Can you sue a roommate that sublet you a room but made it unlivable due to harassment?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Can you sue a roommate that sublet you a room but made it unlivable due to harassment?

I signed a sublease for 6 months but wasn’t present in the place for 3-4 months. I do have text message conversations on record that shows that she constantly throw out racial slurs, knocks on my door, and basically loves putting me on the defense. I also have videos of her constantly putting sticky notes all over the place, attacking me verbally. Text messages also reveal that she deliberately hid the fact that her room was 2x bigger than mine hence I should’ve paid less than I did. Isn’t it under rental law that the person signing the lease has to be aware of all conditions?

Asked on September 4, 2015 under Personal Injury, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1 Forget about her room being larger than yours that is not legally relevant, since you agreed to rent the room you did. If she deceived you about that room's size and you did not have the chance to view the room before leasing it, you might have a claim, but her living conditions have no legal bearing on your own rental. You agreed to pay a certain amount for a certain room that is all that matters.
2 Because you sublet from her, she is your landlord. A landlord, even of a sublet, has the obligation to provide her tenant with "quiet enjoyment," or the ability to use the space for its intended purpose living there without undue harassment or disruption. d on what you describe, she is violating your right to quiet enjoyment. As a consequence, you may have grounds to break the lease early and/or possibly sue her for monetary compensation. Compensation in a case like this is typically a rent "abatement" or refund, in an appropriate percentage. For periods that you lived there but were subject to harassment, disturbance, etc., you might get 10% - 25% if a court agrees that the harassment was unreasonable and affected your ability to use and enjoy the space. If the harassment because so bad you could not live there at all for certain periods of time, you might get up to 100% of that rent. It is very subjective, however, and will be up to the court's discretion.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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