Can 1 tenant be held solely liable for damages?

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Can 1 tenant be held solely liable for damages?

My old landlord is trying to hold me solely liable for requested repairs done when I vacated to property. A document with the payment arrangements was given to me to sign, which I did – under the understanding that both my roommate and myself were responsible for charges. I have been told on many occasions by the landlord and the ex-roommate that the roommate was making payments as well. Now the landlord is changing his story saying that I am solely responsible because the roommate never signed his copy. Am I liable for whole cost? I have the text messages proving my case.

Asked on December 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the rental that you are writing about was shared by you and your former roommate and damages resulted, your landlord can elect to hold you both responsible or only you since both of you occupied the unit that was damaged.

I personally would pressure the former roommate to pay his or her half of the costs to repair the damage. If the landlord takes you to court over the damages, your option would be to file a cross complaint against you former roommate for his or her share of any award in favor of the landlord. I would keep copies of the text messages for future need.


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