If there was only a verbal lease, how can I meet the burden of proof in small claims and not waste the judges time if the defendant is going to say I’m lying?

My roommate and his daughter lived with me for 6 months. In that time the agreed upon $400 a month for his daughter to occupy my 2nd bedroom and that amount to include utilites. During that time the amount was never paid. Food was purchased, as well as fun activites, but the rent was not paid leaving the bills to me. I was told that the money would be paid when taxes were recieved. I have sent a demand letter certified mail asking for the amount owed. I want to be prepared if I need to go to small claims. I need to know what I can show with no written lease?

Asked on July 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You would rely primarly on your testimony, so in large part, assuming that they dispute your version of events, it will come down to who is more credible. Obviously, any supporting documents discussing the situation would be helpful (e.g. emails, text messages, etc.). Given how inexpensive it is to file in small claims court, it would seem to be worth it to bring a case and take your chances.

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