What can I do if I subleased an apartment but the new management company says that I owe $7,000?

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What can I do if I subleased an apartment but the new management company says that I owe $7,000?

We did a complete transfer of responsibility. The leasing office took his license and check stubs. That complex has been bought by another company and they’re telling me I owe them $7000. I can’t track down the guy I have my apartment to but have emails proving he met me 6 months ago at the apartments.

Asked on August 4, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You write that you sublet the property. The issue is, was it a sublease or an assignment? If it was a sublease, you remained responsible to the landlord (or the landlord's successor), even if in practice, the subtenant paid them directly, whereas with an assignment, the new tenant stepped into your place, took over from you, and released you from all responsibility. 

Most leases do NOT allow assignments--check your lease. A clause forbidding an assignment is legal and enforceable. If assignments were prohibited, then this would have been a sublease and you remained responsible to the landlord for all amounts due under the lease. 

Even if your lease did not prevent assignments, you need to carefully review the terms of the agreement between you and the new tenant to see if it was an assignment or  a sublease. If in doubt, consult with an attorney. Again, only if it was a valid assignment would you have been released from responsibility or liability under your lease for unpaid rent.


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