Posted by John on January 26, 1999 at 23:01:22:
In Reply to: Illegal eviction? posted by Tracy Moberly on January 25, 1999 at 01:48:17:
: My fiancee and I have been living together for approximately four months. He committed suicide in the house we were renting. I found him and told my landlord I was moving out. Because his divorce papers were not finalized, his "ex-wife" was his next of kin. The landlord threw me out the house and would not let me take any of my things. She had the locks changed the same day. I contacted the Sheriff's Department and they told me I had the legal right to get in the house and get my stuff because it was my residence. The landlord said my name was not on the lease, and the wife did not want me in there. My fiancee had signed the lease, but I was the one who sent the checks to her and I still have the duplicate copies. I found the upstairs balcony door was unlocked, so I went in and took only my stuff. She found out and is now threatening to press charges against me. She told me the deposit was forfeited because my fiancee had paid it, but I sent her the check for the rent and we were paid up until the end of the month. Did she have the right to do this? Should I get a lawyer?
I am very sorry and offer my condolences. As for your immediate problems, you have your stuff out of the house so that is good. However most rent deposit
issues are settled in small claims court without a lawyer. I would file a disput naming both the soon to be ex and the landlord.
I do not know what state you are in so advice is hard to give. If you live in NY I could give a lot more advice. However, one thing is for sure "Lawyers are expensive" and will cost you more than the deposit is worth.
You can always just write off your deposit and forget about it. The "ex-wife" by law has no right to things that took place after she was legally separated from her husband, if you can prove this you will win. However since someone cannot sue you
unless they can serve you , it might be better to leave no forwarding address and move on with your life. John PS tell me what roughly what area of the country you live in and I can give you more details
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