Getting alongToday’s question is rather entertaining. Having lived with disagreeable roommates today’s is especially interesting to say the least and I doubt my answer is what they expected.

Question: Is moving somebody else’s personal property some form of obstruction of private property? My roommate who I do not care for took all my living room pictures off the wall, unplugged all my speakers from my wall, unplugged everything in my entertainment center, and moved my entire entertainment center in front of my door. They also took my chair and blanket and put it right in front of the door just to spite me. I am pretty sure you can't move somebody else's stuff without permission. Isn't this some form of obstruction of private property?

Answer: Wow! Hey how did you two meet and what ever possessed you to share an apartment? A stereo war? Really this is unheard of. Dah! I’ve not been asked a good apartment territorial question in a long-long time. So let’s get right to it before you two do something really stupid and end up in jail or worse. To answer your question about “obstruction of private property”, the short answer is not in Iowa. No such cause of action. Now if they steal it or sell it without your permission then you can talk with the county attorney, but until then it’s all about love, peace and french fries.  Your roommate has just as much of a right to the common areas of the apartment as you do. And I suspect this apartment war started with you taking over a large-than-life share of the living room without consideration for the roomy and what rent they are paying versus how much of the common area they are being permitted to use. [Hint-hint.]

Are you hard of hearing? Are you lacking in sensitivity? Are you not understanding grown ups consider the rights of "other people"? Or as my mother would ask, "Are you stupid?"

Did you ask your roomy about the stereo and entertainment center before you planted it on all four walls of the apartment’s common living area? I suspect not, which could explain why they are now mad. Are you playing the entertainment center long, loud and at hours that you’re infringing on your roomies enjoyment of the apartment? I suspect that too is a cause of their dissatisfaction with your entertainment center and your seemingly self-centered approach to living.

Are you unemployed, living off of unemployment benefits while your roommate needs to sleep and get up in the morning for work?

It doesn’t matter that you don’t care for your roommate except that shows me why you two aren’t talking. Why talk to someone who is so insensitive and self-centered that they completely take over the common areas and ruin your quiet time (24-7) and can’t seem to appreciate the other dude or dudette who also pays rent has rights that need consideration?

Lawyerly Solution: Either you two get along or one of you moves out after the lease term. Or ... if you're not on the lease move now and find a new place to live. In the meantime put the stereo in your own room and work out a schedule when it won’t infringe, lower the volume, on your roommates space and time. Otherwise the roomie can either have your butt tossed or sue you for the rent or they can move out, since you’re in breach of the lease term of quiet enjoyment; while making you pay the entire lease amount. 

There now you probably don't care for me either. Wa-wa grow up.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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