How to collect aroommate’s share of rent/utilitiesin a quick and efficient way?

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How to collect aroommate’s share of rent/utilitiesin a quick and efficient way?

Roommate has abruptly left with promises to send money for rent and utilities. Their name is also on the lease. They have failed to pay for 2 months and are giving the runaround.

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you have asked for the impossible--unless the roommate voluntarily agrees to pay, there is no quick and efficient way to collect. You'd need to sue them, which means locating them to serve them with the papers, and also taking time and paying court fees. (I'm assuming you'd sue in small claims, representing yourself, and thereby avoiding lawyer fees.) If you win, you still have to collect; that means that if they don't pay at that point, you'd have to try to garnish their income or execute on their property, which means more paperwork, more time, and having to have some additional information (such as the name, address, etc. of the ex-roommate's employer).

This is not to say you shouldn't try to collect, but bear in mind that to vindicate your rights, you have to sue--there is no other mechanism to get the money from them.


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