CAN I SUE MY AUNT FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RENT, EVEN THOUGH THE APARTMENT IS UNDER MY NAME AND NOT HERS?

I HAD AN APARTMENT UNDER MY NAME BUT I WAS THE ONLY 1 ON THE LEASE. MY AUNT ASKED TO LIVE THERE AND I AGREED ONLY IF SHE PAID HER RENT. SHE IS NOT ON THE LEASE. I WAS CONTACTED BY A COLLECTION COMPANY TELLING ME THAT I OWE THE APARTMENT $4,385.55. CAN SHE BE LIABLE FOR IT? DUE TO THE FACT WE HAD A VERBAL AGREEMENT THAT SHE WOULD PAY AND THAT SHE LIVED THERE.

Asked on March 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your aunt for the unpaid rent, but since this was a verbal agreement, it may be difficult to prove your case since in court it would be your word against hers.  You can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover) would include the unpaid rent and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

Since your name is on the lease, you would be liable for the rent owed to the landlord.  Some leases prohibit a sublease.  If your lease did not prohibit a sublease and if the agreement with your aunt had been in writing, the landlord could sue either you or your aunt for the rent.; however, since you only had a verbal agreement with your aunt and you are the only one on the lease, you are liable for the rent as mentioned above.

 


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