Can I sue a fellow tenant for not paying rent?

A fellow tenant has backed out of lease before move in date. We are on a lease as a whole not individual. Him backing out has left us unable to afford the lease which he agreed upon. Can I sue him for the monthly rent? The lease says he will only lose the security deposit, however he has left the rest of us in a bind and I feel that he owes us compensation.

Asked on June 29, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The lease is a contract between the tenants and the landlord and here is sounds as if the tenants are not listed as individuals but as one entity. If that's the case it will be difficult to pursue him directly based on that contract. What would be one way to proceed is if you have a contract in existence between all the tenants stating each is responsible for certain payments and if so his backing out is a break of that contractual agreement and as such you have a valid cause of action for breach of contract.

However if you do not have such a contract your best bet may be to contact a local attorney and explain to them the situation at this point. They may have an idea as to how to get the former tenant to follow through on his agreement or at least help subsidize while a new tenant is located. Good luck and if you need further assistance please post again.


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