If I took over a lease and last month rent was paid for by tenant who had to leave early, do I have to pay the landlord?

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If I took over a lease and last month rent was paid for by tenant who had to leave early, do I have to pay the landlord?

I previously moved into a house and took the place of someone who moved out. When I moved in, it was 6 months into the lease and there was never any written agreement between me and the tenants already there. The only thing I ever signed was the lease which still has the name of the tenant whose spot I took. When the lease started last August, all the original tenants paid first months rent, security deposit and last months rent. Now, I move out in less than a month and the landlord is trying to get me to pay last months rent even though he never mentioned I would need to pay it and the girl whose spot I took paid it to him directly upon move in. Everything was done really informally and there was never a

sublease or any other contract beside the original lease that I signed. is this just the landlord trying to take my money? or if I did sign the lease, do I owe him last month’s rent even though the previous girl paid it upon move in? I never had to pay a security deposit, I just paid my first months rent to get into the house because the girl moved out and they needed someone to pay her share.

Asked on June 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You way you "took the place" of someone who moved out--were you subletting from the other tenants, or did you literally take over the place of the departing tenant and so rent directly from the landlord? When you paid rent, did you pay it to the other tenants (sublease) or to the landlord ("took over" spot, or assignment)?
If you are subletting, then the landlord has no recourse against you for the rent: he may be able to sue his own tenants, and if you owe them rent, they could sue you, but in a sublet arrangement, there is no agreement or obligations directly between you and the landlord: you are obligated to the tenant(s) who sublet to you, and they are obligated to the landlord.
If you took over (took assigment) and essentially stepped into the shoes of the original tenant, then IF the landlord does not get all the rent he is due, he could take legal action against you, as a tenant, for it. He can't double collect: if he received all the money to which is entitled, he can't seek extra from you. But if there is any shortfall in what he has received, he can look to recover it (e.g. sue) from the tenants, which in this case includes you. 


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