What to do if regarding a right to collect a debt from 2 tenants?

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

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What to do if regarding a right to collect a debt from 2 tenants?

We own a home which we rented to tenants for 2.5 years. They damaged the house and were billed for the amount of repairs needed above the amount of their deposit. The tenants are now divorced. The wife wants us to agree to allow her to pay half of the debt and release her from the rest. The husband has not responded to any of our letters. If we agree to release the wife from half the debt, do we also forfeit our right to pursue the husband for the remaining half of the debt?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney in your area who can read your lease agreement.  Generally speaking, the tenants are "jointly and severally liable" for the damages incurred.  If you sued them in court you could settle with one and still go after the other, although some lawyers do not like to do that strategically.  You see she is also liable for it all and by settling you may lose the only pocket paying.  Good luck.  

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