Can I throw out my former roommate's stuff?
My old roommate left his stuff behind. He is no longer on the lease and moved out of the state temporarily. He has not given me a date for when he'll be back. It's a lot of stuff - furniture, clothing, electronics, DVDs, etc. He asked me before he left if he could store his stuff with me - I said no. He left it all anyway. No note, no timeframe, nothing written.
Do I have to keep all this stuff? I know he expects me to keep it all - he apologized and said he has "no choice" but to leave it. I told him I need to know when he'll be back and that he's leaving it without my consent - no response.
I asked my landlord what to do. He told me to throw it all out, but wasn't sure the legality of it.
What do I do? Also, he left no forwarding address.
1 attorney answer
This is really more your landlord's problem than yours, unless you were the "head tenant" and the ex roommate paid rent to you, and then you paid the landlord. So that determines who sends the ex roommate the notice.
The notice needs to track the language in RCW 59 18 310: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=59.18.310
The notice needs to tell the ex-roommate they have 45 days to deal with their stuff or it is going to get sold. Then the landlord has to get the notice to the ex tenant as best he can. Mailing it to the old address (yours) with a "forwarding service requested" notation, and sending a second copy, exactly the same as the first copy, certified return receipt requested, will go a long way towards proving that you tried in good faith to tell this person the consequences of failing to deal with their personal property.
There are companies that will sell this stuff for you, but first be sure that you can prove you sent notice. Elizabeth Powell
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