I was a tenant in an apt. with another person. Both names on the lease. My name was not on the lease. Am I responsible for the bills??

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I was a tenant in an apt. with another person. Both names on the lease. My name was not on the lease. Am I responsible for the bills??

I moved out early to avoid altercations. I still paid my rent and helped out with elctric and comcast bills. This last month I’m refusing because I thought the bills were going to be turned off being that either one was living there. I’m being threaten that I am going to get sued for 114$. Will that stand in court. My name is not on the bills and I sometimes paid in cash sometimes paid with check. She admitted to taking and having my 5 movies that total over 100$.

Asked on June 2, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If I understand your question, your name wasn't on the lease, and it wasn't on the electric and cable bills.  And, if you didn't have any agreement in writing with the other tenant(s?), any oral agreement probably isn't enforceable.  I don't know who's threatening to sue you, but without something in writing, suing for bills or rent for a place you weren't living in is likely to be difficult for them.

For reliable advice, you need to explain all the facts of your case to an attorney, and there really isn't a way to do that without some question-and-answer, in person, or at least over the telephone.  If you are sued, you should contact the legal services office for your county, which will be listed on the summons;  if you can afford a lawyer, the summons will also have the information for the bar association's lawyer referral service, and you can check our website, http://attorneypages.com

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If you are not a signatory to the lease then the landlord will probably not be able to sue you for the balance of the rent.  Rather, the landlord will only be able to sue the person that signed the lease.  your old roommate may try to sue you for contribution, but i do not think that he will prevail snce you moved out and are not on the lease.  As far as the bills, you are not liable to the creditors directly.  again, your old roommate may try to sue you for contribution, but you should not be liable to him/her.  I suggest asking for the movies back.  if you want to be a paid, file a lawsuit for conversion in small claims court.  ust be cautious of the roommate bring up all these other issues.  if it were me, i would simply ignore this.


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