Going to college is the first time in your life that you essentially give a complete stranger access to your assets and possessions. When you share a dorm room, someone you just met on the day you moved in can get to things like your computer, your televisions, your video game systems, and your phone. If you have prescription medications, money, jewelry, expensive clothing or other valuable in the room, they can get to those, as well.
This can lead to conflicts, as you have the same access to your roommate’s items. What if they accuse you of stealing from them while they were at class or after they went home for the weekend?
What really happened?
Accounts often differ in situations like this. Say your roommate comes back from a weekend trip home and can’t find their new iPad. They tell you that they think you stole it, and they demand it back. You ask them if they just misplaced it. Maybe they were cleaning up and they put it into a closet and forgot about it. Their instinct may be to blame you if they don’t know you well, but that doesn’t always add up.
Or, maybe you think someone else did it. Perhaps your roommate had a party with a lot of other students that none of you know that well. You think one of them took it. Perhaps you have other roommates who all share a house with you. Why do they think that you stole it? Even if someone did, that doesn’t prove it was you.
How do you protect your rights?
Unfortunately, there are situations where allegations like this can lead to police reports, arrests and the threat of serious theft charges. Don’t take this lightly. Learn as much as you can about your rights and legal options.