Roommate disputes: What can you do?

GOLDEN - Investigators say William Burchett, 54, found dead in his burning home did not get along with his roommate. So much so, they say Burchett was planning to pay Thomas Laperch, 22, hundreds of dollars to leave.

Police say Burchett and Laperch only lived together a week after meeting one Craigslist. It's a way many people try to save money on rent. While this may be an extreme example, roommate dangers exist.

Gregory Lansky, a Denver attorney who handles landlord-tenant litigation, says many renters skip background checks because it can be inconvenient. Lansky says a check can be as simple as typing in the candidate's name on Google. A quick search on Laperch and we found he was facing drug and weapons related charges in Maryland not even a year ago.

Lanksy adds that if renters or tenants are in a serious dispute, it's a good idea to get the landlord or law enforcement involved. "Or just leave," explains Lansky.

"Whatever may happen will happen. You can resolve that later. You have to make a judgment call but always err on the side of protecting yourself," he said.

Lansky admits the consequences can be a hassle. For example, breaking a lease or a renters agreement can result in fines but he wants people to remember that no price can be put on safety and there is always a way out.


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