If my girlfriend and I signed a 1 year lease but she decided to move out 5 months after, do I have the right to sue her and/or keep her portion of the security deposit?

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If my girlfriend and I signed a 1 year lease but she decided to move out 5 months after, do I have the right to sue her and/or keep her portion of the security deposit?

I was left to pay the full portion. The lease ended at the end of last month.

Asked on July 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot simply keep her security deposit, but you may sue her for the amount that she should have paid (presumably 1/2) of the lease for the period after she moved out. She is obligated to pay, as a signatory to the lease (and also pursuant to any agreements, including oral agreements, between the two of  you as to who would pay what), BUT you need a court determination of her liability (i.e. you need to sue her and win) to establish your right to the money. You cannot simply withhold her security from her without a judgment or settlement in your favor.


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