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Advice for civil dispute

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Indiana

My girlfriend was living with a friend in her friend's home. My girlfriend had just been laid off, so she did not have a lot of money. They had a verbal agreement that my girlfriend could live in her friend's home for free if she would do chores like cooking, cleaning, etc. They were cool with that for several months, then my girlfriend found part time employment, and they verbally modified the agreement to pay a fee every month for rent in addition to the chores. My girlfriend kept up her end of the bargain for a few more months, and then her friend wanted to raise the rent payment to an amount that my girlfriend could not afford. Her friend told her if she could not pay it, then she should move out. So she agreed to move out. In the process of moving some of her things, her friend changed the locks on her doors and is now holding the rest of my girlfriends property ransom until she pays up several hundred dollars that she does not have. My girlfriend has attempted to negotiate for the release of her property by promising to pay a reasonable amount monthly until her friend feels she has been reimbursed for the months my girlfriend had been staying there for free. The friend is saying now that she should have to pay her for the time she was staying there. They did come to an agreement today that if she pays her some money now, she can have SOME of her property, but not all of it. And, only if she signs a paper saying she will pay a certain amount each month, and she will not return some items until all of the money is paid. We spoke to the police, and they told us it was a Civil matter, thus my posting in this forum. There's nothing they can do, except go down and help work out the problem, but they cannot force anyone to give something back.

My questions are what kind of legal rights does my girlfriend have for this type of situation? Is it the same as a Lock Out in a Landlord/Tenant relationship, or would it be different because it was just living with a friend?

Also, do you think she should give in, and sign the document to give her "friend" money even though she won't be getting all of her property back?

If it is relevant, the property is mostly personal items like books and clothes, but there is a fairly expensive computer system involved. She would not have proof of ownership of any of the personal items except the computer, which would have a paper trail from the loans she took out to buy it a few years ago.

Any advice, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You!

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Senior Member
Does your girlfriend have anything that proves she has been living at her friend's house? Not too bright not to have anything in writing.

She can take her to court and hope that the friend will admit to the situation, including holding the possessions for ransom. Sounds like she should have a good shot at getting the computer, but the friend could claim that the computer was never there.


Junior Member
Her cell phone bill uses that address. And, there are IM chat logs of them negotiating for the return of her items. The computer is named, and she even specifically says she's not giving the computer back until more money is paid.

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