If I sublet my apartmentbut the tenant will not pay his final rent, can I still take him to small claims court if we didn’t sign an agreement?

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I sublet my apartmentbut the tenant will not pay his final rent, can I still take him to small claims court if we didn’t sign an agreement?

I lived with 3 roommates and moved out of my apartment last summer. My old roommates found someone to sublet the apartment. He did not sign a formal contract but paid rent to one of my roommates. They all stayed a few extra days to move out, thus owing the landlord prorated rent. The landlord took the owed rent out of our security deposit and the person living in my old room was to pay me back. My roommate explained all of this in an email to myself and the person who moved into my old room. This person has refused to pay me the money back. Can I sue without a written contract and only emails.

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you may sue for any rent owed. All contracts and leases, including oral (sometimes called verbal) contracts and leases, are enforceable. Obviously, it is sometimes difficult to prove the terms and conditions--or even the existence--of an oral agreement, but you can do so with testimony (yours and others), emails or other correspondence, evidence of past payment as per the agreement, etc.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption