Lease with multiple tenants

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Latest post 11-30-2012 10:55 AM by Chancey1. 7 replies.
  • 11-30-2012 12:20 AM

    • jhensper
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    Lease with multiple tenants

    Hello, Im a college student and I've managed to fall into an unfavorable situation with roomates from the house I rented last year. I go to school in Delaware. Last year I rented a house with 4 people, and they were less than perfect roomates to have their names on the lease with me. They caused extensive damage to the property and then lied to me about their intentions to pay for it. When its all said and done at the end of the lease two of them did not pay the final month's rent. If all the security deposits are witheld we end up about 340 short of paying. However, since two of them did not pay that last month the landlord is owed 1340 instead of 340. I have proof of all the money I have sent to the LL and can show that I have already paid for exactly 1/4 of the money owed in this case (all 12 monthly rent checks, plus sec dep, plus a check for 1/4 of the ballance in damages). If the LL takes this to court, do I have any chance of not having to split the extra 1000 dollars that my roomates did not pay?

    The LL is saying he wants to file this in court on the 5th of December, none of the former roomates respond to him, and he will not work with me to avoid pursuing me for the money they owe. I would just hope that maybe the court would stand up for me if I can show that I have already paid my entire share of what should have been owed.

  • 11-30-2012 8:16 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    • PA
    • Posts 49,105

    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    In some college towns its not rare to have fractional leases where a student is only responsible for a specific share  --but these are separate leases and not comon elsewhere and I doubt that is waht you have if a group of you rented a house..

    In general, many a lease calls for the tenants to be jointly and separately liable for the whole deal

    That means if 3 of the RMs drop the ball the 4th can be looked upon to pick up all the slack.

    And it also means the LL can pick and chose which ones to chase for any shortages --he need not cut nice guys any slack and he can avoid chasing people who are hard to find and focus on the easy targets even if you think everyone or others need to be the targets.

    The bottom line is its in YOUR best pocketbook interests to hammer your roommates and if necessary YOU sue your RM's for not paying their share of the rent or fixing their damages.

    Absent  any mistakes by LL, I predict LL wins this one and gets a judgement against at least you if your were served and anybody else who was served even if they are a no show  and lets say it is for $1500 including costs etc---he is entitled to chase you for the entire $1500 --he need NOT cut you any slack as there is not real slack in the overall duty to pay.

    If some of your RM's have departed to far away states that may leave you as the only viable target

    Your beef is with your RM's--its up to you to go get it! .

     



  • 11-30-2012 10:18 AM In reply to

    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    jhensper:
    their names on the lease with me

    Which implies that all 4 of you signed the same lease instead of separate leases in each name.

    That means that any one of you is responsible for the debt if the other 3 bail.

    jhensper:
    If the LL takes this to court, do I have any chance of not having to split the extra 1000 dollars that my roomates did not pay?

    Drew answered that question. You're on the hook for the whole thing if the others don't pay. Doesn't matter how much you paid already.

    jhensper:
    The LL is saying he wants to file this in court on the 5th of December, none of the former roomates respond to him,

    No surprise there.

    jhensper:
    he will not work with me to avoid pursuing me for the money they owe.

    No surprise there either.

    jhensper:
    I would just hope that maybe the court would stand up for me if I can show that I have already paid my entire share of what should have been owed.

    No, the court won't stand up for you.

    In the end, there will be a judgment against you that will follow you around for many years and subject you to all sorts of unpleasant consequences.

    If you want to avoid that I suggest you find a way to pay what is owed and then sue your roommates for indemnification.

    If you can't collect, you chalk it up to tuition for a life lesson from school of hard knocks.

    Avoid roommate arrangements in the future. Wouldn't kill you to live in a small efficiency apartment that you can afford on your own.

     

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  • 11-30-2012 10:45 AM In reply to

    • jhensper
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    • Joined on 11-30-2012
    • DE
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    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    In response to what everyone has said. The LL said to me that if this goes to court it would be filed against all 4 of the people from the lease. How would this work for paying it back. If he sues 4 people am I not responsible for 1/4 of whatever that settlement is? He has the names numbers and addresses for the other people who havent paid why arent they held equally accountable as me just because they have refused to return calls or emails from him?

  • 11-30-2012 10:48 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,105

    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    If possible you want the other 3 to be properly named and served defendants even if they are a no show --you want them to get judgements against them --perhaps if one of them needs his credit cleaned up before you do that person will be forced to pay it up ahead of you.

    In some states YOU might be able to add co defendants to the action --I'm not up on DE rules.

    The issues of proper service can get a bit fuzzy --if I have  4 tenants on a lease I need to serve each of them separately  BUT if there is one adult at that address and the other 3 have NOT completely severed thier ties with that place then I can probably make good service on all 4 by serving just the one with 4 sets of stuff  --and if you are just the one its to your advantage to cooperate to make sure the other 3 have some skin in the game. Me I once took pictures of folks stuff in a unit in anticipation of a claim that they were not still there as an appeal matter ---there was lots of personal stuff still in the unit and the pictures turned the tide



  • 11-30-2012 10:55 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,105

    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    From the LL's view you are a good target to pay up the full amount. You keep writing about your 1/4 --not the case.

    I think the Ll may be bungling a few things and creating problems with comments about other addresses --if those addresses are out of state and /or they never get served then those persons are off the hook as to the action if question and you get left holding the whole bag!

    You want them to get served!

    Still does not rule out that you may need to also sue other RM's to get them to pay up the share they failed to pay --but thats a different action!

     



  • 11-30-2012 10:55 AM In reply to

    Re: Lease with multiple tenants

    One way to look at it is that you evidently didn't put a stop to the "extensive damage" being done, even if that meant going after co-tenants immediately. 

    Can't know whether landlord ensured the lease indicates the named parties are jointly and severally liable such that landlord would be able to choose whom to go after for the entire amount.  That's typically the way it works.  In other words, LL may go after the most convenient or willing target.  Anything any one of you had to or does pay on behalf of another, you can go after those co-tenants for their share.

    "How would this work for paying it back."

    If landlord gets a judgment for $1,000 that names you all, he's free to go after any one or all of you in collecting.  According to you, the (even if verbal) agreement among tenants is presumably to split the rent equally.

     

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