How to deal with a break up when the person is stealing from you.
January 3, 2011 10:26 PM   Subscribe

So my Girlfriend just broke up with me and is staying with her mom tonight, having moved out half of her stuff tonight. She owes me at least a grand in bills (including rent) and took a couple motorcycle jackets I own, and all the soap in the house(dish, laundry detergent, etc).

There is a huge pile of her stuff here that is hers she left behind and wants to pick up tomorrow.
Is it Legal, and moral for me to take some of her stuff until she gives me back the stuff she took from me? How about taking more stuff for the bills she owes me? (She is not on the lease or any bills here)
Disclaimer: I will not get back together with her ever, she has proven how petty she is.
I want to take the higher road but don't want to be a victim.
posted by highgene to Human Relations (58 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jurisdiction and amount of time together are major considerations. Where are you located, and how long did you live together?
posted by liquado at 10:30 PM on January 3, 2011


Holding on to any of her stuff is guaranteed to cause more drama, not less. From the sounds of it, you don't need to be causing more drama with the type of person who takes all the soap. Let her and all her things go and don't look back. (Okay, try and talk her into giving you the jackets back.)
posted by puritycontrol at 10:32 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't know anything about legal, but what I think is moral is for you to speak on the phone before she comes over and say "Ok, so you're coming over at 10am? That's fine, you need to bring back my motorcycle jackets when you come over, and you need to bring the $1,000 you still owe me for bills at the same time."

I think if you hold her stuff to ransom you're in a bad place (if I were her I'd come back with a cop or big male friend), but you should certainly insist on making all the handovers happen at once. I think you need to let the soap go - go to Target.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:35 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is it possible that someone else, maybe someone helping her move, or maybe some stranger that happened by when she had your front door open, but wasn't watching it carefully, lifted your jackets? Because if that's what happened, you've been robbed, and subject to deductibles and any limits of liability for any renter's insurance policy you might have, you could possibly recover some of the cost of your stolen jackets from insurance...

Never feed a drama monster.
posted by paulsc at 10:38 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's moral for you to withhold her stuff until she gives you back your stuff. But, really, you're probably better off just writing it off. If she's not on the lease or the bills, the only way you're going to see that money is after a protracted, dramatic process. For your own sanity, I suggest you see the money as the price for getting her out of your life as quickly as possible.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:39 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sure she wants to pick up all her stuff tomorrow. It's all good for her, all something dramatically less than good for you.

No guess about your finances and her finances, if she has the money, if the financial loss would be significant for you. If not, writing off the money for writing off the drama and headaches could be a good deal fer ya.

No guess about the legal ramifications, but telling her she's not collecting her stuff 'til she at least returns the jackets would strike me as reasonable.
posted by ambient2 at 10:41 PM on January 3, 2011


To be honest I think you should be the bigger person here, and just let it go, if you can't come to an agreement. You've said that you won't get back with her because of her pettiness, but as you seem to suspect, taking some of her stuff as some sort of leverage is really playing the same game, and likely to escalate the conflict, and any chance of you getting the rent will be gone.

Having said that, and I can't speak to the legalities of it, if you want to negotiate with her to pay part of the rent, your best bet is to ask her in good faith in the first instance, pointing out the hardship it will put you through, if in fact it will. Also, point out that you noticed that the jackets are gone. I know nothing about her character, but if she doesn't think she has some claim on it, she probably thinks you might not notice. Maybe you can suggest she returns them as a gesture of good faith when she returns for the rest of her stuff.
posted by ultrabuff at 10:41 PM on January 3, 2011


Response by poster: Excellent points everyone.

I'm in Northern Ca, and she has been living in my house for a year. Nothing is in her name, I slept with her and she pretty much didn't leave.
I have a ton of Girlfriends(as in friends that are girls) that say change the locks and keep everything until I get my stuff and money back. (They all think she is nuts, unfortunately the crazy ones are exciting for me)
However I don't want the Drama, but than again letting someone screw me over like this is really bugging me. My last 2 girlfriends have screwed me over for thousands of dollars.
I really want to stop the pattern. I've been a man and let them take everything before and walked away with my dignity in tack. I don't want to be a pushover again.
posted by highgene at 10:45 PM on January 3, 2011


I think the best thing to do is to ask for the money and jackets, but not hold her stuff for ransom. That will just make you the bad guy in her eyes and make her feel justified in not returnimg your property. It would be a good idea to have a friend over when she comes to get the rest of her stuff to discourage her from both starting an argument with you, and nicking more of your stuff.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:46 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: "Never feed a drama monster."
Great point,
posted by highgene at 10:47 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


the time to make huge, stand up for yourself changes are when you pick your next partner. you're throwing bad after bad here. nothing will reverse this situation. you can stop it or you can worsen it. that's it.

i learned a lesson about relationships and it's always been true - whatever you have to pay to reduce her influence and presence in your life is a good amount of money to spend.
posted by nadawi at 10:51 PM on January 3, 2011 [20 favorites]


I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that in many jurisdictions, if she has lived with you for some time, she is considered a resident with many of the same rights as you have to use the property. If this provision applies, it doesn't matter that she's not on the lease or that she owes you money. You'll need to check the law in your jurisdiction to find out whether this is the law where you live and how long she would have had to live with you.

If it is the case that she is a tenant, you would not have the legal right to kick her out or withhold access to the property without going through formal eviction proceedings, and you certainly wouldn't have the right to keep her from moving any property she has stored there. Research the law in your jurisdiction and proceed carefully.
posted by decathecting at 10:53 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ask her for the jackets back, give her her stuff back, and give up on the $1k, you're never gonna get it and it'll only be hassle.
posted by Slinga at 10:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The last thing you want to do is engage her about stuff. That fight will go on for months. She's gone, so breathe a big sigh of relief, and consider yourself saved. Sorry you got nicked, but as Ragged_Richard says, just consider it the cost of a bad pairing. Pack her stuff up, have it ready to be moved out, and try to leave it on the porch or something for her to pick up. No muss, no fuss.
posted by Gilbert at 10:59 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let it go. Let her just go. All of it.

A grand can be substantial, but your sanity is worth... I dunno, slightly more.

Quite clear cut. Incommunicado is best.

Good luck , my friend!
posted by functionequalsform at 11:01 PM on January 3, 2011


PS- There's a difference between "being a pushover" and just jettisoning drama from your life. Jettisoning drama is recommended— if all is what you portray it to be. That's not being a pushover.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I really want to stop the pattern. I've been a man and let them take everything before and walked away with my dignity in tack. I don't want to be a pushover again.

Uh. That's not the pattern you should break. The pattern you should break is the "dating crazy girls who provide lots of drama and then take your stuff".

That said, changing the locks is what friends always say. It looks good on TV. But it is also likely illegal since you can't just throw somebody out if they've been living somewhere for a year.

You should tell her to bring your jackets with her when she comes to get her stuff. But if she refuses there probably isn't much you can do about it unless you either want to go to the cops (who are generally unwilling to get involved in domestic disputes) or sue her in small claims. Both of those things are fueling the drama.

The solution is to go back in time and not date the crazy. Failing that, it is to try to reason with her and get her to return her stuff and pay you the money she owes. Returning your stuff may happen, paying you the cash will not. Then it is time to write off the money and stop dating the crazy.
posted by Justinian at 11:06 PM on January 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think the reaction of your friends if understandable, but their opinions on the drama are probably a reflection of how much they care for you - but they probably don't actually want you to go through with it. It's just the anger speaking. (I'm guessing). But this eye for an eye stuff would just be satisfying in the way that binging on candy is, but with the unfortunate side effects. (Explosive vomiting = drama?? - I think this is where my metaphor breaks down - or was it broken before that).

...anyway Nthing nadawi, key is choosing someone better for you next time. You seem not to give yourself enough agency. You say that she moved in and never left, as if you has no say in it, but you did, and you do.
posted by ultrabuff at 11:11 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no idea how this would play out, but how about an itemized invoice breaking down the $1,000? That's not an insignificant sum, and while stuff is stuff, money is money. You don't ask, you don't get, and it'll take all of 15 minutes of your time + pencil and paper. A totally emotionless column of figures can speak volumes. ...And if she's less than reasonable about discharging her debts, what about approaching her mom, again, in a calm, dispassionate email? And if THAT doesn't work, escalate to small claims court and be glad to be rid of this chick and break the cycle.

Institute a standing policy of no longer accepting stray pets, children, or partners into the household...maybe with exceptions for pets and children when they prove themselves awesome in the fullness of time.
posted by smirkette at 11:16 PM on January 3, 2011


Response by poster: "the time to make huge, stand up for yourself changes are when you pick your next partner. you're throwing bad after bad here"

"There's a difference between "being a pushover" and just jettisoning drama from your life"

"The solution is to go back in time and not date the crazy."

Great advice people. I would've just asked my friends but they will always take my side, just because they are great friends.

Thank you Metafilter I think I will just let her take everything and let it be a lesson with a monetary and stress value on it. I did really love her, but maybe this is a blessing, only a year before this vindictive nature came out. Oh well, 2011 will be a new year full of adventure.
posted by highgene at 11:26 PM on January 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Let her have her stuff, change the locks and move on.
posted by the noob at 11:42 PM on January 3, 2011


Ask her what happened to the jackets. If she says she doesn't know, then tell her you're going to file a police report. And then file a police report.

Best case is it spooks her into returning your stuff. Worst case is nothing happens but at least the truth is where it deserves to be: you were robbed. Maybe you can even get renters insurance to cover the items.
posted by sbutler at 11:46 PM on January 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


If she has been there a year, than by CA standards, she can have the police force you to let her in.

(FWIW, in CA I believe someone becomes a legal resident of an address after 2 weeks, definitely within 4 weeks. At 52 weeks... she is a resident of your apartment in the eyes of the law.)

I'm telling you this so you don't do something stupid/illegal in the heat of the moment if things don't go smoothly tomorrow.

I agree you should ask for the jackets and the rent, but don't die on that hill.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 12:14 AM on January 4, 2011


Response by poster: Thanks Jbenben, good advice. And it seems situations like these do tend to bring up "the heat of the moment". I refuse to fall into that trap.
posted by highgene at 12:17 AM on January 4, 2011


Are they those jackets where you can unzip the sleeves and make it a vest?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:33 AM on January 4, 2011


Response by poster: "Are they those jackets where you can unzip the sleeves and make it a vest?"
No but taking a mans motorcycle jackets are akin to like stealing his helmet. It is taking away his armor to ride safely. It's like a big FUCK YOU to your safety in your hobby. It would be like stealing a man's tools that he uses to make his bread and butter. It's not cool.
It's like saying " I hope you crash and get major road rash and injuries". They are expensive, and could save me from fatal harm.
posted by highgene at 12:45 AM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Ask her what happened to the jackets. If she says she doesn't know, then tell her you're going to file a police report. And then file a police report.

Best case is it spooks her into returning your stuff. Worst case is nothing happens but at least the truth is where it deserves to be: you were robbed. Maybe you can even get renters insurance to cover the items."

Please do this. Those things are seriously expensive. And don't ride until you get them back or replace them, that's not um, a hill to die on either!
posted by crabintheocean at 1:20 AM on January 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, it's definitely not out of line to try and get your jackets back, as I said in my previous comment. The other stuff like back rent is probably not going to accomplish much except fill your life with more sweet, sweet drama. But as you say, stealing someone's motorcycle jackets is seriously not cool.
posted by Justinian at 1:32 AM on January 4, 2011


Response by poster: Yet Again Great Advice from all. Yes my Motorcycle jackets have armor in them(elbows, shoulders, lower backpads) that could save my life in a crash.
@Justinian, thank you for the common sense refresher. Why would one steal such an important piece of riding safety unless she wants me dead. And maybe she does.
How does one go to crazy tirades of loving prose, to "I hope you die" so soon. I guess that may be the crazies talking. I would never do such a thing to anyone.
Now she is backtracking and wants to work everything out again and is accusing me of sleeping with every girlfriend(Friends who are girls) I have ever had. My girlfriends have now nothing but venom and a general distaste opinion about her.
She always hated the fact that I have so many chick girlfiends(and don't get me started on all the gay friends I have that are included in that genre).
Sigh, so sad tonight, but alas, tomorrow I hope to improve my demeanor, take a breath of fresh air, and go at life full tilt again.
posted by highgene at 1:52 AM on January 4, 2011


In most places, it would break down like this:

If you are charging her rent, you are sub-leasing to her. That makes you her landlord. Most places, landlords are explicitly prohibited from holding property or changing the locks on a resident without going through a formal eviction process (conditions outlined in a lease, or, if there is no signed agreement, whatever the state eviction process is).

Holding her stuff or refusing her access to get her stuff opens you up to civil action in this scenario, maybe worse. A more legit option would be to invoice her for everything and give her a time frame to pay you and tell her you'll sue her otherwise.

I think I would make up that invoice as a bluff and tell her I'd forget the rent money if she returned your stuff, 'cause really, I'm not sure it's worth having any kind of extended dealings with a crazy ex.
posted by Menthol at 2:57 AM on January 4, 2011


It's like a big FUCK YOU to your safety in your hobby.

Try not to get sucked into this sort of interpretation. She might want them because she likes them. She might have taken them as an act of defiance. She doesn't have to want you dead for the theft to make sense, and it doesn't matter anyhow. Guessing what's going on in her head is just going to pull you back into the drama. Let that go to. Get the jackets if you can do it using above-board means, but let the drama go.
posted by jon1270 at 3:08 AM on January 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tell her that she can have her stuff back when she returns your motorcycle jackets, and that if she does not return the motorcycle jackets, you will file a police report naming her as the thief.

Re: the $1000 - I would present her and her mother with a detailed invoice, but be aware that you may need to write it off, as the emotional/psychological cost to you of collecting it may be too high.
posted by with the singing green stars as our guide at 3:10 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like saying " I hope you crash and get major road rash and injuries". They are expensive, and could save me from fatal harm.....Why would one steal such an important piece of riding safety unless she wants me dead. And maybe she does.
How does one go to crazy tirades of loving prose, to "I hope you die" so soon. I guess that may be the crazies talking. I would never do such a thing to anyone.


You are playing into the drama here. By taking your motorcycle jackets she's not saying "I hope you die," she's saying "This stuff is important to him, so I'll take them to spite him." When getting them back from her, stick to the fact that they are yours and stay away from "OMG you could have KILLED me!" If you want to break the drama cycle you have to stop being dramatic.
posted by headnsouth at 3:39 AM on January 4, 2011 [17 favorites]


OK, there is some really great advice here. She's drama. Avoid drama. Let her have her stuff and the soap -- in fact, box everything up for her and have it outside on the doorstep tomorrow. Then change the locks and replace the soap.

But, you don't have to be a pushover when it comes to your expensive personal property and your money. Start calling lawyers -- you may be able to find someone who will write a demand letter for a fraction of what she owes you. Ask the letter to demand your money (itemized for rent, utilities, whatever) and your motorcycle jackets by x date or face legal action. And do file a police report about the jackets to form a trail.

In my experience, a letter from a big scary lawyer scares the dramz right out of a lot of immature nutjobs.
posted by motsque at 4:28 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


if you had renters insurance you should be able to claim the jackets on your insurance.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:33 AM on January 4, 2011


Everyone has already had good advice, so I'll just add a couple of ideas.

Change the locks as soon as possible. As noted you can't lock her out to keep her from getting her stuff, but you don't want her showing up and looting the place while you are at work.

I strongly agree with simply asking about the motorcycles jackets and then filing a police report if she won't give them back or if she says she did not take them.

Box up the rest of her stuff and put it in the front hall or porch or whatever you have near the front door. When she comes for her stuff (hopefully with your jackets) tell her it is all there.

Assuming she will want to search the house anyway, box up anything you really care about and/or valuables and get it off the premises tonight.

Have a friend there when she is there - no one intimidating, just someone who can be hanging out watching TV. This will be your witness in case she tries to make any dramatic legal claims later.
posted by mikepop at 5:30 AM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you know she took them then ask for them back, if she refuses then get the cops involved if you so see fit, but it might be more worth your while to just let it be water off the back and let it all go.

Funny that you said "unfortunately the crazy ones are exciting for me", a lot of men are driven to like the crazy women because on some subconscious level they like to be the down to earth one, the rock in the relationship. And look what that gets you ;)

As for the cash, you will never see that so just sigh and walk away.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:38 AM on January 4, 2011


Try not to get sucked into this sort of interpretation. She might want them because she likes them. She might have taken them as an act of defiance. She doesn't have to want you dead for the theft to make sense, and it doesn't matter anyhow. Guessing what's going on in her head is just going to pull you back into the drama. Let that go to. Get the jackets if you can do it using above-board means, but let the drama go.

This x 1,000,000. Almost by definition it's impossible to understand the mind of a truly crazy person. Personally, I'd drop it and date a grown up next time. If you don't share a social circle with this girl, you're never getting anything back without some legal arm twisting.

Small claims court is pretty straightforward, though a summons can really put the fear of Jesus in a person. If you can tolerate a bit more drama, and aren't worried she'll torch your residence or bike, send her a polite email asking for the jackets and rent, slyly get her to admit she owes you, then take the emails to court.
posted by pjaust at 6:22 AM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you have renters (or homeowners) insurance, you can claim the jackets as stolen and file to be compensated, but only if you file a police report. Your insurance company will ask for a copy of the report, and they'll replace them with either the identical jackets or comparable ones if the same ones are no longer for sale.

The police will ask you if you know what happened to the jackets, and you should tell them the truth: a vindictive ex stole them when she moved out. They may pay her a visit to recover stolen property, or they may call it a domestic dispute and not get involved.
posted by juniperesque at 6:23 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


A thousand dollars is a lot of money. But consider that the time required to recover that amount might wind up being worth more than a thousand dollars. If you can get it back in a day, it's like making a thousand dollars for that day: worth it. If it's going to take months, it's like having a part-time job at Walmart. Quit for your own quality of life.
posted by sarling at 6:58 AM on January 4, 2011


Motorcycle jackets are like >$500 each, right? And she took more than one?
posted by mlis at 7:07 AM on January 4, 2011


While in fairness, you probably should keep the stuff until she pays you back, I don't think the law is on your side. I had a similar situation where someone was threatening to withhold some electronics of mine until I paid them some money that (they thought) I owed them. I looked it up and it appears that this is called Theft By Conversion. But this was in Georgia and not NorCal.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 7:22 AM on January 4, 2011


Fuck that "let it go" advice. You don't have to just walk away from this without even trying. Frankly, to do so would be insane. If there's drama involved, well, take that as a lesson for future relationships, but dammit, don't just let her walk off and shrug your shoulders.

I would change the locks, ask for the jackets and money and not give her shit back until you coughed up the jackets at the very least. The money is probably a wash, but I'd at least ask for it and try for some cash. If she doesn't want to part with money, I might lose some of her stuff, give back that rest and move on.

The key thing here is to keep it business. You're not talking about the relationship, love or anything else. The only thing you say to her is "Where are my jackets and my money, that's all I'm interested in?" If she starts talking about something else, say "That's not the issue here, I'm just interested in the jackets and my money, that's all we're talking about it." If she goes off about something else, say "When you want to talk about my jackets or my money, then we can talk. Otherwise, I have nothing to say," then hang up.

Here's the thing: you're being played 'cause she knows you. She took your money, jackets and all the soap in the house and left her stuff because she doesn't think you'll do anything like this. Frankly, I think you should do what I suggested above for your own sense of self worth and sanity. This is the third time this has happened, girlfriends taking off with money and you just shrugging it off. You need to cut that shit out toot sweet and I see now reason why you shouldn't start right now.

Don't do any of this until you've changed the locks. Good luck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:26 AM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ask her to return your stuff and then walk away. Let go. If she must keep your jackets, well that sucks, but your mental and emotional health is worth way more than those jackets. A clean break is needed. I'll be that even if she keeps them for now, she may at some point hate seeing them and return them. If not, hey, more confirmation that this break-up is for the best. Good luck.
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 AM on January 4, 2011


I'd be very surprised if the renter's insurance covered you against theft by someone who lived there.

You are not going to get all your stuff back. Decide what's important and how much trouble it's worth. Focus on the practical (e.g. "how much effort is it worth to avoid paying for a new jacket?" and not "it's mine and it's not fair!"). Tell her what you need in a way that allows for the possibility that she will behave reasonably and protects you from the possibility that she won't (e.g. Start with: here's what you need from me and here's what I need from you -- let's co-operate so this can all be dealt with painlessly.)

If you need to use the law, small claims court will probably be more useful than the criminal system.
posted by winston at 7:36 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tell her she's welcome to come get her stuff (make sure it's a time when you're home so she can't steal anything else) but that she must bring your motorcycle jackets back to you in the same condition as when she stole them or you will file a police report.

The thing about irrational (including drama-craving) people is that it's better to avoid engaging them in irrationality. However, when you have to engage to get something you want, you need to escalate immediately to a point that they face bad consequences if they don't comply. A police report seems to be as far as you can go on this point.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:42 AM on January 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Motorcycle jackets are like >$500 each, right? And she took more than one?

Which is felony territory in some jurisdictions. Ask for them back and for the rent. If she refuses, drop the rent, but tell her that you just want the jackets back and rather not have to file a police report that could lead to a felony charge.

The money is probably gone (you should still try) but you might get those jackets back, assuming she hasn't already pawned them or something.
posted by spaltavian at 8:41 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had a shitty landlord once and decided not to pursue action against him for various things as the stress of having him in my life needed to come to an end.

However, two sets of protective jackets? Can you file with small claims court? I am not in CA so I don't know what you need to do this, but it sounds like a good idea - they're tangible in a way rent and bill contributions are not.
posted by mippy at 9:02 AM on January 4, 2011


Start a paper trail, listing out everything she owes you, its value, and when she took it or started owing you. Send her this registered mail and email it to you.

In a month, ask for repayment. Get her answer in writing (even if it's just a "Fuck you!" email). If she doesn't agree to repay, or doesn't stick to the repayment schedule she agreed to, go to small claims court.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:05 AM on January 4, 2011


email it to you.
I meant email it to her, of course.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:06 AM on January 4, 2011


but how about an itemized invoice breaking down the $1,000?

I'm not a tax person at all, but if you've made a reasonable attempt to collect it, could you write off the $1000 on your taxes? It works for business expenses. I don' t know if it works for personal ones.

I like the idea of telling her that if the jackets don't show up you'll be forced to file a police report in order to get reimbursed from your renters insurance. That way it might seem like more of a threat of bureaucracy unpleasantness that she'd be drawn into, rather than some hot juicy drama.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:23 AM on January 4, 2011


a lot of folks have said it, and i just need to support their voices because i've been in your shoes. it's about balancing - is it worth it to keep engaging with this person to get the possessions and money, or can you afford to move on? a pick your battles situation. if you cannot afford to move on, i would be cautious about holding her things - if you go to small claims or take any type of legal action, she may be able to use it against you. i would document all that she owes you, document your communications with her/attempts to get your belongings/funds back (often best to do it in writing). be careful with what you say to her (in terms of threats).

good luck.
posted by anya32 at 10:27 AM on January 4, 2011


I would change the locks, ask for the jackets and money and not give her shit back until you coughed up the jackets at the very least.

In which case, the law would then be on her side regarding her getting her stuff back. California law is very favorable to squatters' rights, as others have pointed out.

Of course, maybe this is a good outcome--the police come and tell the OP to give the ex her stuff and tell the ex to give the OP his stuff and it's all good. But it's something the OP needs to be prepared for.

As for the "she owes me $1,000" business, highgene, she may morally owe you $1,000 but she doesn't legally owe you $1,000 unless you have something in writing on that. You and she may have made a verbal agreement to split the bills, but that's not going to hold up in court.

This is an expensive lesson for you, and I'm sorry.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:05 PM on January 4, 2011


You and she may have made a verbal agreement to split the bills, but that's not going to hold up in court.

This isn't necessarily true.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:27 PM on January 4, 2011


small_ruminant, you are absolutely correct: what I should have said is "But that isn't necessarily going to hold up in court." In general, the burden of proof in small claims court is on the creditor to prove that the debt is owed, but of course the ex might admit to the verbal agreement.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:37 PM on January 4, 2011


I think they look to see if there is precedent, too. Like, is it logical that she wouldn't owe it. If she paid rent up through October and then stopped, for instance.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:51 PM on January 4, 2011


I would change the locks, ask for the jackets and money and not give her shit back until you coughed up the jackets at the very least.

In which case, the law would then be on her side regarding her getting her stuff back. California law is very favorable to squatters' rights, as others have pointed out.


Then that's something to be taken in consideration and prepared for, but frankly, he out to at least say, just to see what happens. But after changing the locks and throwing her shit in storage. She can't have it she can't find it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on January 4, 2011


BB, if he changes the locks and removes her possessions, he might be liable for damages of $100 a day under this section of the California Civil Code.

In California, letting people stay long-term in your house opens you up to the legal obligations of a landlord. I have more than one friend who has experienced tremendous hassles from this. It's not something to mess around with.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on January 4, 2011


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