If the other person on the lease doesn’t want to pay their shareof the rent, what can be done?

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If the other person on the lease doesn’t want to pay their shareof the rent, what can be done?

Asked on December 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The best way to handle the situation of a non-paying roommate is to consult with your landlord to see what can be done by him or her. If the landlord does not want to get involved then you can pay what is owed and then sue the roommate for what you advanced on his or her behalf in small claims court.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A tenant may sue another tenant for not paying his or share of the rent. The suit would be for breach of contract: the lease (written or oral) is a contract which obligates both tenants; and also, if there was an oral agreement between the tenants as to who would pay what, that oral agreement is also enforceable.

Note that if the landlord does not receive the entire rent each month, regardless of who pays it, the landlord may evict all the tenants for nonpayment--regardless of how the tenants divy the rent up among themselves, the landlord is entitled to the full rent. Thus, to avoid eviction, the tenant who is still paying must pay the full amount even as he or  she takes action against the other tenant.


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