If we found replacement tenants who did no pay rent and we were still on the lease, are we responsible?

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If we found replacement tenants who did no pay rent and we were still on the lease, are we responsible?

A few years ago, we lived in a bad neighborhood. The landlord wouldn’t let us out of our lease. They said we could let someone live there instead but they wouldn’t put them on the lease. If the people who moved in and lived there instead of us did not pay the rent and got evicted, do we have any rights whatsoever to have them pay it? I am now getting my pay garnished 25% a paycheck. I’m pretty much out of luck right?

Asked on March 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, it appears that you've summed up the situation--you pretty much are out of luck. If you were still on the lease and the new tenants never took it over from you, then you were still responsible to the landlord for the rent, and the landlord may take appropriate legal action, including seeking garnishment, to recover that money. You would have the right to sue the new tenats--who actually were your subtenants (you were leasing from the landlord; they were subletting from you)--for the money they owe you, however. That might not help, though, if the subtenants have little income, assets, or money; you could sue them and win, then still be unable to collect the judgment. However, since you could try suing in small claims court, where you don't have to pay legal fees, it's almost certainly worth at least trying to hold them responsible.


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