What to do if I’ve been struggling financially for the last few months, partially because of a financially irresponsible roommate?

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What to do if I’ve been struggling financially for the last few months, partially because of a financially irresponsible roommate?

It got to the point where I could no longer afford the apartment we shared and moved out. Today I found out that my check for last month’s rent bounced, and that if I don’t pay them by the 6th the landlord will issue a warrant for my arrest. My checking account is severely overdrawn, what can I do?

Asked on January 2, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Being unable to pay your rent or having a check bounce is not generally a crime unless it can be shown that you acted with criminal intent: for example, that you wrote a check knowing it would be dishonored. Therefore, you should not face criminal liability (or if arrested and charged, should have a good defense) so long as you can prove that you bounced the check inadvertantly (accidentally). However, if you do not pay your rent, you could be evicted; your credit will be damaged; and you could be sued by your landlord for  the money you owe. If possible, try to work out a payment plan with your landlord that could afford and honor.


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