Is it legal to switch debt from one roommate’s name to both after the tenants have moved out?

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Is it legal to switch debt from one roommate’s name to both after the tenants have moved out?

While living with my roommate, I paid her for utilities because they were under her name (cash, not check). When we moved out, we didn’t receive any of our deposit back and part of that was because of unpaid utilities. The management paid off the utilities that were under just her name and made it so we both owed them for the unpaid bill. My old roommate is also refusing to pay anything, so if I just let it go, management will take us both to collections.

Asked on April 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Although you have a very good point and a "technicality" here, do you want to take the chance that the management company will report you?  The utilities were both of your obligation under the lease and for the entire apartment that was rented.  If the management company paid the utilities for the apartment I think that a court would allow them to collect against both of you.  It would then be up to you to "sue" your roomie for the money but you would indeed be fibbing that you were not obligated.  Think about it.  Not worth perjuring yourself.  Good luck.   


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