Posted by sporkplug
At the end of May I agreed to move in with some friends. We found a place, submitted our information for lease approval and got the house. We moved in on June 1st. Since they already lived in Sacramento and I was moving in from Hayward they were the ones working with the property management. I asked several times for the lease so that I could sign it however they never provided it to me. I put in several applications and was not finding another job. While visiting family in Oregon, in July, I got a part time job at minimum wage at the company where my mother works. I paid the California rent rent in June, July, August, and September as well as rent in Oregon for August and September. I could not continue to pay rent in two places so I had to continue to pay in the place where I was working. I still have several belongings in the house in California however at this time the people whom I was renting the house with have advised me that they have changed the locks and that the only way that I can get my stuff is if they mail it to me COD. I have offered to go there with a uhaul to get my belongings as they include a washer/dryer, freezer, dish hutch, couch, bed, and several other things that cannot be sent without several thousands of dollars in cost. They say that since I never actually signed the lease agreement that I have no rights on the property. Through my research it appears that since I paid my rent to them into their bank account, I have text messages and deposit slips to verify that this is what the funds were for, for 4 months then I believe that this would make me a sublessee and that they have to take me to court and have me evicted. If this is the case would I be able to contact a police officer to escort me to the house with a Uhaul so that I can get my belongings?
Thank you for any assistance.
It seems a bit confusing, but as I understand it, as long as you are paying rent in your California residence, and still have an established residency there, your roommates can’t legally change the locks and withhold your belongings.
If this residence is in the city, the Sacramento Police Department won’t do civil standby’s anymore. Some jurisdictions still offer this service. Officers stand by while the resident retrieves his/her belongings.
I’ve seen this type of scenario before. The dispute usually involves unpaid rent and the other roommate withholds the other’s belongings until they pay the rent. Landlords sometimes try this but it is still illegal. It is really a civil matter more than a police matter. You may have to take your old roommates to small claims court and sue them if they refuse to let you get your belongings.
If there becomes a dispute between you and your roommates when you arrive to pick up your belongings, you can call the police to help mediate the situation. You can also check the website of the Human Rights Fair Housing Commission for lots of good tenant information. http://www.hrfh.org/