AmI liable to pay the full amount of a debt from a broken lease if I had a roommate?

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AmI liable to pay the full amount of a debt from a broken lease if I had a roommate?

About 3 months ago I was evicted from my apartment. Since then I have been contacted by a collections agency stating that I owe an outstanding balance. I’m not arguing that the lease was broken or that I owe the money. My main concern is the other leaseholder left state and they can’t reach him so they are threatening to garnish my wages and say I’m liable for the full amount; it’s my responsibility to get a hold of him and collect his half the debt. Is this true and if not what are my options and how do I approach handling this situation with the collector?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is allowed to seek collection of all rent due from anyone on the lease--therefore, when there are multiple roommates, the landlord can (and probably will) go after the one which he or she can get hold of, has assets, is more likely to pay, etc. You in turn have the chance to try to recover his share of the money from your roommate, since he will be legally obligated under the lease, too. As for collections, it's always worth negotiating with them (try showing that you simply can't pay the full amount, if that's the case), but bear in mind that legally, they don't have to accept anything less than full payment.


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