will be completely broke by the 2nd of August.
Also her best friend just died, funeral is Tuesday. So she's pretty distraught on top of all this.
She's attempted to file a report with the police -- money aside, she doesn't feel safe in the apartment due to the roommate's erratic behavior-- but though they were sympathetic, they say at this stage it's a civil matter until he actually makes a direct threat. Unfortunately, his rambling emails muddy the situation enough that at this point (legally speaking) it's a he-said-she-said regarding money. The detective did mention that the "two people on a lease" situation is extremely curious, and it's even odder than the rental company refused any sort of partial payment.
Does anyone know about LA renter's rights, and have any advice? From her contact with the leasing office, it seems like they're happy to hang this all on her: they don't want to "get involved" in a "personal dispute," and don't seem at all concerned that one of their tenets skipped out on rent and the other is trying to do what she can to make things right.
Current status: She's crashing at my place tonight in case the roommate shows up with any part of his gun collection, and we'll be trying to figure out the next step tomorrow. Sans advice, first priority will be looking up CA renters' law online, then going over her lease again, then figuring out the financials and re-documenting chain of events in a formal manner (mostly done now but kind of a mess).
I know this is likely a weird edge case in the very large "deadbeat roommate" category, but any advice or insights would be invaluable.