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Roomate/Lease help

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Roomate/Lease help

Old 02-18-05, 05:29 PM
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Roomate/Lease help

Hey all. I have some questions and maybe I can get some help from some people here.
I signed a 1 year lease in December of 04, and it runs out in December 05. I went in, with a roommate, and we both signed stating we would stay until December of 2005. Well, my roommate decided rent was too much, so he left.

He told me around February 5th that rent was too much for him, and he would have to leave at the end of the month. I told him thats fine, as long as we can find another roommate, because he is obligated to stay till the end of the year per the lease we both signed. On February 15th I get a note on my door stating his rent check for the month of February had bounced,and he has to pay them $767 by February 21st otherwise we both would be evicted. On the 16th, he lost his job. That night, he took it upon himself to move all of his stuff out of his room. He then begins to tell me he will not be paying rent for the month of February, nor any month after that because he can't afford it. Problem is, he signed a 1 year lease and he HAS to pay every month after that until a new roomate is found.

I went and spoke with the people at my apartment complex, and they pretty much told me everything I already know. He is obligated to pay rent regardless if he 'abandons' the property, because his name is on the lease. I guess his dad called up and they too explained to him that he is obligated to pay wether he lives here or not because he signed a 1 year lease. He also claimed I havn't been looking for any roomates (which I don't really see as something I have to do seeing he is the one leaving, not me), when in fact I signed up for Roommates.com severaldays ago and have proof through my credit card I did.

What are my options at this point? He dosn't have enough money to pay this months rent, and March is coming up fairly soon. Would I be able to sue him? Would I be able to collect from him even if he dosn't have a job? Any help would be appreciated.

P.S. I also live in California, the laws may be different out here.
Old 02-18-05, 05:44 PM
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How old is the roommate, and to what extent is the father involved in his finances?

I agree, it is not your responsibility to find a replacement roommate, but it is definitely in your best interest to do so, both from a financial POV and so that you can interview and select someone compatible. In that sense, it is almost better that the ex-roommate is doing nothing, as you might otherwise have some loser foisted upon you as a replacement.

I would sue immediately, for half of the rent for each month remaining in the lease, plus the cost of listing on roommates.com, plus any late fees incurred as a result of his bounced Feb. rent check. I'd also talk with the landlord immediately, tell them of the steps you're taking to remedy the situation, and ask them if there is any flexibility they can grant you while you seek the legal solution.

Unless there's something you're not telling, I can't imagine that you won't win the lawsuit easily. Then, if you find another roommate before the verdict, you can amend the suit accordingly. After the verdict, it becomes his problem to find another roommate, but at least you'll be covered.

Another solution I've heard is that the apartment management may allow you to move into a smaller apartment with lower rent, but I don't believe they are under any obligation to do so. Recognize the fact that you are at their mercy because of your roommate's irresponsibility, and deal with them accordingly. The more you can get them on your side, the better off you'll be. They are not your enemy in this!

All of that is strictly personal opinion, I have no legal background. But I think the important thing is to become as pro-active as possible. Unfortunately, it is your problem, and it sounds like the roommate is content to let you deal with it. So push the problem back on the roommate ASAP. No matter what you do, good luck with all this, it's crappy. Don't make any concessions, either verbal or in writing, to the roommate, and keep any emails that you have or that are sent from here on out. Document everything, and be prepared to prove everything in court.
Old 02-18-05, 05:53 PM
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And pee in his butt.
Old 02-18-05, 05:56 PM
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My roommate is 19. The father has had no contact at all besides that one phonecall claiming his son shouldn't pay because he movied out. I took pictures of his room, the way he left it, with some trash and random things around, and plan to get them developed in a few minutes so I can have a date stamp on it.

I am content with finding my own roommate, its just the fact he said I have done nothing to do so which is complee B.S. considering I signed up for roommates.com days ago. I talked to my apartment supervisors, and they said if his share of the rent isn't paid by Monday, we both are evicted, even if I paid my half. I'll have to dip into m tax return and pay this month off, and then sue him. Any other opinions/ideas?
Old 02-18-05, 08:26 PM
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On suing your roommate:

My guess is you'll be able to sue for the months that have passed . . . maybe. I think, though, the court may say your case isn't ripe until the lease has passed and you know how much you're out (especially for suing for future months since you don't know if you'll get a roommate or not. Also, technically, for unpaid months it seems like the landlord would be the one who would have the right to sue).

Of course, I maybe be wrong since everthing I know about the law came from watching The People's Court.
Old 02-18-05, 09:33 PM
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I think you might be, uhhh, screwed. uhh. ref: http://usatoday.realestate.findlaw.c...-overview.html

Originally Posted by Renting a Place with Others: Legal Rules
<b>A summary of the legal rules affecting roommates. </b>

When two or more people simultaneously sign the same rental agreement or lease -- or enter into the same oral rental agreement -- they are co-tenants and share the same legal rights and responsibilities. But there's a special twist. One co-tenant's negative behavior -- not paying the rent, for example -- can affect everyone's tenancy.

<b>If One Roommate Doesn't Pay Rent</b>
Co-tenants may decide to split the rent equally or unequally, depending on their own personal wishes. However, such agreements don't have any impact on the landlord. Each co-tenant is independently liable to the landlord for all of the rent. Landlords often remind co-tenants of this obligation by inserting into the lease a chunk of legalese which says that the tenants are "jointly and severally" liable for paying rent and adhering to terms of the agreement. If one tenant can't pay a share of the rent in a particular month, or simply moves out, the other tenant(s) must still pay the full rent.
Landlords often insist on receiving one rent check for the entire rent -- they don't want to be bothered with multiple checks from co-tenants, even if each co-tenant pays on time and the checks add up to the full rent. As long as you have been advised of this policy in the rental agreement or lease, it's legal for your landlord to impose it.

<b>If One Roommate Violates the Lease or Rental Agreement</b>
A landlord can, legally, hold all co-tenants responsible for the negative actions of just one, and terminate everyone's tenancy with the appropriate notice. For example, two co-tenants can be evicted if one of them seriously damages the property or otherwise violates the lease or rental agreement.
In practice, however, landlords sometimes ignore the legal rule that all tenants are equally liable for lease violations, and don't penalize a blameless one. If the non-offending roommates pay the rent on time, do not damage the landlord's property and can differentiate themselves from the bad apple in the landlord's eyes, the landlord will probably want to keep them.
Old 02-18-05, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by GizmoDVD
Would I be able to sue him?

If he has no money why would you sue him?
Old 02-18-05, 11:36 PM
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Is the $767 what you each pay per month for rent, or is that a sum total of something? I share a 2-bedroom, 1 bath place with a buddy of mine, and total our monthly rent is 580, or 290 per person. Around here, you can get a $130,000 mortgage with a $767 payment.
Old 02-18-05, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Forum Troll
Is the $767 what you each pay per month for rent, or is that a sum total of something? I share a 2-bedroom, 1 bath place with a buddy of mine, and total our monthly rent is 580, or 290 per person. Around here, you can get a $130,000 mortgage with a $767 payment.
That is California for you.......$1500/mo. is somewhat normal in nicer areas.
Old 02-19-05, 12:41 AM
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$767 is are months rent ($1525) split in half. He still owes for bills and utilities as well (which is about $80 split).
Old 02-19-05, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Wooderson
If he has no money why would you sue him?
Uhh, because he owes me? Should I just forget it and pay his ent because he makes no money? Dosn't make much sense to me

"Hey, those guys are robbing us!!!"
"Oh well, they have no money, we can't do anything to them"
Old 02-19-05, 10:40 AM
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Uhh, but he has NO money. The last thing you want to do is sue someone with zero assets, whats the point. Say if I was walking down the street and a homeless man was pushing his cart and he happened to hit my foot and break it. Now would you sue him? I think at this point if money is important to you and it sounds like it is, it would not be a wise finacial investment to sue someone with NO money, because............... that is the point of a lawsuit, correct?
Old 02-19-05, 10:53 AM
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1500 a month for a 2 bedroom aparment is awful. Even here in California. Some of the nicer areas I've seen have 2 bedroom apartments for just under 1k a month. Sometimes, even under $900.
Old 02-19-05, 11:20 AM
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Go ahead and sue him but good luck actually getting any money from him. If you get a judgement you may be able to garnish his wages, but if he switches jobs alot you might have trouble there as well. I think your only hope is to find another roomy as fast as possible or look into moving into an apt you can afford by yourself if your landlord will let you.
Old 02-19-05, 02:30 PM
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You're actually responsible for your roommate's rent if he doesn't pay it, I believe it's called "joint tenancy".

Yeah, just sue him each and every month, plus court costs. It would be in your best interest to find a roommate ASAP though.
Old 02-19-05, 08:50 PM
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Ive decided to break my lease and pay $1,500 and sue him for atleast half if not more. Makes more sense for me to move back with some friends for $200 and save up money for my wedding.
Old 02-19-05, 10:59 PM
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The landlord will let you out of the lease for $1,500?
Old 02-25-05, 12:25 AM
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UPDATE:
I threatened him with a small claims lawsuit and he caved in faster then the brass fasteners company to Tarentino. The next day he showed up with a check for the current month he decided to 'skip out on' and we canceled are lease. $1,500 to be split. However, if someone rents are apartment soon, we won't have to pay.
Old 02-25-05, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by nickdawgy
1500 a month for a 2 bedroom aparment is awful. Even here in California. Some of the nicer areas I've seen have 2 bedroom apartments for just under 1k a month. Sometimes, even under $900.
where?

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