CouldI win in small claims court ifI sued on a verbal agreement?

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CouldI win in small claims court ifI sued on a verbal agreement?

I let a friend move into my1 bedroom aparment. We verbally agreed to split rent and bills but never did (I ended up getting only $200). I have proof on text messages that he agreed to split bills. He wasn’t on the lease.

Asked on August 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In theory, yes, you could sue and win. Verbal agreements (more properly called oral agreements), including oral leases, oral subleases, and oral contracts, are enforceable. (In this case, what you have is most likely an oral sublease--your friend was subleasing from you.) The usual hurdle is evidence--proving the terms of the agreement--but if you have  text messages that will help. If you sue, also bring all evidence of what the bills were and what was actually paid, so you can show how much your friend needs to pay. Before suing, though, consider (1) what it would do to your relationship (and whether there still  is any relationship worth trynig to protect); and (2) if you  win, would your friend have any money to pay you? If he doesn't, even if you win, you lose.


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