Can I File A Temporary Restraining Order Against My Roommate?

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I moved in with this woman and her son on December 30, 2015. At first we got along. Now she’s extremely vindictive, taking my coffee and tea and hiding them in her purse. This morning she took the thermostat off the wall unit and took it to work or hid it. She always treats me like dirt, and accuses me of everything. She lied to the landlord about someone else living here. She also told the landlord she was cat sitting when my cat was seen in the window. My cat is now banned from the living room! I paid $450.00 rent for this month and I am moving out of state soon. I have a therapy cat and I don’t trust her. I’m scared she will hurt me and my cat. She has a 9-year-old son, but he doesn’t do anything. Advise please?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

If you are concerned about the safety of yourself or your property, you can petition a court for a temporary restraining order, also known as a temporary protection order. This order can prevent this woman from coming within a certain distance of you, or contacting you by email or phone. Of course, the fact that you currently live in the same apartment makes the situation more complicated.

You state that you are moving out of state in a few days. Are you leaving for good, or are you planning to come back (and leaving personal items behind)? If you are leaving for good, you will only have to deal with this for a few more days. You can still get a protection order, which will still apply to her with you moving because she will still be in her same state. If you are concerned that she can use the information on your application against you, you can try to change as much as possible (for example, bank accounts), and consider purchasing a credit report protection plan that will alert you if someone attempts to apply for credit under your name. Otherwise, there’s not very much that you can do in this situation since she hasn’t actually harmed you or your property. If you are planning on returning, you may want to seriously consider ending your rental agreement with her. If you have a formal agreement with her, check what sort of notice you need to give to end the lease. You can always move out prior to the notice deadline, but you may still have to pay until the end of your notice period. If you don’t have a formal lease, then the general rule is month-to-month, with a month’s notice starting at the end of the month in which you gave notice (so if you gave notice on April 15, you would be liable for May’s rent, but be done on May 31). In this situation, a restraining order may be a very good idea because you can call the police if she approaches or otherwise harasses you.

You probably do not have any financial recourse against her. It does not appear that she damaged any of your property or caused you physical harm. If you are the leaseholder, and her behavior incurred costs from your landlord, you may be able to pursue her to reimburse those costs, but that would be difficult because you would be liable for your lease with the landlord.

It sounds like the best solution is to move yourself, your cats, and your personal belongings as quickly as possible, and consider a temporary restraining order to give you piece of mind in the interim.



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Author: House Attorney